Destiny Chance is new Fox 7 weekend evening anchor

Destiny Chance (Fox 7 photo)

Fox 7 has promoted from within to fill a vacant anchor position.

Reporter Destiny Chance has been upped to weekend evening anchor, taking over for Ashley Paredez, who is now at sister station KDFW in Dallas.

Chance joined Fox 7 in February.

“In her time here at Fox 7, Destiny has proven a desire to learn and grow,” Fox 7 vice president and news director Pam Vaught said in a written statement. “She has been committed to extensively covering our community in the field, and we know that will carry through to the anchor desk.”

Earlier in her career, Chance worked at stations in Columbia, S.C.; and Augusta, Ga. She has a journalism degree from the University of South Carolina.

“Austin has always felt like home, and each day the stories I cover make me fall even more in love with this amazing city,” she said. “I thank the viewers for welcoming me with open arms, and I hope you’ll continue to welcome me in this new role.”


After 2 years away, former KVUE news boss returning to Austin

Frank Volpicella

Frank Volpicella, KVUE’s news director for 16 years before departing in 2016, is returning home.

Volpicella, who served as managing editor at WJXT in Jacksonville, Fla., and news director at WGCL in Atlanta since leaving Austin, is set to become the next general manager of Community Impact’s Cedar Park-Leander edition.

“After two and a half years of being away from the best city in the country, I’m returning in mid-October,” Volpicella said. “I am thrilled to be able to return home and be close to family and friends. Our son and daughter-in-law live in Dallas, and my wife and I couldn’t stand being so far away from them. I am also excited to be able to serve the community I love once again.”

Volpicella was one of several high-profile KVUE staffers who left the station when its owner, Tegna, offered voluntary buyouts two years ago. Others included chief meteorologist Mark Murray.

Volpicella says he’s excited about what’s ahead. He partnered with Community Impact on several occasions while at KVUE, and is well acquainted with the publication’s founder, John Garrett.

“I am leaving TV news after a long career in broadcast journalism to now work for a company and a publication that I admire and respect,” he said. “The company leaders share the same vision I have, of serving our communities with quality journalism in order to make our communities a better place to live. I spent 16 years in the Cedar Park-Leander area, making friends and developing business partners. I hope to renew those friendships when I return this fall.

“On a personal note, I look forward to seeing a Texas sunset again over Lake Travis and to eating the best barbecue and Tex-Mex anywhere. But most of all I look forward to being close to family and to renew the friendships that I made during my 16 years here.”

Spectrum News Austin scaling back sports coverage

Austin’s Spectrum News is scaling back its sports coverage.

The 24-hour cable news network available exclusively to Spectrum subscribers will stop airing “Sports Night,” a nightly 30-minute sports show, this week.

The last broadcast for the show, which airs at 10:30 p.m. with a repeat at midnight, is Friday.

Some Spectrum News sports staffers will be reassigned as a part of the change.

The station does still plan to have some sports coverage, according to a spokesperson for Charter, which formed Spectrum after acquiring Time Warner Cable.

“As with any network, from time to time our programming and staffing will change as we strive to better engage our viewers,” the spokesperson said. “We’ll still have sports coverage, including our ‘High School Blitz’ show, but we have decided to change some programming to offer viewers more information that is relevant to them.”

After family health scare, Mix 94.7 host takes step to ensure heart wellness

Alex_Dr. Goswami
Alex Franco discusses the HeartSaver CT with Dr. Vivek Goswami. (Heart Hospital of Austin photo)

It’s the kind of call no one wants to receive.

Mix 94.7 morning co-host Alex Franco was on the road back to Austin after a visit to Dallas when he learned from a hospital chaplain that his brother, David, had just had a massive heart attack.

“I was at an exit right outside of Waco,” Franco said. “My heart just dropped when I heard the news. It just kind of came out of nowhere. It didn’t sound good.”

The situation was so severe, Franco learned, that David had to be flown from a Houston hospital to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston by helicopter for treatment.

Franco says his brother didn’t really meet any of the common risk factors. He wasn’t overweight. He wasn’t overly stressed. And he was only 47 years old at the time.

None of that mattered though.

“He had a pacemaker put in,” Franco said. “He had to change his whole lifestyle – and he didn’t have a bad lifestyle before.”

It was that scare that ultimately prompted the radio host to get his own heart checked out at Heart Hospital of Austin, where he underwent the HeartSaver CT test.

“As a male, we tend to procrastinate,” Franco said. “I realized I was taking my heart for granted. I was taking my body, my health for granted. It’s not just me. I have a wife, a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year-old daughter.”

The test only took about five minutes and when he got the results, there was no cause for alarm.

“I’m good,” he said. “I’m clear.”

Dr. Vivek Goswami was Franco’s doctor at Heart Hospital of Austin, where the HeartSaver CT has been performed for about a decade. He says the test is a noncontrasted CT scan that looks for calcium in arteries. It provides patient and doctor both with a numeric score – the higher the score, the higher the risk.

Dr. Goswami suggests the procedure become common practice, much like mammograms and prostate exams.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, killing more people than cancer, car accidents, infections and suicide,” Dr. Goswami said. “We aren’t routinely doing anything to screen heart disease, even though it’s more likely to kill Americans.”

Everyone eventually develops plaque, Dr. Goswami said, but the amount can vary greatly. Ways to combat the risks it poses include better eating, aerobic exercise and, in some cases, taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

First, though, before determining a course of action, doctors need facts – facts Franco says the HeartSaver CT provides.

“I know, in Austin, we’re all busy, but I really hope others will do this,” Franco said. “If something bad turns up, it can be handled. I don’t want anyone to ever have to deal with the alternative. Nobody should have to go through that.”










