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Here is a timeline of Austin City Limits for 45 seasons on air since 1976.

1974Edit

  • The pilot episode of Austin City Limits featuring Willie Nelson, which aired on 34 PBS affiliates on March 22, 1975, but the audience was small. Bill Arhos pitched the pilot as part of a PBS pledge drive, which would later go on the air in 1976.

1976Edit

  • Season 1 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. Now with a national audience, the show was now produced by KLRN in San Antonio, and Austin, Texas, and the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. Lone Star Beer now provides major funding. It was produced by Paul Bosner, and directed by Bruce Scafe.

1977Edit

  • Season 2 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. "London Homesick Blues" had become a regular feature at the beginning and end of every episode, and it became synonymous with Austin City Limits. Bruce Scafe quit directing after this season. It was the only season where Bill Arhos is the producer.

1978Edit

  • Season 3 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. Terry Lickona, Ray Lucero, and Gary Menotti join the production crew, while Bill Arhos and Howard Chalmers joined forces as executive producers, and Charles Vaughn as producer-director.

1979Edit

  • Season 4 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. Terry Lickona became producer starting with this season, now he's currently the executive producer. The partnership at KLRN dissolved. So now, KLRN became KLRU in Austin, Texas.
  • A new set designed by Robert Sertner was introduced, which consisted of red and blue lights, which made the audience darker. So that the viewers can see the performance more visible.

1980Edit

  • Season 5 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. The show is now produced by the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. Allan Muir became director, while Scott Newton became the show's full time photographer.
  • Austin City Limits introduced its Songwriters Special, featuring Willie Nelson, Floyd Tillman, Hank Cochran, Red Lane, Whitey Shafer, and Sonny Throckmorton. Howard D. Gutin became executive producer.
  • Marty Robbins became the first country legend to step on the Austin City Limits stage.

1981Edit

  • Season 6 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring The Charlie Daniels Band.
  • The first Austin City Limits special "Swingin' over the Rainbow" airs, as part of a PBS pledge drive.
  • PBS premieres Country Classics from Austin City Limits, a special featuring some of the classic country songs from the first five seasons of the show. It was also a part of a PBS pledge drive.
  • PBS premieres More Country Classics, a special featuring some of the best moments from Austin City Limits.
  • Season 6 wraps up with The David Grisman Quintet, and a Mandolin Special, featuring Tiny Moore, Jethro Burns, Johnny Gimble, and Eldon Shamblin.

1982Edit

  • Season 7 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. This season introduced the iconic Austin skyline backdrop, along with chairs and tables, trees, and lights behind for the audience. John Mills composed the opening theme music, which continued until Season 23 (1998). Allan Muir stepped down as the director for Austin City Limits.
  • Bill Arhos came back to the show as the executive producer, who stayed until Season 24 (1999).
  • Howard D. Gutin became executive in charge of production.

1983Edit

  • Season 8 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, Gary Menotti became the show's current director starting with this season. The funding from Lone Star Beer dissolved. So Austin City Limits had to look for a new underwriter the next season, which is Budweiser. Roy Orbison became the first man in black to step on the Austin City Limits stage.
  • For the first time in the show's history, the Austin skyline backdrop's lights had given new paint jobs.

1984Edit

  • Season 9 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, Budweiser replaced Lone Star Beer as an underwriter.
  • For the first time in the show's history, "London Homesick Blues" is rerecorded by adding more vocals to it.
  • Lickona, Watson & Casey Productions now provides personnel and production services for Austin City Limits.
  • PBS premieres Country Memories, an Austin City Limits special hosted by country legend Willie Nelson.

1985Edit

  • Season 10 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring The Oak Ridge Boys, and a special 10th anniversary party in the middle of downtown Austin, with Bob Wills' Original Texas Playboys. This marked the first time, Austin City Limits performances are taped outdoors.
  • Austin City Limits airs its first tribute show, featuring the late Steve Goodman.
  • Howard D. Gutin stepped down as executive in charge of production.
  • Neil Young goes country, in his first and only Austin City Limits appearance. This performance was rebroadcast in 1992 as part of Neil Young in Concert: An Austin City Limits Special.

