The wait's almost over.
Years in the making, the KUT Public Media Studio is set to open its doors this July, giving the city's NPR affiliate a gorgeous, state-of-the-art – and high-profile – new home at the busy corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets on the University of Texas campus.
Beginning May 7, for the first time since work started, the station will solicit donations – on air and online – from listeners. The goal is to raise about a million bucks in just five days.
The 20,000-square-foot facility's total cost is $9.8 million.
"We've been quietly working behind the scenes for three years, and now we want to give our entire community an opportunity to help us complete the building," said Stewart Vanderwilt, director and general manager of 90.5 KUT-FM.
The two-story building is designed to make it easier than ever for the station to interact with Central Texans, with everything from an outdoor plaza for concerts to community meeting spaces to glass walls that will give passers-by a chance to see staffers — including show hosts — at work.
"The reaction from listeners is unanimous excitement," Vanderwilt said. "We're going to completely transform the experience for them, hopefully making KUT a daily destination."
So why wait to publicly solicit donations? One reason: The station wanted to have something more than just blueprints and colorful drawings to show members of the community.
"You always want to go into the public phase with as much accomplished as possible," Vanderwilt said.
Give $500 and your name will be added to the walls encircling one of the station's studios. Can't go that high? A $75 donation gets you a nifty KUT T-shirt.
"When listeners come into the station, we feel it'll be an immersive and engaging experience to find your name on the wall," Vanderwilt said.
Learn more about the KUT Public Media Studio at kut.org.
Time to get Unplugged
It's a summertime tradition — and it's back.
KGSR's annual Unplugged at the Grove concert series kicked off this month, serving up 22 free concerts at the popular Shady Grove restaurant, 1624 Barton Springs Road.
Shows happen at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 6.
On-site parking is limited — and streets in the area tend to get super clogged — so you might want to take advantage of the off-site parking at Bicycle Sports Shop, 517 S. Lamar Blvd.
View the full schedule at kgsr.com/unplugged. Some highlights:
May 3: Carolyn Wonderland
May 10: Dirty River Boys
May 17: Slaid Cleaves
May 24: Hacienda
May 31: James McMurtry
June 7: Dale Watson
June 21: Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist (Band of Heathens)
June 28: The Wheeler Brothers
July 5: Uncle Lucius
Aug. 2: Quiet Company
Aug. 16: Cari Hutson
Aug. 23: Nakia
Aug. 30: Hot Club of Cowtown
Sept. 6: Cody and Willy Braun (Reckless Kelly)
Around the dial ...
The former KVET building near Sixth Street and North Lamar Boulevard will soon be demolished. Developers have announced plans to replace the long-abandoned radio studios with a spiffy new building featuring a four-story parking garage atop ground-floor retail space. KVET-AM and KVET-FM are now located at the Penn Field complex on South Congress Avenue near Ben White Boulevard. ... Read my blog at austin360.com/tvblog or follow @gdinges on Twitter to get the latest updates on local radio and TV stations.
Most-played list: Flo Rida bumps David Guetta from No. 1 spot
It was close, but Flo Rida has managed to snag the top spot on Austin's most-played list.
His "Wild Ones" had 224 spins April 16-22 – six more than the No. 2 song, Fun.'s "We Are Young."
David Guetta's "Turn Me On," the previous No. 1, was heard 151 times and fell to fourth place, behind Gotye's "Someone That I Used to Know" with 174 plays.
Moving up the charts: Maroon 5's "Payphone," Josh Abbott Band's "Touch," Katy Perry's "Part of Me," Fun.'s "We Are Young" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know."
On the way down: Head And The Heart's "Down in the Valley," David Guetta's "Turn Me On" and Chris Brown's "Turn Up the Music."
Contact Gary Dinges at email@example.com or 912-5987