WUOT Reaches 50-Year Mark

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — WUOT Public Radio turns 50 years old Oct. 7, but don’t expect a big birthday party.

After a year of special events marking the date, the day’s observations will be low key and reflective, WUOT executive Director Regina Dean said Tuesday.

“We have been commemorating our 50th birthday with special events all year long,” Dean said, “so we plan to spend this day just bringing all the memories together and reflecting on 50 years of service.

“We will mention it in the day’s programs, but there will not be a lot of hoopla.”

Commemorative events in recent months have included recitals, exhibits, live broadcasts, and celebrity visits, Dean said. The city of Knoxville even proclaimed Oct. 7 “WUOT Day.”

WUOT, located at 91.9 on the radio dial, became one of the nation’s first FM public radio stations when it began broadcasting from UT-Knoxville’s Ayres Hall in 1949. Today it reaches 70,000 listeners in six states.

Sammie Lynn Puett, UT vice president for public service, continuing education, and university relations, attributed the station’s longevity to public support and quality service.

“WUOT is an integral part of UT’s service commitment to inform, educate, and relate to the public,” Puett said. “The station’s success and strong listener support is indicative of its quality music, news, and public affairs programming.”

Dean said WUOT is taking steps — such as broadcasting on the World Wide Web at www.wuot.utenn.edu — to ensure another successful 50 years.

“WUOT started out providing a unique service to the area and still does. We remain the only full-power public radio station licensed in Knoxville,” Dean said. “One thing that has not changed over the years is our commitment to providing listeners with the best programming available.”