Archive for July, 2012
Eight years is an eternity for a television news reporter to be at the same station. Dr. Kate Weidaw, the personable morning beat reporter at KXAN-TV, has obviously been doing good work. Now, she will teach a new generation of young journalists how it’s done.
Dr. Weidaw is leaving Austin this week for a new job in academe. She earned her PhD in Journalism from the University of Texas in May and has accepted a job as an assistant professor at the University of Georgia.
“The offer really was too good to pass up,” Dr. Weidaw said. “It will be extremely difficult to leave Austin and it took a lot of soul searching to leave my current job. I am hoping to do some freelance reporting for some of the Atlanta affiliates or even CNN. I’m not ready to leave the business and I think it’s important to stay in somehow to stay relevant as a professor.”
In addition to her PhD, Dr. Weidaw earned a double-bachelor’s degree in communication and elementary education from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Texas. She has been teaching broadcast journalism part time at St. Edwards University here.
Her last day at KXAN is August 1.
I hate to see a fellow Pittsburgher leave the market, but I know she will be a star in Athens, Georgia. How Bout Them Dawgs!!
- Just shy of halfway into Face the Nation Sunday, long-time host and Austin native Bob Schieffer announced that his CBS bosses were so pleased with their experiment to expand the show to one hour that they are making it permanent. Schieffer thanked the estimated 64 percent of CBS affiliate stations who cleared time for the second half of the show, which debuted in 1954 and is one of the longest running news programs in TV history. Unfortunately, Austin CBS affiliate KEYE-TV is not one of those affiliates. Schiffier has teased some very interesting stories for the second half hour on each of the recent Sundays. This past Sunday, for example, local viewers missed a very intelligent panel discussion on the Penn State situation, a panel that included 24-year-old Pulitizer Prize winning reporter Sara Ganim, who broke the Sandusky story. Instead, we were switched to evangelist Joel Osteen’s Houston service, a piece of paid programming. Of course, you can view the stories you missed online by going to the Face the Nation page. If, like me, you would prefer to see the full hour on TV, rather than computer, I suggest you contact the powers that be at KEYE and station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group. Surely they can find time for Osteen to run at another time, say 10:30 a.m. Sundays after Face the Nation has aired in its entirety.
Former KXAN-TV news director Michael Fabac has landed on his feet with a new job in a larger market. Fabac will be news director of WCMH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, the 34th TV market, compared to Austin at 47. Fabac was dismissed suddenly from KXAN during the May ratings period amid reports of lawsuits for racial discrimination and libel against the station. Before joining KXAN, Fabac worked in Colorado Springs, St. Louis and Detroit in production jobs, and as news director in Saginaw, Michigan and Little Rock before joining KXAN in 2007. Apropos of nothing, I have a soft spot for Fabac’s new Columbus station where I began my own TV news career as a summer intern at what was then WLW-C.
- Austin American Statesman reporter Gary Dinges landed an interview with the missing former KXAN weatherman, Shawn Rutherford, over the weekend. In the interview, Rutherford, who was dismissed by the station in January, indicated he is working on a religion degree and that he is looking at various career options, including some in the religious field. He did not rule out a return to television now that his six-month non-compete agreement with KXAN has expired, telling Dinges that he “misses communicating with people.” His Austin TV options are certainly limited. He told Dinges he was unhappy with the increasingly “corporate” feel at KXAN, which would seem to rule out KEYE-TV, now being run by the highly corporate Sinclair Broadcast Group. KVUE-TV has a solid staff of four meteorologists, FOX 7 has three and cable news operation YNN boasts five. Like Dinges’s blog, however, this blog continues to get regular questions about Rutherford, so he still has a following if someone could fit him in.