KVUE’s new morning meteorologist debuts

Erika Lopez (KVUE photo)
Erika Lopez (KVUE photo)

A new face popped up today on KVUE’s two morning newscasts.

The city’s ABC affiliate has hired Erika Lopez to serve as meteorologist for its “Daybreak” and “Midday” broadcasts.

Lopez, a self-described “ultimate weather nerd,” arrives in Austin after a stint at Denver-based WeatherNation TV, a national cable network. Before that, she worked at a TV station in Victoria.

“We spent a long time looking for Erika,” KVUE news director Mike Redding said. “We needed a meteorologist who is accurate with forecasts but also strong with the kind of severe weather we see in Texas. Erika wakes up with a smile on her face and looks forward to helping our viewers get ready for their day.”

On “Daybreak” and “Midday,” Lopez will join news anchors Bryan Mays and Yvonne Nava.

She fills the spot vacated by Albert Ramon, who became KVUE’s chief meteorologist after veteran forecaster Mark Murray took a voluntary buyout last year.

“We found a great meteorologist with a bright personality and strong work ethic who wants to make Austin her home for many years to come,” Ramon said.

Lopez made her Austin debut the same day another local TV station said farewell to its morning meteorologist. CBS Austin’s Jordan Steele is bound for Seattle, where he’ll work at NBC affiliate KING.

KUTX makes tweaks to its weekend lineup

Confucius and Fresh host 'The Breaks' on 98.9 KUTX-FM. (Martin do Nascimento photo)
Confucius and Fresh host ‘The Breaks’ on 98.9 KUTX-FM. (Martin do Nascimento photo)

Austin radio station 98.9 KUTX-FM has tweaked its weekend lineup.

“The Breaks,” a two-hour show focused on local hip-hop and R&B acts, now airs Saturdays at 11 p.m. Its hosts are “local hip-hop super-fans” Confucius and Fresh.

“I’m really excited about bringing ‘The Breaks’ to KUTX,” Matt Reilly, the station’s program director, said. “Confucius and Fresh bring great knowledge and energy to the air and – with their hometown roots – they’re the perfect messengers to bring more attention to the Austin hip-hop scene.

“Austin has seen rapid growth of the hip-hop scene over the last several years and reflecting this scene is a part of our core mission of delivering ‘The Austin Music Experience’.”

The show takes over a spot previously occupied by host Katie Bradley.

On Sundays, KUTX has added “World Music” with Hayes McCauley from 10 p.m. to midnight. The show previously aired on KUTX until 2014, when it was shifted to the station’s website and its HD3 channel.

“Alt.Latino,” the show “World Music” replaced, has moved to KUTX HD3.

KUTX planning concert to celebrate 50 years of John Aielli

Iconic Austin radio host John Aielli will celebrate 50 years on the city’s airwaves with a special concert next month.

Aielli currently hosts “Eklektikos” from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday on 98.9 KUTX-FM.

According to the station, performers will include Hayes Carll, Tony Kamel of Wood and Wire, Nakia, Carrie Rodriguez, Bob Schneider, Shinyribs and Graham Reynolds’ house band, among others.

“Greater Tuna’s” Jaston Williams will serve as emcee for the event, which happens March 7 at Hogg Auditorium on the University of Texas campus.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $35 and $50. Buy them at cactuscafe.org.

“We wanted to honor and celebrate John’s remarkable 50 years on the air, which is a rare achievement in today’s radio landscape,” said Matt Reilly, program director for KUTX. “What better way to thank him for his contributions to the Austin creative scene than throwing a party with some of his favorite musicians and artists, and inviting 1,000 of his friends to celebrate.”

John Aielli (Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman staff)
John Aielli (Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman staff)

Management shakeup at Austin’s Spectrum News

Michael Pearson, news director for Spectrum News in Austin and San Antonio, is no longer heading up the cable news channels.

A spokesperson for Charter Communications, Spectrum’s owner, declined Thursday to answer questions from the American-Statesman regarding the departure.

Pearson had been news director for Spectrum News and its predecessors – Time Warner Cable News, YNN and News 8 Austin – since 2010.

Prior to that, he was assistant news director there for a decade.

Pearson arrived in Austin after spending time working as a print and broadcast journalist in San Antonio. That knowledge of the Alamo City came in handy when the San Antonio channel debuted in 2014, with newscasts produced out of Austin, augmented by reports filed by San Antonio-based reporters.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time now,” Pearson said in a 2014 interview. “I finally got the green light during the budget process last year.

