John Aielli, longtime voice of Austin mornings on KUT and KUTX, has died

John Aielli, the gentle and idiosyncratic narrator to the morning commutes of generations of Austinites, has died. The longtime local radio host was 76.  

“We’re heartbroken to tell you that our beloved friend and colleague John Aielli passed shortly before 8 a.m. this morning,” Austin stations KUT and KUTX said in a statement Sunday. “He was such a joy to work with, and so important to what KUT and KUTX have become.”

In recent years, Aielli had suffered several health setbacks, including a heart attack in 2012 and a stroke in 2020. After the latter, Aielli stepped back from regular on-air duties at the station. 

From 2012:Conversations with KUT’s John Aielli

Longtime KUT/KUTX radio personality John Aielli, shown here at the station in 2012,  had suffered several health setbacks in recent years.

During his tenure with KUT and KUTX — more than half a century — the classically trained baritone and his “Eklektikos” show eased the city into a new day, with everything from classical to classic rock. A beloved Austin character, he was a top fundraiser for the public radio station, as well as a connective force between listeners and community arts organizations. For years, he hosted the station’s beloved holiday singalong at the Capitol. 

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