Jason Wheeler is back on the anchor desk where he belongs and seemingly very happy with his move to Belo Broadcasting’s WFAA Dallas. Wheeler, who left KEYE several weeks ago, is anchoring the main weekend evening newscasts, solo for now while WFAA recruits a new anchor partner. He’s also reporting Monday-Wenesday with a dayside schedule.
“The move has gone as smooth as silk,” Wheeler told me. ”My family and I are pleasantly surprised with Dallas. I grew up in Houston, so I never heard good things about Dallas, but we underestimated it. The area is very pretty.”
Dallas is the only Texas city in which Wheeler has not lived and is the first time in his broadcasting career in which he hasn’t bounced out of state. He’s amazed at how big Belo is in the Metroplex with its skyscraper headquarters.
“The WFAA people are very on top of things and bring a lot of knowledge to the table,” Wheeler said. “I feel pushed here and that’s actually a good thing. I needed that challenge again. In Austin, I had become too easily in a comfort zone.”
Wheeler says he and his family will miss Austin a lot, including the quality of life, the music and the people. He says they were constantly down in Austin even though they lived in Pflugerville. Wheeler’s wife, Kathy, has been a part time teacher here but was formerly a TV news anchor herself when the couple met while working in El Paso. They have two children, Isabella 12, and Jackie, 11.
Wheeler speaks highly of Greg Turchetta, who joined KEYE as news director in July.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders and I had a good working relationship with him,” Wheeler said. “Before he joined KEYE, I was working nights and my focus was all over the place. Greg came in and asked what he could do, and I really appreciated that. I got to work on meatier projects and I feel I was doing some of my best work in a while.”
Wheeler says he considered staying at KEYE, but the major factor in making the move to Dallas was the anchoring component. He says he enjoyed co-anchoring “Austin Live,” KEYE’s former 4 p.m. news and entertainment program.
“I worked previously for Belo at KENS, San Antonio, and it’s a great company to work for,” Wheeler said. “I made the move this time for career reasons. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.”