KOOP Radio 91.7 FM –
|City of license||Hornsby, Texas, USA|
|Broadcast area||Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area|
|Slogan||“Community Radio for Austin, Texas”|
|First air date||October 27, 1993|
|Owner||Texas Educational Community Broadcasting|
|Webcast||KOOP Live Feed|
KOOP (91.7 FM) (pronounced ‘co-op’) is a noncommercial community radio station owned and operated by its members and staffed by volunteers. The station broadcasts in Austin, Texas, with a carrier frequency of 91.7 MHz at an effective radiated power of 3 kilowatts and is licensed to Texas Educational Broadcasting Co-operative, Inc., a nonprofit organization (doing business as KOOP Radio, previously Austin Co-op Radio). The station was assigned the KOOP call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on October 27, 1993.
The 91.7 frequency is shared with KVRX, the student radio station for The University of Texas at Austin. KOOP broadcasts on 91.7 FM from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. KVRX, which is licensed to the University, broadcasts during the remaining hours. KOOP streams online during KVRX’s broadcast hours.
The KOOP radio station has won 19 Best of Austin awards from the Austin Chronicle from 1992 to 2006. In 1994 the station shared the Austin Music Awards honor for “Best Thing To Happen in Austin” with KVRX.
In early 2006, KOOP’s 304 E. Fifth Street studio was hit by two fires. On 6 January a fire caused significant smoke damage; the station suspended operation for just five days and sought a new home. Before a site could be found, a second fire occurred on 4 February which destroyed KOOP’s building and three adjacent structures that housed artist studios and a nightclub. Both fires were declared accidental. The first was blamed on careless smoking by a neighbor; the second, on the nightclub’s faulty heating and air conditioning unit.
The February fire knocked KOOP off the air for 17 days, during which time KVRX covered its sister station’s hours, as it had following the original fire. KOOP resumed broadcasting on 21 February from studios at the city’s classical music station KMFA. By the end of 2006, KOOP had found new quarters at 3823 Airport Boulevard, where it built two broadcast studios, two production rooms, a music library, meeting space and offices. The station began broadcasting from the facility on 9 December 2006.
KOOP had been broadcasting from its new home for less than 13 months when it suffered yet another blaze. On 5 January 2008, a fire swept through the Airport Boulevard studios, causing an estimated $300,000 damage. Austin fire officials declared the incident arson and within weeks charged a former station volunteer, Paul Webster Feinstein, with setting the blaze. According to investigators, Feinstein had quit a month earlier following a dispute over the music lineup for the station’s overnight webstream. On 12 June 2009, Feinstein pleaded guilty to setting the 2008 fire, and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment; however, as part of a plea agreement, Feinstein would serve 120 days at the Texas State Prison in Huntsville, pay $134,000 restitution, serve 10 years probation upon release from prison, and undergo community service and counseling.
The station was back on the air within a few weeks, using studio space donated by Entercom Austin, which owns three of the city’s commercial stations. KOOP returned to its Airport Boulevard studio in September 2008.
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- “Police: Volunteer Set Fire to Texas Radio Station Over Playlist”. InsuranceJournal.com. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- Panek, Tracey (26 June 2006). “KOOP has big plans for a community radio station”. News 8 Austin. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- Aguilar, Ernesto (5 December 2006). “Release: KOOP’s New Home”. Los Angeles, California: KPFT. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- “Naked City”. The Austin Chronicle. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
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- Associated Press (30 January 2008). “Man Sets Radio Station on Fire Over Playlist”. MSNBC. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- Plohetski, Tony (12 June 2009). “Man pleads guilty in KOOP radio fire”. Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Egner, Jeremy (4 February 2008). “Ex-volunteer Torched KOOP in Music Spat, Authorities Say”. Current. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- “KOOP-FM Moving Back to Airport Blvd. Studios”. KVUE-TV. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2009.[dead link]