Archive for February, 2012
In my February 27 post about the Austin stations which won Texas Associated Press Broadcast awards, I inadvertently missed one of KXAN’s. This ups their total to 15, tying them with KVUE for most awards among Austin stations. I regret the error.
After more than 12 years of co-anchoring KXAN-TV’s early morning and Noon newscasts, Chris Willis said goodbye this morning to 3 a.m. alarm clocks. In a live cheerful passing of the torch, Willis and long-time co-anchor Sally Hernandez introduced new co-anchor Robert Maxwell to the set of “KXAN News Today.”
Maxwell, who will join KXAN on March 12, is coming to Austin from KTVX-TV, the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, where he was primary evening news anchor. He’s covered such major stories as the search for missing mom Susan Powell and severe wildfires and flooding.
As an investigative reporter, his work included in-depth stories on a fakedriver license scam and confusing gun permit laws.
Prior to anchoring in Salt Lake City, Maxwell served as a weekend news anchor/reporter for WFTV-TV in central Florida. He is a native of Canada, where he anchored and reported in Toronto.
Still to be named are new morning weather and traffic reporters to replace the departed Shawn Rutherford and Debra Wynn.
Willis will still be an important part of the KXAN news team. He was announced last November as the station’s chief investigative reporter. Since then, he has been doing both jobs, resulting in some long days.
“It will be good to get off this schedule; it’s a bear,” Willis said. “I’ve pulled some 16-18 hour days in recent months, but it gave everyone the chance to get it right in finding our new anchor. Robert is a great addition with a solid news and investigative background. Sally remains a great anchor and the new team will never miss a beat.”
Willis says he still will not have normal hours as chief investigator, working early or working late as the story demands. He will have the full-time services of long-time collaborator, photo-journalist Thomas Costley, and a full-time investigative team producer, soon to be named.
Maxwell will join KXAN’s investigative team, which also includes Hernandez, anchor/reporters David Scott and Shannon Wolfson, and reporter Erin Cargille.
As for Willis, he notes how lucky he has been to work with a succession of strong co-anchors, including Leslie Rhode (then Leslie Cook) before her promotion to the prime evening anchor role, Wendy Woolfolk and Hernandez.
He will miss going home after the Noon show and spending time with wife Katherine Kisiel, morning co-anchor at FOX 7, who will continue the early hours, and their sons, Austin, 6, and Nicholas, 4.
“Katherine has been very supportive about the changes,” Willis said. “I’m just interested in telling good stories and raising my family.”