Update: KDRP founder Daryl O'Neal confirmed to KUT News that Larry Monroe died from complications due to the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) early Friday morning.
Below you can listen to our remembrance of Monroe from KUT's Ben Philpott.
Original Post: We are sad to report long-time broadcaster and former KUT host Larry Monroe has passed away at the age of 71. Monroe worked for nearly 30 years at KUT and during his tenure he helmed the popular "Phil Music," "Blue Monday," "Texas Radio" and "Segway City" programs.
Monroe became a fixture in Austin radio and in the music scene, as well — singing gospel songs on Easter Sunday with Willie Nelson, hanging out with Townes Van Zandt at The Hole in the Wall and, of course, providing eager audiences a constant source for Texas Music.
Monroe was a native of Hartford City, Indiana, and began working in radio since the age of 13. In 1977, he came to Texas. He started his popular "Phil Music" program as a way to kill time during KUT broadcasts of Austin City Council meetings — filling time and keeping listeners enthralled between council sessions.
After leaving KUT in 2010, Monroe went on to host at KDRP in Dripping Springs, continuing his much-loved programming with his signature style. KDRP founder Daryl O'Neal says they don't make broadcasters like Monroe anymore.
"He was an absolute legend and our patriarch," O'Neal says. "He was the patriarch of our radio station. If it weren't for Larry Monroe, KDRP would not exist in the vein that it does today."
Larry Monroe was not just a guy content with spinning records, like many other disk jockeys. In countless cases, Monroe personally knew the artists he played.
In a 2006 KUT special on the life of Townes Van Zandt, Monroe shared one of his favorite memories of his friend, Townes, and another Austin music legend, Lucinda Williams.
KUT's General Manager and Director Stewart Vanderwilt says Monroe's impact was undeniable at KUT, KDRP and abroad:
We are deeply saddened to learn — from KDRP Facebook posts and broadcasts — of the passing of Larry Monroe. He was, and will always be a part of KUT’s music legacy. After 29 years at KUT, he extended his career and influence at KDRP. We share our condolences with his long-time partner, close friends and radio fans far and wide.
Upon leaving KUT in 2010, Monroe summed up his career to Nathan Bernier with a quote from his long-time friend Van Zandt:
When he talked about his song writing and his songs, he said, “All those songs are up there in the sky, and what I do is I pull them down and I write them.” I figured out that my job is to take those songs that people have written and made records of, and I put them on the radio, and I put them back out there in the sky so everybody can hear them.
You can check out a full archive of Larry's programs from his days at KUT on his website.