|City of license||Houston|
|Broadcast area||Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land|
|Slogan||Listener-funded radio from the University of Houston|
|Frequency||88.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)
88.7 HD-2 for KUHA simulcast
88.7 HD-3 for AAA Music
|First air date||November 6, 1950|
|Callsign meaning||K University of Houston FM|
|Former frequencies||91.3 (1950-1970)|
|Affiliations||NPR, APM, PRI|
|Owner||University of Houston System|
|Sister stations||KUHA, KUHT-TV|
|Webcast||listen live & on-demand|
KUHF (branded as KUHF News) is a public radio station serving Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. It broadcasts on a frequency of 88.7 megahertz on the FM dial. The station is owned by and licensed to the University of Houston System, and is operated by Houston Public Media. KUHF Houston Public Radio is housed in the Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting—along with KUHA and KUHT—on the campus of the University of Houston.
KUHF first began airing programs on November 6, 1950, at the 91.3 megahertz frequency. Broadcasting at 9,600 watts, the station was operated by student volunteers. The station increased its signal strength to 12,000 watts in 1969. In the following year, the station began broadcasting at 88.7 megahertz, in order to reduce interference with KLYX (now KMJQ). The station finally began broadcasting at 100,000 watts in 1979, after receiving a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This grant also allowed the station to hire a professional staff, as well as become a National Public Radio member station. At the time, Houston was one of the largest cities without an NPR station.
Between 1979 and March, 1986, KUHF's format was NPR news and jazz. In March 1986 local commercial classical music station KLEF changed its format and donated its 12,000+ disc library of music to KUHF, with the proviso that the University of Houston commit KUHF to a format that served Houston's classical music audience, recently disfranchised by the loss of KLEF. The broadcasting of classical music was explained by citing that the charter of KUHF was to provide music unavailable, otherwise, to Houston. KUHF began airing classical music during the day and late night jazz from 10PM to 5AM, with NPR news in the morning and afternoon drive time hours. During the summer, former KLEF Operations Manager John Proffitt was hired as the new General Manager for KUHF, and he arrived at his new position on August 3. After the next on-air fundraiser in October, which was aimed at NPR, classical and jazz listeners, KUHF eliminated its remaining jazz broadcasting. KUHF GM Proffitt defended eliminating several genres of jazz from Houston radio on the basis that the number of daytime classical listeners far exceeded the overnight number of jazz listeners.
Until the 2011 creation of all-classical sister station KUHA (see below), the format on FM 88.7 consisted primarily of classical music and news programming from National Public Radio and American Public Media. Since May 2011, 88.7 is exclusively devoted to news and public affairs; to this end, programs such as Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation and The Diane Rehm Show were added to the regular daytime schedule. In addition, KUHF airs many public radio staples, such as Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion.
In September 2006, to accommodate the growing demand for an all-NPR news and information service, KUHF began broadcasting in HD Radio offering three channels of digital programming in addition to the analog FM: HD channel one offered the same programming as was heard on FM, while HD channel two was a "mirror" of FM/HD-1 by offering classical music during times the other channel played news and informational programming, and vice versa. In this fashion, KUHF HD listeners could receive either NPR news/information or classical music any time of day or night, 24/7. Since May 2011, KUHF 88.7FM and HD-1 feature NPR news/information exclusively, 24 hours a day, and HD-2 is a 24/7 simulcast of KUHA, featuring classical music exclusively. HD Channel 3 carries a mixture of the BBC World Service and Adult album alternative music provided by Philadelphia-based public radio station, WXPN.
Since the launch of www.Classical917.org to support KUHA, web services have been split between that site and www.kuhf.org. However listeners can still tune in both stations by visiting www.houstonpublicradio.org/listen. In addition to live streaming the website also offers click-to-listen options for all NPR and BBC programs, including local editions of All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and interviews with local artists on The Front Row.
Conversion to all-news
On August 17, 2010, the University of Houston System announced its intent to purchase the broadcast tower, FM frequency and license of KTRU (91.7 FM) from Rice University. UH then moved all of KUHF's classical music programming to the 91.7 frequency under the call letters KUHA, allowing KUHF to become a full-time NPR news and talk station. (originally announced as KUHC, but those call letters were already in use). The FCC approved the purchase and transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011. (KTRU programming was transferred to a digital subchannel of local Pacifica Radio member station KPFT, and continues under the name Rice Radio.) The new split programming began on May 16, 2011. Non-news entertainment programming, such as Snap Judgment, A Prairie Home Companion and the radio version of America's Test Kitchen, airs on weekends.
Four and a half years later, in August of 2015, The University of Houston System announced its intention to sell KUHA due to poor funding for the station and move the classical format to the HD2 subcarrier of KUHF and internet streaming only. KUHT's fifth digital subchannel will also continue to simulcast the format. On the actual 91.7 station, the classical format will not survive the sale and once sold, the station will receive a new format and callsign. KUHF will continue to run NPR programming only.
- Staff (1986-11-13). "KUHF nearly all-classical after overnight jazz dropped". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "FCC Grants Assignment of 91.7 FM License to UH System". April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- "UH Moves to Purchase Radio Station". kuhf.org. 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- FCC. "Correspondence for KTRU". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- KUHF - Official Site
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KUHF
- Radio-Locator information on KUHF
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KUHF