KTXT-FM (88.1 FM "The Couch") is a college radio station playing alternative music, housed and licensed by Texas Tech University through the Department of Student Media and based in Lubbock, Texas, USA. 88.1 FM broadcasts around the clock, all year long. KTXT-FM operates through approximately 35,000 watts of power to Lubbock and the surrounding South Plains of West Texas.
It is not known where the original antenna was located, however it is known that studios were once in the speech building and after the late seventies in the journalism building. The antenna and transmitter moved to the channel five KTXT-TV at the west end of the campus sometime after TV's inception in 1962. Though power remained low, the antenna stood at a height of .
In the late 1960s or early 1970s, the station applied for and received a construction permit for an increase to 18,500 watts at , proposing the KTXT tower. This was extended a number of times, because of changes in plans, changes in budgets (which mostly the station did not have) and the discovery (after the big Lubbock Tornado of 5-11-70) or realization that the tower was too light and too damaged to carry the additional weight and wind load of the bigger FM station antenna. In late 1978 the station relocated to the 98th and University tower owned by Ray Moran interests (101.1 KTEZ in those days, now ch 34 KJTV).
88.1 has, since the early 1980s, offered an eclectic mix of alternative programming ranging from oldies, new wave-80s, Reggae to house/trance, rock, country and indie. The 1980s led the way to the introduction of Reggae music to the South Plains area. Reggae bands were booked in local clubs as a result and Lubbock experienced a boom in world music influence locally. As with all college radio during the 1980s, KTXT-FM was responsible for expanding the minds and opening the ears to the sounds of up in coming bands like REM, U2 and The Clash. Whilst other stations in Lubbock stuck with the CHR (Chart Hits Radio) format, KTXT-FM drew many listeners away from commercial radio with their alternative programming thus forcing the commercial stations to pay attention to KTXT's playlists and DJs. Many veteran DJs can claim KTXT-FM as their first home on the air and are currently employed throughout the US as a result. Lastly, KTXT-FM is a student run and supported Radio station. And that was never more evident when in 1983 the then faculty adviser unilaterally changed the programming to full-time Classical music. This didn't last long as the Student DJs rallied at the a student Union. Critical funding for the station would have been rescinded as student groups protested to the University stating the station's new programming was not meeting the needs of the student body. Faced with a fiscal nightmare and staff walkout the Faculty reversed the change in program and KTXT-FM flourished throughout the 1980s "hands-off" Student run only station.
In February 1999, 88.1 became the first Lubbock FM station to broadcast on the Internet via a live audio feed, and currently runs streaming audio from their own in-house server.
The new facility included a 5,000 Watt Gates FM-5H2 transmitter donated by Pat Patillo (old and long time chief engineer of KTXT-TV), new feed line, and an eight bay antenna. The old frequency of 91.9 could not be used for a very high power level because it would conflict with the use of another channel assigned to Lubbock (102.5) that was open for applications in those days. The new frequency used was 88.1. This proved to be a good news/bad news combination. Sister station KTXT-TV was carried on cable tV on channel 6 where the sound frequency is about 87.7 MHz. At some locations near the new FM tower there was KTXT-FM audio heard where the KTXT-TV sound should have been. The FM operated a reduced power for a time as negotiations between the sister stations went on.
Much later, KTXT-TV put up a taller tower, and the KTXT-FM antenna was moved back to the Tech campus. When Tech assumed control of the KOHM facility, it to moved to the campus.
Some of the one-liners used by many of KTXT's DJs include: "Lubbock's Only Alternative", "The Couch", "Keep it locked to the left" and "Music your parents warned you about!" Or one from the 1980s, "You're all the way to the left at 88.1 KTXT-FM".
KTXT-FM is run by the Department of Student Media of Texas Tech University and is not affiliated with the College of Mass Communications. The entire staff for KTXT-FM is made up of students, ranging from the executive staff, who control the operation and direction of the station, to the volunteer general staff. Although the Student Media adviser oversees the activities of the station, the staff still handles the programming.