KRTU Turns up the Amp on Jazz | Trinity University
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KRTU Turns up the Amp on Jazz

Thursday, August 4, 2016
Studio Manager Monica Reina assists a student in the broadcasting room

Trinity University’s radio station to observe 40th anniversary with concert

by Jeanette Reynolds

Summer has been a busy time for Trinity University’s KRTU 91.7 FM, which is celebrating 40 years of broadcasting in 2016 by planning an anniversary concert, expanding its signal reach, and introducing remote broadcasts.

The KRTU 40th Anniversary Concert will feature legendary saxophonist Benny Golson in Laurie Auditorium on the Trinity University campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. The event is open to the public with free tickets available in advance for a suggested donation to the nonprofit radio station’s “tower initiative.”

At age 87 and recognized as the NEA Jazz Master, Benny Golson is one of the last surviving links to the Golden Age of modern jazz that also featured Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and others in the early 1940s. Having recorded over 30 albums and written more than 300 compositions, Golson has made major contributions to the world of jazz with such standards as “Killer Joe” and “Whisper Not.” Another sample of his music is here.

Opening for Golson will be Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz, an internationally touring ensemble led by Grammy Award-winning percussionist Henry Brun. Palo Santo Records of Dallas is the presenting sponsor of the concert.

In January, radio station executives announced the KRTU Tower Initiative - an effort to expand the reach of 91.7 FM by acquiring the funds to move the broadcast signal to a larger tower. The KRTU Tower Initiative will mark an increase in terrestrial signal strength from 8,900 watts to 32,000 watts, increasing its reach from 549 square miles to 3,059 square miles, and ensuring the station’s ability to reach the rapidly expanding population of the community it serves. With a stronger signal, listeners will be able to hear KRTU in more areas throughout the metropolitan area. Additionally, the current listening area will also hear 91.7 FM with significantly more clarity.

For a radio station, general manager JJ Lopez said, “Wattage and contour are everything – 8,900 watts is pretty small. To increase the power by this degree makes us competitive with other stations. It means we are reaching more people beyond Loop 1604 and into the Hill Country, and throughout the city where we could not reach before. As a teaching tool, it is important that students know we are broadcasting throughout the region. On the business side of things, underwriters want to know who will hear their promotional messages on-air.”

The KRTU Tower Initiative has a goal of raising $300,000 by May 2017, and has already received $170,000 in financial support for the project from Trinity University and individual donors. Those interested in making a donation to the project can do so at krtu.org/tower.

Meanwhile, KRTU is experimenting with the latest in remote broadcast technology. The new equipment allows for the staff to control the radio station’s broadcast from nearly any location and produce live content from any location throughout the city. This significant upgrade to the station’s capacity for community outreach was made possible by a grant from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.

Trial events for the remote broadcast equipment have included an Indie Overnight series called KRTUesday held at music venues Paper Tiger and The Mix on St. Mary’s Street near campus. Two of KRTU’s summer interns have been working with Operations Manager Emilio Alvarez to coordinate and troubleshoot the live remote broadcast efforts - both Trinity University students, incoming senior Benjamin Gomez is the events and promotions intern, and incoming junior John Morgan is the programming intern. The team, which has experienced a range of challenges from hardware issues to event logistics, is aiming to apply their knowledge in the successful live remote broadcast of Jazz’SAlive from Travis Park in September.

Since 1976 when it was founded by Trinity University students, KRTU has provided programming that is educational, engaging, innovative, and a reflection of the community from which it broadcasts. KRTU is a FCC-licensed non-commercial, educational radio station broadcasting from Trinity University. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, KRTU is community-supported through individual donations from listeners and underwriting from local businesses and organizations. In 2002, KRTU transitioned to jazz as its primary format, and is one of only 52 FCC-licensed jazz radio stations in the country.

Also in October, KRTU hopes to welcome many new listeners to its vibrant community of KRTU Members who support the station by making an annual donation to the station during its Fall Membership Drive, Oct. 21 - 28. Listeners can become KRTU Members anytime throughout the year at join.krtu.org.

Jeanette Reynolds is the development director of KRTU and can be reached at jreynol6 [at] trinity.edu.