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Today Marks KERA-FM's 40th Anniversary


Friday’s a big day for KERA-FM – we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary. And we've been searching our archives to dust off some history. 

On July 11, 1974, KERA went on the air as the first full-time public radio station or North Texas.

Credit KERA
Bob Ray Sanders helped launch KERA 90.1 FM in 1974.

The radio station joined its 14-year-old sibling, KERA-TV, Channel 13. Bob Ray Sanders and Lee Cullum helped flip the radio switch – an event that aired live on Channel 13.

KERA 90.1’s coverage area originally included Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton and suburbs. Through the years, the station would expand its coverage area to include Wichita Falls, Tyler, Sherman and all of North Texas. And now KERA can be heard around the world on and the KERA app.

Take a look through the KERA photo album. Listen to some righteous KERA jingles. And explore KERA's history.

Credit KERA files
Jean Fugett, a tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, hosted a jazz show on KERA during the mid-'70s called Flitetime.

These '70s KERA jingles are groovy.

More KERA jingles from the 1970s.

Credit KERA files
Originally, KERA-FM had an eclectic mix of programming, with news, classical, jazz and pretty much every other musical genre.

 A look back …

November 1988: KERA-FM and KERA-TV introduce the first installments of Project Crossroads, which addressed racial conflicts in the community.

October 1989: 90.1 Sound Sessions debuts. The monthly feature presents area musicians in performances recorded exclusively for the radio station.

May 1990: KERA is selected as the Southwest regional bureau for Marketplace, the nationally broadcast business program.

Credit KERA
Manning the phones during a KERA pledge drive.

February 1993: A 200-watt translator in Tyler is activated, extending KERA-FM’s programming to more than 100,000 new listeners in that area.

October 1994: KERA breaks ground on its new Mary Nell and Ralph B. Rogers Telecommunications Center on Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas.

1995: The Glenn Mitchell Show launches as a daily midday talk and call-in program.

1995: Watch this KERA-FM commercial featuring Sam Baker:

Credit KERA
Glenn Mitchell hosted a daily talk show on KERA until his death in 2005.

2001: The Glenn Mitchell Show expands to two hours.

November 2005: Glenn Mitchell, the longtime KERA host, dies unexpectedly. Listen as station staffers reflect on his life:

KERA remembers host Glenn Mitchell.

Credit Wikipedia
An old KERA 90.1 logo.

November 2006: KERA launches a new midday talk show, Think with Krys Boyd. Anything You Ever Wanted To Know, which used to air occasionally, is anchored on Fridays at noon with host Jeff Whittington. The Anything format originally started when a guest failed to show up for a program and Glenn Mitchell asked listeners to call in with questions they had and he’d try to answer them. 

May 2008: KERA launches Art&Seek, a website dedicated to covering the arts in North Texas.

October 2009: KERA’s sister music station, KXT 91.7 FM, debuts.

April 2010: The Economy Project, a KERA radio and TV series, wins a regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

September 2010: KERA launches free applications for mobile devices.

May 2011: NPR celebrates its 40th anniversary. Catch up on NPR history here.

October 2013: As part of its news expansion, the station launches a twice-a-day local news segments from the KERA newsroom. The 10-minute segments air weekdays at 8:20 a.m. and 6:20 p.m.

March-April 2014: NPR’s All Things Considered broadcasts for a week from the KERA studios as host Melissa Block explores Texas for a national audience.

Can't get enough KERA history?

Of course you can't get enough -- because you've read until the very end. So explore this timeline of memorable moments, created for KERA-TV's 50th anniversary in 2010.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.