KRTU made its first broadcast on January 23, 1976 at just 50 watts of power. Founded as a student-run, non-commercial educational (NCE) radio station, a variety of genres could be heard on 91.7 FM in its first year - including rock, country, classical and jazz. News reporting and in-studio performances were also an important part of the station’s original programming.
From its inception, KRTU served as a student laboratory that would enable experiential learning for Trinity University students interested in radio. After posting our birthday announcement on social media, we received several comments from Trinity Alumni and some of KRTU's founding members who were excited to share their memories from the day the station was powered up!
Station Founder Anne Congor said, "Fresh Air at 91.7. This is our original t-shirt (I never throw anything away!) Great place to build my foundation of jazz for where I work now, Jazz at Lincoln Center. KRTU is one of my fondest memories. Happy and proud for those who carry on the tradition."
George Briscoe said, "I remember going out to the car to listen to the two hours of jazz from 10PM to Midnight back in the late '70s (the rest of the day was classical). We lived near Holmes H.S. and the KRTU signal was so weak, I couldn't listen in the house. I had to switch the car radio from stereo to mono to listen to Bird, Trane, Diz, Monk & more through the static. It opened the world of jazz up to a 17 year old sax player. The transmitter was what, maybe 50 watts back then? KRTU, "you've come a long way, baby!" Happy 43rd Birthday!!! And THANK YOU.
John Mcbride stated, "The station got its start when my roommate (Richard Anderson, not on Facebook), Lawrence Boyd, myself and one other went to then Department Chair Bill Hayes, and told him Trinity needed a radio station to compliment its film and video curriculum. He said to make it so. We, and several others took it from there, getting call letters (originally KRFT, for Radio Free Trinity- this was the mid 70s!), and a frequency down in the “education frequencies”. The administration balked at the call letters, so we requested and were given KRTU. Then the FCC informed us that the original frequency conflicted with another station. We had to move to 91.7 and this necessitated a larger transmitter than originally needed for the 80-something frequency. We also did several required FCC surveys and met with prospective donors. Most of us originally involved graduated before the station went on the air. I was lucky to be working on a second degree and was able to do DJ shifts as well as news reading with Anne Conger on the board. Fun times. It’s a huge source of pride for us founders that not only is KRTU-FM still on the air, but how it’s grown and still is a fabulous jazz format station."
KRTU host Katchie Cartwright said, "You don't look a day over 35!"
Thank you all for celebrating with us and keeping KRTU moving forward. Here's to another trip around the sun!