North Texas jazz radio station transitions from genre to indie music

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The long-running University of North Texas jazz radio station has shifted its genre to independent and alternative music, hoping to renew student interest.

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A longtime radio station broadcasting jazz over the airwaves of North Texas is no more.

On Friday, the student-run radio station at the University of North Texas – KNTU – shifted from jazz to indie and alternative music. Along with the genre change comes a name change — from “88.1 The One” to “88.1 Indie”.

“Based on local research and feedback from underwriters, we decided the new format would have greater growth potential and energize students at the university,” said chief executive Dan Balla. in a report. “We are excited about the future of the radio station and the prospect of renewed engagement with UNT students.”

The station first aired on October 31, 1969 with just 440 watts at 88.5 FM. Over the years, the station was allowed to increase its signal and moved to 88.1 FM, according to the radio.

In the 1980s, the station shifted to a predominantly jazz music focus with additional specials and local interest programming ranging from news to sports. KNTU was one of the only jazz-specific radio stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It has been difficult for the past two years to get enough students to work in the jazz format on KNTU,” program director Mark Lambert said in a statement. “One of the goals of our new format is to appeal to younger audiences and re-engage students.”

However, the radio station is not completely done with jazz, with plans to add the music to the station’s HD2 channel later this year or early 2023. Jazz music is still available to stream on KNTU website.

KNTU’s new indie venture places it among other alternative music options in North Texas, including KVIL’s “Alt 103.7” and KXT’s 91.7 FM.

Brayden Garcia is a duty reporter at the Star-Telegram. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where he worked at the student newspaper The Shorthorn. He previously worked for the Dallas Morning News on education.



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