Texas A&M University-Kingsville

KTAI FM 91.1 Celebrates 40 Years of Student-Run Radio

KINGSVILLE - February 18, 2010

Contact: Adriana Garza
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4979

Series of special events to be held

What began as a group of students armed with a passion for broadcast media and a commitment to bringing college radio to Kingsville now is celebrating 40 years of broadcasting at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

KTAI FM 91.1 will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a series of events including a car show, battle of the bands and KTAI Hall of Fame banquet.

“KTAI has a wonderful legacy at our university and it is very exciting to celebrate its 40th anniversary,” said Dr. Manuel Flores, chair of the communications and theatre arts department, which oversees the university’s radio station.

The station, first billed as “The Voice of Texas A&I,” began broadcasting as a 10-watt station February 23, 1970. The station previously operated as a closed-circuit station within the Communication Speech Building beginning in 1968. As crowds of students gathered to listen to the broadcasts through outdoor speakers, radio professor Raymond Carroll and his students saw a clear vision of what needed to happen next. Carroll applied for an FCC license to create a larger radio station that could reach the entire Kingsville community.

Under Carroll’s guidance students built the original station by hand—using plywood to create desks and nails to hang reel tape. Originally the station was built in the Communications Speech Building and, since its creation, has moved several times between the Speech Building, Jones Auditorium and its current home, Manning Hall. By October 1969 a permit for an FCC license was granted and by January 1970 construction of the radio tower was complete.

A few weeks later KTAI was on the air.  The day’s news and a few public service announcements were the first broadcasts on the station. Within a few years KTAI grew from a 10-watt station to a 100-watt station.

Talk, news and blocks of music ranging from Top 40 hits to rock to Spanish and Indian music have since filled the KTAI airwaves. KTAI also has a tradition of broadcasting Javelina athletic games and broadcasting live from various campus events.

In addition to serving the campus and Kingsville community, KTAI also serves as a valuable resource for A&M-Kingsville’s radio/television students who are able to learn the basics of radio production hands-on. Currently, about 10 student DJs host blocks of programming. A student is also selected every year to serve as the station’s program director. Senior Christin Rycroft currently serves as program director.

The A&M-Kingsville communications and theatre arts department has prepared a series of events to help celebrate KTAI’s 40th anniversary. The celebration will close with the induction of the inaugural class of the KTAI Hall of Fame.

“As we approach and celebrate the station’s 40th anniversary, we have an excellent opportunity to look back to those individuals who were our pioneers and builders, and to honor them for their contributions,” said Dr. Carl Saltarelli, assistant professor of communications and theatre arts. "Our Hall of Fame will show those who come after us that the KTAI community has honored those who contributed their time, labor, and lives to our ongoing success."
Anniversary events include:

Hog Stock Car Show:
10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, March 6, Manning Hall parking lot
Cars will compete for bragging rights and prizes. Every entry will receive a KTAI 40th Anniversary t-shirt. Registration is $20 prior to the event and $25 the day of the event. To register or sign up as a vendor, call 361-593-3401.

When Hogs Fly Battle of the Bands
 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Thursday, March 11, Jones Auditorium
 Registration fee for bands is $40. General admission is 91 cents—in honor of the KTAI’s 40th anniversary. The winning band will win all entry fees, plus the chance to record a demo at Freddy Records. To register your band, contact Paul Roberts at 361-593-3405.

KTAI & Kingsville Chamber of Commerce Mixer
5:30-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 16, Manning Hall
 Mixer will include barbeque, wine-tasting and tours of the radio station. For more information, call 361-593-3401.

KTAI Historical Marker Dedication
11 a.m., Tuesday, March 30, northeast  corner of Manning Hall grounds
Students, faculty and staff will gather for the dedication of a historical marker, commemorating KTAI’s legacy at A&M-Kingsville. For more information, call 361-593-3401.

KTAI 40th Anniversary Banquet
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, Memorial Student Union Ballrooms.
The inaugural group of KTAI Hall of Fame inductees will be inducted at the banquet. Keynote speaker will be former KTAI DJ and current K-99 FM DJ “Big” Frank Edwards. Banquet will include an elegant meal and live auction. Tickets are $20. Tables of eight are available. For more information, call 593-3401.

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