89.7 KACU-FM signed on June 2, 1986. On that date, transition from a carrier current campus station to a 33,000-watt FM National Public Radio broadcast affiliate became complete.
Now in our 28th year, 89.7 KACU has been broadcasting the news coverage from NPR, a variety of quality daytime music and nighttime classical, and an assortment of programs to inform, amuse, and entertain our listeners.
KACU broadcasts from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. The station broadcasts to 17 counties in the Texas Midwest region and streams worldwide. KACU employs an all student staff of on-air announcers, reporters and producers. The station is proud to provide professional radio and broadcast media experience for the next generation of journalists through work as on-air announcers, field news reporters, program producers, and program creators.
Our mission is to entertain, educate, and enrich the community of Abilene and the Big Country.
For a copy of the Articles of Incorporation of KACU, Inc., call (325) 674-2441 or mail a request to ACU Box 27820 Abilene, Texas 79699.
KACU's goal is to provide news and educational information to the Abilene community that are worthy of financial support. KACU's programming is the only source in the region for diverse perspectives on topics of race, class, gender, sexuality and religion. KACU is the sole non-commercial NPR station in the Abilene area. The station offers the only vehicle for the transmission of NPR news and programming. KACU makes that programming accessible to all through the on-air FM signal and via live web stream to any device that can accept streamed content.
Abilene is home to three universities and Dyess Air Force base, and KACU is intergral to providing students and military personnel with public broadcasting programming. Many of these constituents are hearing this programming for the first time. KACU is licensed to Abilene Christian University and is part of the school's Journalism and Mass Communications department. While not only providing educational information to the region, the station's news anchors, reporters and producers are made up of college students who learn the craft of storytelling and broadcast presentation. Employment at KACU is open to students from the three universities in Abilene.
In a small market, KACU serves as the voice for area non-profits and is one of very few news outlets in the area. KACU is an active community partner by engaging in various public arts and culture events.
KACU works to assist area non-profits by showcasing them in membership drive partnerships. 2012 was a particularly bad year in West Texas for drought. In the fall 2012 pledge drive, KACU offered seedlings as donor thank-you gifts. These seedlings were grown especially for West Texas climate conditions and were purchased from the Texas A&M Forest Service, which also helped finance its reforestation project. KACU donors both kept the seedlings for their own use and also donated others to various area non-profits for use on their campuses. In total, 875 seedlings were planted in the Abilene area.
In the spring 2013 pledge drive, KACU partnered with Meals on Wheels to provide meals to area seniors as donor thank-you gifts. In total, 677 meals were donated to area seniors in need. KACU also offers public service announcements to area non-profits, publicizing the good works of 25 different agencies this fiscal year. Our student staff comes from all three local universities - Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University.
Following the success of the citywide KACU 25th Anniversary Celebration in spring 2012, KACU enjoyed sponsorship exposure with a range of area businesses that had not previously partnered with the station. To capitalize on that, KACU hosted a booth at the Abilene Business Expo, promoting this non-profit event through a live broadcast and allowing the station's underwriting staff to make new business contacts. KACU partners with 47 area businesses to brighten the passenger lobby area at Christmas. KACU was one of the area businesses and organizations that sponsored and decorated a tree.
The pledge drive partnerships and the donated PSAs have the most impact in the community, both from an educational standpoint and a concrete meeting of need. To assist in the reforestation of this drought-stricken area, 875 seedlings were planted in the Abilene area. To boost the effectiveness of the area's Meals on Wheels program, 677 meals were donated to area seniors in need.
"Dear Friends of KACU: The mission of Meals on Wheels Plus is to enhance the quality of life for seniors and other eligible adults by providing nutritionally balanced meals and supportive services. When I opened the mail and found your donation, I was very encouraged. Thank you so much for selecting Meals on Wheels to partner with during your Spring Pledge Drive. Your help as we drive away hunger is appreciated." -Betty L. Bradley, LBSW, Executive Director, Meals on Wheels PLUS, INC.
KACU produces a community events program, "This Week in Abilene," which highlights arts and culture activities throughout the region. Community partners actively send events to KACU to be featured in the events calendar because of the increased awareness it brings.
The Abilene metro and surrounding rural population includes 166,963 people, of whom 33 percent are diverse. Hispanic residents making up 22 percent of the area's total population.
KACU airs four diverse musical programs covering blues, jazz and world music accounting for 10 hours of programming per week. These programs feature artists of color and stories of diverse cultural perspectives.
Our student worker in the development department is a black South African, who will return to her country to work in elder care and education at the end of her university career. While the majority of international students is fluent in English, they have not been exposed to public broadcasting. Many will return to their countries of origin, carrying a love for public serivice with them. In addition, the military staff at Dyess Air Force base are composed of transient residents. KACU's programming both introduces them to public broadcasting and also provides a sense of normalcy and home for those who have listened in other cities.
In FY14, two significant staff positions were filled by Hispanic individuals. The addition of diverse staff members has initiated discussions about how to better serve this important demographic in the region. A holiday special, "Alt Latino" was chosen for air in FY14. KACU is also the only station in the market ready to broadcast secondary HD channels and this opens new options for serving diverse audiences.
Several new educational programs were added in FY14: "Backstory with the American History Guys," a history program, and "A Way With Words," an English language program. Among other programs airing in FY13 and FY14, "Marketplace Money" features educational topics in money management which is crucial in times of economic recession. KACU's service to illiterate adults includes these educational programs as well as breaking news and emergency information during extreme weather and other crisis.
CPB funding makes up a significant portion of KACU's overall budget. These funds are applied to the high-quality national programming that we provide to the citizens of West Texas. The community supports these programs with individual donations and corporate support, both of which allow the station to showcase area non-profits and to educate area students. The programming is the key to KACU's success and it would not be possible without CPB funding. If KACU were to lose CPB funding, the station would no longer be able to afford syndicated public radio programs and the Abilene market would suffer the loss of the invaluable public service it has relied on for almost 30 years.