Both KUT/90.5FM—Austin's NPR affiliate—and sister station KUTX/98.9FM are asking staff to consider early retirement and voluntary furloughs to make up for a projected $1 million shortfall in its budget next fiscal year, KUT Projects Editor Matt Largey tweeted early Thursday.


No official announcement has been made by leadership at KUT/KUTX, which is housed on the University of Texas at Austin campus and recently completed a membership and donation drive. The request came through email, staffers said, and includes a 25% pay incentive for eligible staffers who take early retirement before Sept. 30.

"The recession has come to @KUT," veteran station reporter Mose Buchele tweeted. "This is hard."

The request is an apparent attempt to avoid the more extreme cuts that have plagued media organizations in Austin, most deeply at the Austin American-Statesman, which temporarily furloughed its entire staff on a rotating basis in the early weeks of the pandemic, and more recently laid off seven longtime staffers.

Reactions on social media were swift and supportive, with listeners suggesting that KUT hold an emergency fundraising drive and praising the work the staff has done.

"I feel this community would rally behind an emergency pledge drive in record numbers. Just sayin. We all appreciate the work you guys do day in day out," tweeted one listener.

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KUT and KUTX get 87% of their annual operating budget of $13.21 million from local members and businesses, about 5% from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the rest from fees and grants, according to the KUT website.

Here's how you can support KUT and KUTX.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1 maraschino cherry
Directions: Add Tito's Handmade Vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Sink pomegranate juice by pouring slowly over the back of a spoon into cocktail. Drop in one maraschino cherry.
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