KPVU-91.3 FM Awarded $500,000 CPB Grant

The Corporation for Public Broadcasters (CPB) awarded KPVU 91.3 FM a $500,000 grant to develop an “Urban Alternative” music format. The grant requires KPVU, which is housed on the campus of Prairie View A&M University, to transition from a jazz format to genres that include hip-hop, R&B, neo-soul, house, and world music.

For decades, a mixture of mainstream and contemporary jazz has dominated the station’s programming. “We envision the Urban Alternative music format as an opportunity to create a new music vocabulary; a vocabulary that helps KPVU become a viable ‘community connector,’” shared General Manager of KPVU 91.3 FM John Hughes.

Although the primary format will change, KPVU will continue to fuse jazz and funk in its playlist.  The new format will also allow the station to host urban alternative artists, in addition to jazz artists, during its concert series.

KPVU will use the grant to add staff and make the transition to the new format, with guidance from the consulting firm Paragon Media Strategies. As the Urban Alternative format is a new direction in music for public radio, the grant requires additional market research. It also opens the station to the opportunity to increase community engagement and special event activities in the Prairie View and Greater Houston communities.

“What is central to the opportunity is the pursuit of attracting and engaging a younger audience, “millennials” (Generations X and Y), as well as the opportunity to attract a more diverse audience,” stated Hughes.  The station’s format change will welcome a new listener demographic in cities within KPVU’s signal reach that include Waller, Northwest Houston, Katy, and  Missouri City to name a few.

The new format change will provide a unique dynamic for KPVU’s Internet student station, PVU-Kno, which is programmed by students, catered to the university’s student population. Hughes said, “KPVU will bridge millennials, Generation X and boomers.  We’ve learned there is a connective tissue that binds the three generations and that connective tissue is music.”

Founded on Thanksgiving Day in 1981, KPVU is in its 39th year of broadcasting. KPVU is a non-commercial, listener-supported, public radio station licensed to the university.

Author: Maurice Perkins