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Austin PBS logo (2019).png
Austin, Texas
United States
BrandingAustin PBS
SloganTV and Beyond
ChannelsDigital: 22 (UHF)
Virtual: 18 (PSIP)
Affiliations18.1: PBS
18.2: Create
18.3: KLRU Q
18.4: PBS Kids
OwnerCapital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council
First air dateMay 3, 1979 (40 years ago) (1979-05-03)[1]
(satellite of KLRN until 1984)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
18 (UHF, 1979–2009)
Transmitter power700 kW
Height357.5 m (1,173 ft)
Facility ID8564
Transmitter coordinates30°19′19″N 97°48′12″W / 30.32194°N 97.80333°W / 30.32194; -97.80333
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

KLRU, virtual channel 18 (UHF digital channel 22), branded on-air as Austin PBS, is a PBS member television station licensed to Austin, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council. KLRU's studios are located on Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets on rented space at the University of Texas at Austin (the station has no other direct affiliation with the university), and its transmitter is located in the West Austin Antenna Farm in unincorporated Travis County. In addition to airing program content from PBS, it produces original programming including the national music series Austin City Limits.

On cable, KLRU can be seen on Charter Spectrum and Grande Communications channel 9.


KLRU logo used until November 3, 2019

The station first signed on the air on May 3, 1979 as a satellite of KLRN in San Antonio. Before KLRU's sign-on, KLRN had served both cities from the Jesse H. Jones Communications Center on the UT Austin campus. Channel 18 had been allocated to Austin as a noncommercial frequency in the early 1950s, but it was thought that a UHF station would not be nearly adequate enough to provide educational television for a market that stretched from Mason in the west to La Grange in the east. This left Austin as one of the largest cities without its own PBS station. By the late 1970s, cable had gained enough penetration in Austin to make a PBS station viable in the capital.

From the day KLRU signed on, KLRN's owner, the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council, set about making it a separate station. Only a year after KLRU hit the airwaves, it received its own Austin-based governing board, though it continued under the ownership of the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. In 1984, after KLRN moved to a new tower in San Antonio, KLRU adopted a separate Austin-focused programming schedule. In 1987, the two stations officially went their separate ways, with KLRU coming under the ownership of the Capital of Texas Public Broadcasting Council, which continues to own the station today.

In addition to the Austin market, KLRU claims Bell and Falls counties, which are in the Waco/Temple/Bryan market, as part of its primary coverage area.[2] It became the default PBS member station for the western half of the Waco market via cable after KNCT ended its membership with PBS on August 31, 2018.

On November 4, 2019, the station rebranded as Austin PBS with a new logo to coincide with PBS' rebranding the same day and the 50th anniversary of the parent network.[3]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[4]
18.1 1080i 16:9 KLRU-HD Main KLRU programming / PBS
18.2 480i KLRU-CR Create
18.3 KLRU-Q Q (Locally programmed channel with PBS/KLRU encores and additional programs not aired on primary channel. Q Night at the Movies on Saturday nights focuses on film[5])
18.4 PBSKids PBS Kids[6]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KLRU shut down its analog signal on April 16, 2009. Before shutting down the signal forever, it played its nightly sign-off from the 70's one last time.[7] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 22, using PSIP to display KLRU's virtual channel as 18 on digital television receivers.

Programs produced by KLRU[edit]

  • Arts In Context – Documentary series focusing on creativity and the arts. klru.org/artsincontext
  • Austin City Limits – A long-running PBS music program that helped establish Austin as the "Live Music Capital of the World."
  • Austin Now – A weekly series that examines people, ideas, and issues that define Austin. (no longer in production)
  • Austin Revealed – Austin Revealed is an oral history project sharing the stories of Austin's past and present to encourage discussion and thought around the city's future.
  • BBQ with Franklin – Cooking tips from Aaron Franklin.
  • Blackademics TV –Top Black Studies scholars engage with projects and research focused on education, performance and youth empowerment.
  • Central Texas Gardener – A natural gardening program hosted by Tom Spencer.
  • Civic Summit – KLRU's program for discourse on public affairs. klru.org/civicsummit
  • Docubloggers – A high-tech look at the life of Austin. (no longer in production)
  • In Context – A series on design, architecture, and art. (no longer in production, became Arts In Context)
  • The Intergalactic Nemesis – The Intergalactic Nemesis is a 17-part live-action graphic novel- a mash-up of a radio play and comic book.
  • Juneteenth Jamboree – Celebrate the history and rich culture of African Americans in Central Texas. klru.org/juneteenth
  • Overheard – A weekly interview series, previously known as Texas Monthly Talks; it is hosted by Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith. klru.org/overheard
  • Painted Churches of Texas – Documentary on the painted churches located in Central Texas.
  • Special Session – Seen while the Texas State Legislature is in session, it is a magazine show that looks at issues that are important to Texans; it is hosted by Paul Stekler. (no longer in production)
  • SXSW Presents – A feature and short film series presented by the South by Southwest Film Festival in association with the Austin Chronicle weekly newspaper.
  • 'What's That, Buzz? – "What's that, Buzz" is a 12-part web series that explores the world of sound effects and Foley. Learn how sounds effects are made and how professionals in the field do their job.

Programs produced in Austin and presented by KLRU[edit]

  • The Biscuit Brothers – A television series about music for children.
  • The Daytripper – KLRU is the presenting station of the program, which is produced by Hogaboom Road, Inc., highlighting travel destinations across Texas; it is hosted by Chet Garner.[8]
  • Downtown – A weekly series spotlighting the people, places, and things associated with downtown Austin and how it differs from other cities' downtown areas. (no longer in production)
  • Hardly Sound – Hardly Sound is a documentary TV series focusing on Texas underground music and artists - showcasing their stories, the creative process, and sharing a dialogue within the creative community.
  • The Forgotten Americans – A 2000 documentary produced by Galán Productions for PBS
  • One Square Mile: Texas - Produced by filmmakers Carl and Elisabeth Crum. One Square Mile: Texas is a documentary television series that portrays Texas culture from the perspective of distinct square miles across the Lone Star state. The series is a microcosm of Texas life and a collective portrait of the state. The series represents the many faces and facets of Texas from the perspective of the individual while spanning the emotional, demographic & physical landscapes.


  1. ^ The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says May 4, while the Television and Cable Factbook says May 3.
  2. ^ Coverage map
  3. ^ Sengupta Stith, Deborah (November 4, 2019). "Local station KLRU rebrands as PBS celebrates 50 years". Austin 360 by Austin American-Statesman. GateHouse Media, LLC. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KLRU
  5. ^ "KLRU Q starts July 1". KLRU. June 30, 2009. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  6. ^ "PBS Kids begins airing April 1 on 18.4". KLRU. March 31, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  7. ^ List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ http://thedaytripper.com

External links[edit]