UT Tyler in talks to develop new NPR and APM affiliate radio station
Emily Bush • Staff Writer
The University of Texas at Tyler is in talks to purchase a radio frequency—99.7 FM. “KVUT” will begin broadcasting across East Texas, helping bridge a gap of news radio between Shreveport and Dallas. By the end of March, UT Tyler is hoping to own the frequency, and could possibly make its debut as early as Sept. 1, 2020.
The name of the radio station, as confirmed in an interview with Dr. Dennis Robertson, is The Voice of UT Tyler and is subtitled “Fine Arts Radio from UT Tyler.” The station will be mostly automated with some live shows here and there, along with a new, “semi-famous” part-time broadcaster coming to campus.
“Once we get it all up and running, it’ll all be automated,” Dr. Robertson said. “You know how things are these days. You walk into big radio stations, and there are no people inside … So, once we figure that out, [KVUT] will be broadcasted all the time, even during winter breaks and spring breaks.”
The station will play satellite material from National Public Radio (NPR) and American Public Media (APM). KVUT will mainly feature news and educational programming from NPR and some local broadcasts as well. APM will be providing a little bit of entertainment broadcasting, and there will be music played throughout the day, presumably to help students study with some white noise in the background.
“We’ll have music,” Dr. Robertson said. “There will be classical playing during the day, and we’ll dip more into jazz in the evening and nighttime.”
Certain classes will be constructed to implement the radio station into their curriculum, such as Broadcast Management and Broadcast Announcing. However, these specific courses have not been confirmed yet. Due to the nature of the content being streamed, the recording station will be in the College of Arts and Sciences building. There is a glass section on the first floor where the recording studio will be located, making it perfect for students and bystanders to watch the recordings live from the hall.
The actual transmitter will be in Bullard, closer to UT Tyler’s sister campus, UT Health North Campus Tyler. The tower is used for dispatching purposes, and the school will eventually add its own antenna and signage to broadcast from the tower itself. The signal reaches to Cuney, just south of Tyler, and continues up to around North Tyler.
Suki Oji, an eighteen-year-old biology major, weighed in on the new radio station. She said that the concept of having KVUT on campus is “really cool” and that she’s excited to see what is to come.
“I’m most interested in the entertainment aspect and the jazz music,” Oji said.
After mentioning NPR, APM and possible internships, she said that, even as a biology major, she would be “interested in an internship [with KVUT] because it’s hard to find an internship for biology.”
Dr. Robertson says if students are interested in internships, this is a great opportunity for career-building and networking. He advises students to stay tuned for more updates and to tune in to the future 99.7 KVUT station for campus news and more.