With the 50th anniversary of KTRU Houston approaching next semester, KTRU is expanding its 26th annual KTRU Outdoor Show in the spring to an entire week full of events and concerts.
In addition to the week-long celebration, KTRU will host a guest segment featuring alumni who will speak to their past experiences with the station, which broadcasts from the Ley Student Center on 96.1 FM and online streaming. KTRU has been student-run since its inception in 1967 by a group of Hanszen College students broadcasting music from the Old Section part of the dorm.
Over the past 50 years, KTRU has seen drastic changes. The station has been renamed from its original title of KOWI, expanded from evening-only hours at its beginning to the 24/7 listening available today, and lost then regained its position on FM radio.
Station manager Ernest Pelton said KTRU’s commitment to a variety of music has remained a central theme in the past five decades despite other changes.
“KTRU has undergone many changes since its founding, both in broadcasting ability and station culture,” Pelton said. “While a lot has changed in 50 years, one thing that remains constant is KTRU’s dedication to celebrating each and every style of musical expression and giving our listeners what they can’t get from the ‘top 40’ radio stations.”
The station is run solely by 40 to 50 Rice students and volunteers from the Houston community, whom Pelton describes as diligent and passionate.
“The people I work with at KTRU are what I love most about our station,” Pelton, a Lovett College junior, said. “What we do wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of countless students and community members in and out of the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our DJs do everything they do simply for their love of music which is pretty cool.”
Pelton said he expects that KTRU will grow even more over the next 50 years, having already seen tremendous growth in the number of students joining the station this year.
“If one thing is certain, it’s that KTRU needs strong leadership moving forward,” Pelton said. “I know that when I’m 70 years old, I’ll be coming back to visit KTRU for its 100 year celebration. Only time can tell what KTRU has in store for us then. In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to 96.1 FM.”
Details of KTRU’s lineup for the week-long celebration are upcoming.