1986Edit

  • Season 11 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Gary Morris and Sylvia.
  • Dick Peterson became executive in charge of production.
  • Fuji now provides videotaping for Austin City Limits starting with this season.
  • The Austin City Limits Reunion Special featured some of the artists from past seasons.

1987Edit

  • Season 12 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Ronnie Milsap. The Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council dissolved, so KLRN and KLRU split up to become The Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council.
  • Our first Austin City Limits book is published, and it was published by the University of Texas.

1988Edit

  • Season 13 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring The O'Kanes, and Highway 101.
  • For the first time in the show's history, the Austin skyline backdrop's lights had turned off, which made the audience more music friendly. The show is now currently produced by KLRU-TV, The Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council.

1989Edit

  • Season 14 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring George Strait & The Ace in the Hole Band. Joe Cook became the show's artist security starting with this season, which stayed until Season 24 (1999).
  • Leonard Cohen became the first major performer to appear on Austin City Limits.
  • Season 14 wraps up with John Hiatt and Los Lobos.

1990Edit

  • Season 15 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring George Jones and Carl Perkins.
  • Austin City Limits celebrated its 15th anniversary.
  • The is the first season of Austin City Limits to be broadcast in Dolby Surround.
  • KLRU teamed up with TNN to create a spinoff called The Texas Connection.
  • Season 15 wraps up with Lorrie Morgan, and Steve Wariner.

1991Edit

  • Season 16 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Ricky Van Shelton and Kelly Willis.
  • Season 16 wraps up with A Salute to the Cowboy, which is a cowboy-themed episode starring Michael Martin Murphey, Riders in the Sky, Sons of the San Joaquin, Don Edwards, and cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell.
  • PBS premieres Great Moments from Austin City Limits, a special featuring some of the best moments and favorite songs from the first 15 seasons of Austin City Limits. Hosted by producer (now executive producer) Terry Lickona.

1992Edit

  • Season 17 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an all-female Songwriters Special starring Nanci Griffith, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Indigo Girls, and Julie Gold. Travis Tritt makes his Austin City Limits debut.
  • PBS premieres an Austin City Limits special "In Country: Songs of the Vietnam War", hosted by Kris Kristofferson.
  • Austin Encore premieres on TNN, featuring replays of classic Austin City Limits performances that they were originally shown on PBS. The band credits were retained when TNN aired these episodes.
  • PBS premieres "Neil Young in Concert: An Austin City Limits Special". This special features a replay of Neil Young's 1984 Austin City Limits performance, which was originally broadcast in 1985, as part of Season 10.
  • PBS Home Video releases Austin City Limits: A Salute to the Cowboy, which was originally shown in 1991 as part of Season 16.

1993Edit

  • Season 18 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Michael Nesmith, and Emmylou Harris.
  • Classic encores were introduced in this season, featuring replays of classic Austin City Limits performances from past seasons.

1994Edit

  • Season 19 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring stepsisters Rosanne Cash, and Carlene Carter. Frito-Lay began underwriting sponsorship starting with this season, which continued until Season 21 (1996).
  • American Airlines now provides air transportation for Austin City Limits.

1995Edit

  • Season 20 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Vince Gill, and Junior Brown.
  • Austin City Limits celebrates its 20th anniversary, with a bluegrass special featuring Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks, and Ralph Stanley.
  • Jim Henson's Muppets joined Gary P. Nunn on stage to perform "London Homesick Blues".

1996Edit

  • Season 21 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Merle Haggard, and Alison Krauss. The show is now funded by Frito-Lay, and IBM. For the only time, Austin City Limits is taped on the road with Sagebrush Symphony.
  • Asleep at the Wheel celebrated its 25th anniversary on Austin City Limits.
  • The Best of Austin City Limits: Country Music's Finest Hour is released on CD, audiocassette, and videocassette. It features 15 performances of award-winning country songs from the first 21 seasons of Austin City Limits.

