Houston's beloved community radio station KPFT finds new home in historic neighborhood
In July 2021, Houston’s beloved listener-supported station, KPFT, announced that it was moving out of its familiar home in Montrose (419 Lovett Blvd.) after ownership company Pacifica forced a sale of the eroding building.
Now, the cherished community station and hub will toast its 52nd year in a new facility. KPFT’s new HQ is located in Third Ward at 4504 Caroline St., a short jaunt to the Houston Community College Central Campus and The Ion, Rice’s innovation district.
“There’s no place like home,” said KPFT general manager Robert Franklin in a statement. “KPFT is moving to our new home in the heart of Houston. We are very excited and look forward to moving into our new building and welcoming all of our programmers and community supporters back to their favorite new community station home.”
Nestled in the Museum Park neighborhood, the station’s new location offers an opportunity to collaborate with neighboring cultural centers, including the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, The Mexican Institute, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, Asia Society, Holocaust Museum Houston, and the Clayton Genealogical Archive, according to a press release.
Launched in 1970, KPFT is one of Pacifica Foundation’s five original radio stations; others are located in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, and Washington, D.C.
The station has been a hallmark of specialty shows highlighting local and regional musical artists and genres. Programming has traditionally run with a decidedly left-leaning bent, focusing on local, national, and international public affairs, quality of life issues, and social justice platforms.
More than a mere radio station; KPFT quickly became a Montrose hangout and gathering center. The imminent sale, forced by building disrepair, sparked considerable concern among fans and supporters. For the past two years, the station has been mostly run remotely by volunteers during the search for a new home.
“This has been a team effort with the Pacifica national technical professional staff playing an important role in assuring that this location meets the many technical specifications that a radio station requires,” Pacifica National Board member Susan Young noted in a statement. “And we at KPFT are grateful for the unanimous support of the Pacifica National Board to go forward buying the new home for KPFT.”