What’s Kory Cookin’ at KRTU?


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Whether you’re looking to hear some jazz, indie rock or a variety of music genres, you won’t have to look beyond Trinity’s own campus to find the KRTU 91.7 radio station. Located in the Richardson Communication Center building, KRTU is a non-profit radio station that provides San Antonio with independent, diverse music programming. KRTU is unique as a radio station in its focus on music education and reaching out to local listeners.

You’ll never hear a song play on KRTU more than once on the same day, as Kory Cook spends each day as the Music Director for KRTU working on something new for the station. On a daily basis, Cook ensures that the programming of the station and song selections maintain this focus on independent and local music.

“One of the things that we actually pride ourselves on here … would be to provide as much variety as possible … A lot of what I do is programming that music but trying to keep it fresh, try to keep it relevant to jazz as well, which is the most important thing for our daytime and evening programs,” Cook said.

Along with programming the station’s music, Cook also interviews guests, does air checks for hosts, and helps with events put on by the station in collaboration with other cultural organizations in San Antonio.

“There are more ways than ever to consume music and to hear radio … and we kind of have to set ourselves apart from the rest of that to make ourselves important to the community, and I think the one way we do it is to represent the community by playing local music and by having local hosts on the radio. So we don’t have any piped-in programming, we don’t have any syndicated programming — it’s all local. Everybody who’s on the air talking is somebody who lives in San Antonio,” Cook said.

For students looking to get involved at the KRTU radio station, Cook also teaches an apprenticeship class at Trinity, listed under COMM 1120, “Apprenticeship in Communication Center Media: KRTU Radio Host/Trainee”, which consists of training student hosts for the station’s on-air programs.

“[The class is] mainly for the [Indie] Overnight student hosts. Although some of my students end up being interested in the jazz programming as well, which is cool,” Cook said.

At the heart of KRTU lies the jazz genre. Cook finds value in curating the library of music that features on the station, and the educational opportunities the station provides its listeners with in highlighting both current jazz artists as well as historical staples of the genre. The station also features shows done on the air by local jazz enthusiasts.

“We have … people who love jazz, who bring in their records, play their recordings and talk about their love of jazz. And they do that every night between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Then on the weekends it’s all day: morning, noon and night it’s locally hosted. There’s not very many stations that do that,” Cook said.

The KRTU station has also recently expanded their geographic transmitting reach, which is now at a wattage of 30,000, up from 8,000.

“We have a further reach and potentially a larger listener listening audience, which would mean potentially larger support in the coming years,” Cook said.

This expansion allows more listeners to tune in to KRTU and to experience the unique opportunities provided to the San Antonio community by the station.

“We have live DJs, we play music straight off of the source — whether it’s vinyl or CDs — and we’re constantly keeping our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in jazz and independent rock,” Cook said.

For students interested in getting involved at KRTU 91.7, the apprenticeship classes COMM 1120 and COMM 1123, “Apprenticeship in Communication Center Media: KRTU Audio Production” are offered every semester. Further information about the station can be found at krtu.trinity.edu.