1997Edit

  • Season 22 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, the show's official website is launched.
  • Austin City Limits airs a tribute to Walter Hyatt, and a bluegrass tribute to Bill Monroe.
  • High End Systems now provides automated lighting for Austin City Limits.
  • Ford Trucks and Texas tourism began underwriting sponsorship starting with this season.
  • Legends of Country Music: The Best of Austin City Limits is released.

1998Edit

  • Season 23 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Junior Brown and Robbie Fulks. The show adopted the tagline "All American Music", and the show won a W.C. Handy "Keeping the Blues Alive" award. The opening theme music was composed by John Mills, recorded at Bee Creek Studio.
  • Dick Peterson steps down as the executive in charge of production.
  • The show is now funded by Ford Trucks, who celebrated the F-Series 50th Anniversary, Texas Department of Economic Development-Tourism Division, and ZiegenBock Beer.
  • Austin City Limits: Big Blues Extravaganza is released in stores.

1999Edit

  • Season 24 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, the show's tagline "Where Music Lives" was added.
  • This is the last season to be broadcast in Dolby Surround, and to be funded by Ford Trucks.
  • Bill Arhos, founder of Austin City Limits retires.

2000 Edit

  • Season 25 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, with an episode featuring Garth Brooks.
  • Chevrolet and Agillion began underwriting sponsorship starting with this season.
  • The opening theme music is now composed by Tequila Mockingbird.
  • The companion book Austin City Limits: Twenty-Five Years of American Music was released. It featured photographs of the stars, history of the show, and behind-the-scenes stories.
  • Season 26 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. Only in this season, Lickona appeared on camera for the classic encores.
  • SBC Communications began underwriting sponsorship starting with this season.

2001 Edit

  • Season 27 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. Classic encores were discontinued in this season.

2002 Edit

  • Season 28 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. Schlotzsky's Deli begins underwriting sponsorship starting with this season. CMT premieres a weekly series Best of Austin City Limits, featuring classic country music-themed episodes from past seasons. However, CMT airings cut the opening and closing credits due to time constraints, and was replaced with an introduction by Charlie Robison, as well as Tara McNamara. There was also an interesting factoid, and coming up segments during the commercial breaks.
  • We started our annual Austin City Limits Music Festival.

2003 Edit

  • Season 29 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. It was the last season to be broadcast in 480i SD.
  • This is the last season to have the show's theme song "London Homesick Blues", and the opening theme music by Tequila Mockingbird. Budweiser returns as an underwriter for this season.

2004 Edit

  • Season 30 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. The show now celebrated its 30th anniversary.
  • This is the first season to be broadcast in 720i HD, and a new opening theme composed by Charlie Sexton was introduced.

2005 Edit

  • Season 31 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS.

2006 Edit

  • Season 32 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. It was the last season to have the opening theme music by Charlie Sexton, which had been used since Season 30.

2007 Edit

  • Season 33 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. It was the first season to be broadcast in 1080i HD.

2008 Edit

  • Season 34 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. The Songwriters Special was discontinued.

2009 Edit

  • Season 35 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. The show now celebrates its 35th anniversary.

2010 Edit

  • Season 36 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. It was the last season to be taped at Studio 6A, which had been taping since the first season.

2011 Edit

  • Season 37 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. The show now moved to its current home at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. A new opening theme music "An Introduction" by Explosions in the Sky was introduced.

2012 Edit

2013 Edit

  • Season 39 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. It was the last season to have the opening theme music "An Introduction" by Explosions in the Sky.

2014 Edit

  • Season 40 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. We held our first Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.

2015 Edit

  • Austin City Limits founder Bill Arhos died at the age of 80.
  • Season 41 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS.

2016 Edit

  • Season 42 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS. MTV Live began airing reruns of Austin City Limits under the title Best of Austin City Limits. Some MTV Live reruns cut the funding credits and PBS logos due to time constraints.

2017 Edit

  • Season 43 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS.

2018 Edit

  • Season 44 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS.
  • Austin City Limits Radio is launched.

2019 Edit

  • Season 45 of Austin City Limits premiered on PBS.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit


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