Larry Monroe, a longtime DJ with KUT-FM in Austin, Texas, died Jan. 17 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 71.
Monroe, an Indiana native, went to Texas in 1977. He began his long-running music program, Phil Music, as a way to kill time during KUT broadcasts of Austin city council meetings, playing on the term “fill music” by pretending Phil was a real person. After another station took over city council broadcasting, Monroe kept the music as a stand-alone program.
During his nearly 30 years at the station, Monroe hosted several other music programs, including Blue Monday, Texas Radio and Segway City.
“Local Austin music didn’t have a bigger champion than Larry Monroe,” said Jay Trachtenberg, a fellow KUT music host and longtime colleague of Monroe’s. “Larry was true to his roots. He did what he did and was dedicated to it, and made no bones about it till the end.”
KUT cut back Monroe’s role at the station in 2009 in an effort to “serve a broader listener base,” a move that enraged his many devoted listeners, according to the Austin Chronicle. Monroe left KUT in 2010 and joined KDRP, a nonprofit community radio station in Dripping Springs, Texas.
“One night I just flipped over there, and there was an obscure Bob Dylan song on,” Trachtenberg said. “I said, ‘Well, Larry must be on the air, because nobody else would play that.’”