Morning host JB Hager leaves Classic 105.3

JB Hager
JB Hager

For the first time in nearly two decades, JB Hager can finally sleep in.

Hager, who spent the past two years hosting the morning show on Austin Radio Network’s Classic 105.3, has left the station.

Before joining Classic 105.3, Hager had a long run hosting mornings on Mix 94.7 with Sandy McIlree.

Hager says he’s already lined up a new gig creating online content for Empowering a Billion Women 2020, an Austin-based organization.

“It’s an amicable split,” Hager said. “They’re focusing on other things right now and I’m using this time to see what the next 20 years of my media career will look like.”

Hager said he’s thankful for the time he spent at Bob Cole’s Austin Radio Network – time that helped strengthen his love of radio.

“I do believe in Bob Cole and he was very generous to me,” Hager said. “It was cool to work with him. I was given a lot of freedom and was able to do a lot of things that would make most programmers cringe. It wasn’t your typical morning jibber-jabber.”

Hager’s not ruling out a return to radio one day, but he says he’s in no hurry. He’s excited about working with Empowering a Billion Women 2020 and continuing to write a column for Austin Woman magazine. He’s also involved with several local businesses, including Driveway Austin Motorsport Academy, Uncle Billy’s Brew and Cue, 24 Diner, La Mancha Tex-Mex Tavern, Hangar Lounge, and Wheel mobile video.

“It’s a time for reinvention,” Hager said. “It’s very, very bizarre not being on the radio. I really enjoy it. It’ll be odd to get up and not do that every morning. My wife and daughter aren’t used to seeing me in the morning. I think I’m already getting on their nerves and throwing off their routine.”

Austin Radio Network will, at least for now, run straight music in the mornings on Classic 105.3. The group’s other Austin stations include 104.9 The Horn and 98.5/99.3 KOKE-FM.


Broadcaster planning statewide news bureau in Austin

kxanThe Texas-based company planning to buy local NBC affiliate KXAN and dozens of other TV stations nationwide will open a statewide news bureau in Austin if the deal goes through.

In an updated filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Irving-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. says its proposed acquisition of KXAN’s owner, Richmond, Va.-based Media General, would also give it the scale needed to open statewide news bureaus in two other states: New York and Tennessee.

In addition to KXAN, Media General also operates Austin CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO.

In Texas, once the acquisition is complete, Nexstar would have TV stations in Austin, Harlingen, Bryan/College Station, Waco, Tyler, Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Wichita Falls, Abilene and San Angelo. That would leave only three Texas TV markets – Houston, Dallas and San Antonio – without a Nexstar-owned station.

“These state news bureaus will empower stations to share news content regarding state political issues and matters of regional interest across all of Nexstar’s stations in the state, providing viewers with greater and more timely access to relevant information,” Nexstar says in its filing. “With modest financial contributions from all stations, these bureaus are economically viable and will provide content that would otherwise not be possible.”

Nexstar also indicates in documents that it will explore adding even more statewide news bureaus, including the possibility of ones in Alabama and Indiana.

The FCC is currently reviewing Nexstar’s plans to take over Media General’s stations. Before getting a green light, the companies will be required to divest stations in several markets where they have overlapping operations.

SXSW 2016: New Fox 7 app pays viewers for their pix, vids

unnamedIf you see breaking news during South by Southwest – or any other time of the year – shoot it with the new Fresco app and you just might get a little spending money.

Fresco is deploying the app via a partnership with Fox-owned stations nationwide. That includes Austin’s KTBC, which began using it today.

People whose photos are used on air will get $20. If your video is used, you’ll get $50.

In addition to buying footage of breaking news, the Fox stations will also post more routine assignments from time to time. Anyone with the Fresco app can shoot those assignments and, potentially, get paid.

“We’ve been trying to do this the right way for years, but all that was missing were some ambitious 20-somethings and a simple app,” said Sharri Berg, senior vice president of news operations for Fox Television Stations.

The nationwide Fresco rollout comes after a successful trial earlier this year at WTXF, the Fox station in Philadelphia. Aside from Philadelphia and Austin, it’s also been picked up by Fox stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Tampa, Charlotte and Orlando.

“We built Fresco to harness the real power of citizen journalism,” Fresco CEO John Meyer said. “As news consumers, we’re often only given one particular angle to a story because there’s usually only one camera or one reporter on the scene. But with Fresco, there can be multiple witnesses who are recording their own perspective, which adds a new dimension to how stories are presented.”

In time for debate, Univision’s back (temporarily) on U-verse lineup

AT&T U-verse customers across the country, including right here in Austin, will be able to watch tonight’s Democratic debate on Univision after all.

Univision-owned stations went dark last week on U-verse, the result of a contract dispute over retransmission fees – money cable and satellite providers must pay in order to carry networks. But the two sides have agreed to temporarily set aside their differences so audiences can watch Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders square off tonight.

The debate, which will air live from Miami, starts at 8 p.m. on KAKW Channel 62.

