KRTU was founded in 1976 as a student-run non-commercial educational radio station, playing a variety of musical genres including news reporting. Since the station’s inception KRTU has remained an educational resource to the Department of Communication at Trinity University. By 1982, KRTU was formally offering classes made available to all Trinity students and later employing interns.
In the 1990s, KRTU’s format was a mix of classical and jazz. By 1999 the station began broadcasting at 8900 watts and introduced alternative indie rock programming in the late evenings. In 2002, KRTU committed to a primarily 17-hour jazz format by day with alternative indie rock programming overnight.
Vinyl records were the original format used at KRTU and continue to be played on a daily basis. In addition to a robust collection of vinyl and CDs, the station maintains a digital library of over 100,000 songs. KRTU maintains one of the largest in-studio collections of jazz recordings in the country.
In 2008, KRTU joined the first wave of radio stations in the country to begin broadcasting in HD (Hybrid Digital) audio. The expansion was made possible through a technology grant provided by the AT&T Foundation.
What began as a strictly volunteer, primarily student-run college radio station is now a professional non-profit, widely respected media outlet, and exemplary student laboratory. KRTU is operated by six full time staff members and employs up to twelve student-interns year around. Over the course of an academic year, KRTU engages 60-70 Trinity students in classrooms and on-air.
Since adopting jazz as its primary music format in 2002, KRTU has earned international recognition. Nearly forty specialty programs highlight the vast spectrum of jazz, from classic jazz artists and recordings to premier modern day pioneers, and regional artists. One of only 52 FCC-licensed jazz stations nationwide (and one of two in Texas), KRTU keeps jazz relevant within a modern context while emphasizing its historical significance, contemporary value, and diversity.
Specialty jazz programming is featured every day 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. with alternative rock format “Indie Overnite” broadcasting nightly 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.