During his childhood in Houston, Matt Reilly, the new program director for KUTX 98.9, didn’t like the way radio sounded.
"I thought to myself, even when I was 12 or 13 years old, I can do this better," Reilly said. "And now I’m getting that opportunity."
That opportunity, overseeing programming for KUT’s new all-music station, is no small task. KUTX launched Jan. 2, just a few short months after the University of Texas’ Board of Regents cleared the purchase of 98.9 KXBT-FM. KUT-FM switched to an all-news format, moving longtime KUT personalities such as John Aielli and Jay Trachtenberg over to the new station and opening up large time slots, previously occupied by "All Things Considered" and other programs, to be filled with music.
Reilly, who formerly served as assistant programming director at KUT (playing music in the evenings and overseeing booking, among other things), sees it as a chance not just to give more airtime to on-air personalities such as Jody Denberg but to expand KUT’s involvement with the Austin music world.
"The shift to 24 hours a day is huge," Reilly said. "We have a much greater opportunity now to serve local artists. We don’t have to adhere to a genre, so we can have local afrobeat acts come in, we can have country artists, we can have jazz artists."
New programming on the station includes a weekday morning show with Susan Castle, afternoons with Reilly and evenings with Denberg (Monday-Thursday). Denberg, who continues his Friday morning slot on "Eklektikos," also hosts a Sunday show that follows Jay Trachtenberg’s new jazz show, which runs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (Aielli still hosts "Eklektikos" Monday through Thursday; for the full schedule, visit kut.org).
As for what’s next, Reilly is in the process of making plans for South by Southwest. He said that KUTX will once again host live performances at the Four Seasons each morning during the festival. He also hopes to do something at the new Studio 1A in the new KUT Public Media Center.
No more Sundays with Junior Brown. Junior Brown has given up his Sunday residency at the Continental Club. "Junior & Tanya Rae Brown have been driving back & forth between Tulsa & Austin every week for their Sunday show. They’ve gotten pretty tired of all that travel and have reluctantly given up their Sunday evening residency," club manager Dianne Scott writes in her most recent dispatch from the club.
Taking Brown’s spot on Sundays will be the Wagoneers, who have subbed for Brown in the past. The go on at at 7:30 p.m. Sundays, followed by Heybale!
Gibbons about town. In other Continental Club news, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons has been hanging around quite a bit, stopping by the Continental Gallery on New Year’s Day with Mike Flanigin and again at Ben Kweller’s show on Thursday. The bearded rocker also appeared at Willie Nelson’s show at ACL Live on New Year’s Eve and at Strange Brew coffee shop on Manchaca.
Rodeo Austin releases lineup. The Charlie Daniels Band, the Eli Young Band, Sara Evans, Easton Corbin, Merle Haggard, Three Dog Night and Alabama Shakes and others will perform at Rodeo Austin, which runs March 8-23 at the Travis County Expo Center. The Alabama Shakes’ performance is scheduled for March 13, which means that the band, one of the biggest to come out of SXSW last year, will at least be back in town during this year’s fest.
Music designer dies. Michael Pungello, 42, died Saturday in Austin after a yearlong battle with cancer. Pungello used his encyclopedic knowledge to design music for retailers, social events and other occasions. He was also active in the city’s social scene and wrote for Austin Social Planner. He is survived by his partner Kevin Smothers, communications director for AMOA-Arthouse.
SXSW seeking volunteers. SXSW, which happens March 8-17, has put out its annual call for volunteers. Volunteers must be able to work a minimum of 30 hours or three shifts. Shift selections will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 19 and from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Austin Convention Center. For applications and more information, go to volunteer.sxsw.com.
Stones tease tour. The Rolling Stones still might make it to Texas — a tour is in the works, according to rollingstone.com, pointing to comments guitarist Keith Richards made in an interview with the magazine: "It would be dopey to bring things up to this level and say, ‘Well, that’s that, 50 years, bye-bye.’ "