Univision this afternoon called on AT&T to continue airing the network’s programming for 24 hours following the debate. Dallas-based AT&T didn’t immediately respond to Univision’s request.

Fox 7 adding MeTV subchannel featuring classic TV shows

11990524_10154205321166686_2537473550133782487_nOne of the most popular over-the-air digital subchannels is (finally) coming to Austin.

MeTV has signed a deal with Fox-owned KTBC that will put it on channel 7.4.

The station said it expects to announce soon when exactly MeTV will make its debut.

The MeTV network airs some of the best-known classic TV shows, such as “M*A*S*H,” “Happy Days,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Kojak,” “Perry Mason” and “The Twilight Zone.”

On KTBC, MeTV will join two other digital subchannels: Movies! on channel 7.2 and Buzzr on channel 7.3.

Other local stations have also added stations recently, including Cozi and Ion on KXAN and Grit and Laff on KNVA.

February TV ratings: KVUE, KXAN are Austin’s top stations

Lester Holt anchors 'NBC Nightly News,' Austin's top-rated network newscast. (Jose Luis Villegas photo / The Sacramento Bee )
Lester Holt anchors ‘NBC Nightly News,’ Austin’s top-rated network newscast. (Jose Luis Villegas photo / The Sacramento Bee )

KXAN and KVUE were Austin’s top-ranked English-language TV stations during February, according to new ratings data from Nielsen.

ABC affiliate KVUE had the No. 1 newscasts at 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., while NBC affiliate KXAN was tops at 6 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The two stations essentially tied in the midday news race.

Once again, KXAN’s 6 p.m. broadcast was the city’s most-watched newscast, regardless of time period, drawing an average of 51,446 Central Texas households. That’s more than second-place KVUE and third-place KEYE combined.

Other highlights:

  • ABC’s “Good Morning America” is Austin’s No. 1 network morning show, followed by NBC’s “Today” and “CBS This Morning.” While it remains in third place, ratings for “CBS This Morning” jumped dramatically compared to February 2015 – up 62 percent at 7 a.m. and 70 percent in the 8 a.m. hour.
  • “NBC Nightly News” easily wins the 5:30 p.m. network news battle, followed by “ABC World News” and the “CBS Evening News,” which grew its audience 47 percent year over year.
  • In primetime, CBS rules the roost. NBC is second, then ABC, Fox, The CW and MyNetworkTV.
  • NBC’s “Tonight Show” leads the late-night ratings, with ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and CBS’s “Late Show” essentially tying for the runner-up spot.

February Nielsen ratings

Each ratings point equals 7,456 Central Texas households. The first number is ratings points, the second is share (the percentage of in-use TV sets tuned to a particular channel) and the third is total households.

4:30 a.m.

  • KVUE: 1 / 10.3 / 7,456
  • KTBC: .6 / 5.8 / 4,474
  • KXAN: .5 / 4.8 / 3,728
  • KEYE: .2 / 2.5 / 1,491

5 a.m.

  • KVUE: 1.6 / 12.9 / 11,930
  • KXAN: 1.5 / 11.7 / 11,184
  • KTBC: .8 / 6.8 / 5,965
  • KEYE: .4 / 3.5 / 2,982

6 a.m.

  • KXAN: 3 / 16.2 / 22,368
  • KVUE: 2.1 / 11 / 15,658
  • KTBC: 1.8 / 9.7 / 13,421
  • KEYE: .8 / 4.1 / 5,965

7 a.m.

  • KTBC: 1.4 / 6.3 / 10,438
  • KNVA: .2 / 1.1 / 1,491

8 a.m.

  • KTBC: 1.2 / 5.3 / 8,947

9 a.m.

  • KTBC: 1 / 4.9 / 7,456
  • KEYE: .6 / 2.7 / 4,474 (‘We Are Austin’)

11 a.m.

  • KVUE: 2 / 8.5 / 14,912


  • KXAN: 2 / 7.9 / 14,912
  • KTBC: .9 / 3.4 / 6,710

12:30 p.m.

  • KXAN: 1.2 / 4.6 / 8,947 (‘Studio 512’)

5 p.m.

  • KXAN: 5.5 / 14.2 / 41,008
  • KVUE: 3.7 / 9.4 / 27,587
  • KTBC: 2.3 / 5.6 / 17,149
  • KEYE: 1.5 / 3.8 / 11,184

6 p.m.

  • KXAN: 6.9 / 15.2 / 51,446
  • KVUE: 4.7 / 10.3 / 35,043
  • KEYE: 2.1 / 4.7 / 15,658

9 p.m.

  • KTBC: 2.4 / 4.4 / 17,894
  • KNVA: .7 / 1.3 / 5,219

9:45 p.m.

  • KNVA: .3 / .5 / 2,237 (‘ATX Uncensored-ish’)

10 p.m.

  • KXAN: 5.6 / 11.1 / 41,754
  • KVUE: 4.3 / 8.6 / 32,061
  • KEYE: 2.9 / 5.8 / 21,622
  • KTBC: 1.9 / 3.8 / 14,166