“I know San Antonio news. I know what they’re lacking. I understand the city well.”

Updated with photos: UT students get all Beyonce’d up for ‘Ellen’ TV crew

Ellen DeGeneres (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)
Ellen DeGeneres (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

Updated: Mix the promise of free stuff with the possibility of being on TV and you get …. Yeah, we know what you get.

You get this scene at UT, where staffers from Ellen Degeneres’ show were on hand to give out tickets to the Grammy Awards to students who donned the best Beyonce outfit.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

 

 

Updated: The Texas Exes Facebook page is live right now with a video showcasing some of the best Beyonce costumes UT students could come up with. Ellen Degeneres’ crew is scheduled to be at the Main Mall at 3:30.

Posted earlier: Ellen Degeneres says that if you dress up like Beyonce and head to the University of Texas campus, she just might help you get to the Grammy Awards. She tweeted this at 1:10 p.m. Central:

 

 

 

 

 

A crew from her show did a similar giveaway stunt last week at Georgia Tech, where they handed out Super Bowl tickets.

It didn’t take long for the UT stunt to have its desired effect.

Posted earlier: If you’re anywhere near the University of Texas campus Tuesday, keep your eyes peeled for a crew from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

The lovable host tweeted out a teaser of sorts Monday afternoon, indicating a visit was in the works.

The news comes a week after the show stopped by the Georgia Tech campus, handing out Super Bowl tickets.

DeGeneres wasn’t there in person, but she did make an appearance via satellite, according to news reports.

Expect DeGeneres to tweet out more details later tonight or on Tuesday. For the Georgia Tech visit, students only got an hour’s notice.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airs weekdays at 4 p.m. on KVUE.

KVUE hires Tyler Sieswerda’s replacement

Mike Rush (KVUE photo)
Mike Rush (KVUE photo)

Look for a new face to pop up soon on KVUE’s evening newscasts.

Mike Rush has been hired as co-anchor of the ABC affiliate’s 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. broadcasts, the station said Thursday. He starts work March 20.

A Houston native, Rush arrives from St. Louis, where he was an anchor and investigative reporter for KSDK.

Both KVUE and KSDK are owned by McLean, Va.-based Tegna.

Rush will be teamed with Terri Gruca at 5 p.m. and Quita Culpepper at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be joining Quita, Terri and the rest of the KVUE team anchoring in the city where I’ve always wanted to live,” he said. “This is quite literally my dream job.”

Rush replaces Tyler Sieswerda, who departed the station in May of last year.

“I’m excited to share the anchor desk with Mike,” Culpepper said. “He’s an honestly good guy, and I’m thrilled to have him bring his wit and talent as a journalist to the table. Mike is ready to embrace life here in Central Texas, and I think our viewers will welcome the newest member of our KVUE family.”

Prior to St. Louis, Rush worked for TV stations in Lake Charles, La.; Mobile, Ala.; and New Orleans.

“We are incredibly lucky to have someone with Mike’s level of investigative storytelling join our team,” said KVUE president and general manager Kristie Gonzales. “He’s the kind of journalist who literally changes lives with his reporting.”

“Our goal was to hire someone who cuts straight to the truth, who is intellectually aggressive, and just as comfortable being in the field asking difficult questions as he is behind a desk,” KVUE news director Mike Redding said. “The fact that we did and he is from Texas is amazing. Mike Rush is the perfect fit for KVUE and Central Texas.”

Radio mega-merger involves owner of 4 Austin stations

A map of the combined Entercom and CBS Radio stations nationwide (Entercom graphic)
A map of the combined Entercom and CBS Radio stations nationwide (Entercom graphic)

The owner of four Austin radio stations is getting even bigger.

Philadelphia-based Entercom said Thursday it is merging with CBS Radio, which is based in New York.

The combined companies have 244 stations in 47 markets, including Austin, Dallas and Houston. They will operate under the Entercom name, with a corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.

A purchase price was not disclosed, but the companies said the deal would be structured as a Reverse Morris Trust, which would be tax-free to CBS and its stockholders.

In Austin, Entercom owns Mix 94.7, Majic 95.5, 96.3 RnB and Talk Radio 1370.

It’s a reunion of sorts for the Austin stations, which Entercom acquired from CBS Radio a decade ago when the company was divesting its properties in smaller markets.