The CW Austin to air 5 Texas State football games this season

Ralph Barrera photo / American-Statesman

Austin CW affiliate KNVA will air five Texas State University football games this year.

The matchups set to be broadcast include:

  • Sept. 8: Texas Southern (6 p.m.)
  • Oct. 6: Louisiana (6 p.m.)
  • Oct. 27: New Mexico State (6 p.m.)
  • Nov. 10: Appalachian State (3 p.m.)
  • Nov. 24: Arkansas State (3 p.m.)

David Saltzman and Keith Moreland will anchor the broadcasts, joined by sideline reporter Megan Birdsong.

“KXAN and The CW Austin are committed to bringing more exciting local programming and sports content to the local communities that we proudly serve across Central Texas,” Eric Lassberg, vice president and general manager of sister stations KXAN, KNVA and KBVO, said in a written statement. “College athletics are unique in that strong bonds are formed between students and alumni across multiple generations based on shared traditions and a continued passion for their athletic teams. As a result, we are thrilled to partner with Texas State University to deliver unprecedented viewing experiences and coverage of these five exciting games to local viewers and Bobcats fans throughout Central Texas.”


‘Family Feud’ auditions coming to Austin

Steve Harvey hosts ‘Family Feud.’

Who’s ready to play “Family Feud”?

If you are, now’s your chance.

The hit game show hosted by comedian Steve Harvey will be in Austin conducting auditions Aug. 4-5.

To sign up, visit

One tip from producers: Add photos and videos to your online application that show off the personalities of your family members.

Now … the fine print:

  • Your team must have five family members “related by blood, marriage or legal adoption.”
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or have permission to work in the U.S.
  • You can’t be related to anyone affiliated with the show.
  • You can’t be a candidate for political office or have appeared on more than two game shows in the past year.
  • If you’ve been on “Family Feud” before, you must wait at least 10 years to reapply.
  • There is no age requirement, but the suggested minimum age for contestants is 15.

“Family Feud” airs weekdays at 6 p.m. on local CW affiliate KNVA.


Univision networks gone from Dish Network lineup

Univision stations have gone dark for Dish Network subscribers in Austin and a number of other cities.

The satellite provider removed the channels over the weekend, even though Univision says it had offered a two-week extension while contract talks continued.

Dish subscribers no longer have access to Univision, UniMás and Galavision, while folks who subscribe to Dish’s Sling streaming service have lost Univision, UniMás, Galavision, Univision Deportes Network and El Rey.

“It is outrageous that Dish has rejected our offer of a two-week contract extension to allow its customers and our viewers to continue to have access to Univision’s highly rated networks and stations,” Univision said in a written statement. “While Dish has routinely used blackouts against broadcasters – its 68 broadcast blackouts since 2010 are significantly more than any other distributor in that time – Univision expected Dish to take our negotiations and its commitment to Hispanic consumers seriously when it told its customers this week that it wanted to ‘reach a mutually beneficial deal’ for Univision’s ‘high quality content.’

“Instead of fulfilling its promise to its customers, Dish has chosen to devalue our programming, disingenuously offering a fraction of what it pays our English-language peers. We stand ready to continue negotiations and enter into a short-term extension to restore service, especially with Dish customers missing our coverage of the Mexican presidential election, which many are calling ‘the biggest election in Mexican history.’ Dish should do right by its Spanish-speaking audiences, agree to restore service, and negotiate a good faith agreement.”

Univision says it is the No. 3 most-watched network that Dish carries, regardless of language, and that its various networks combined account for 60 percent of Spanish-language viewership on the Dish Latino package.

May TV ratings: See how your favorite Austin news station fared

KXAN’s evening anchor team includes sports director Roger Wallace, left, news anchors Sydney Benter and Robert Hadlock and chief forecaster Jim Spencer.

TV stations across the country wrapped up the all-important May “sweeps” period Wednesday, pulling out all the stops to get viewers to tune in.

Looking at total households and the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults ages 25-54, NBC affiliate KXAN and ABC affiliate KVUE were the frontrunners, for the most part.

KVUE was the station to beat in the morning, while KXAN was the frontrunner in the evening.

CBS Austin, meanwhile, reported that it saw year-over-year growth for six of the seven newscasts it produces weekdays, including a 27 percent increase in households at 10 p.m. That was enough to push “CBS Austin News at 10 p.m.” into second place, behind KXAN and ahead of KVUE.

“I am proud of this team’s hard work,” said Amy Villarreal, vice president and general manager for CBS Austin and Telemundo Austin. “CBS Austin News is committed to winning breaking news on all platforms, providing important consumer advocacy reports and producing exclusive content in all newscasts. We will continue to work hard to be a trusted news source for our Central Texas viewers.”

TV stations use Nielsen ratings from sweeps months to set the price they charge for commercials. More viewers mean higher ad rates.

May Nielsen ratings: Total households

Each ratings point equals 7,915 Central Texas households. The first number is ratings points and the second is total households.

4:30 a.m.

KVUE: 1 / 7,915

KTBC: .7 / 5,541

KXAN: .3 / 2,375

KEYE: .3 / 2,375

5 a.m.

KVUE: 1.5 / 11,873

KXAN: 1 / 7,915

KTBC: 1 / 7,915

KEYE: .5 / 3,958

6 a.m.

KVUE: 2.8 / 22,162

KXAN: 2.3 / 18,205

KTBC: 1.7 / 13,456

KEYE: .9 / 7,124

11 a.m.

KVUE: 2 / 15,830


KXAN: 2.1 / 16,622

KTBC: 1.2 / 9,498

5 p.m.

KXAN: 4.4 / 34,826

KVUE: 4.1 / 32,452

KTBC: 2.4 / 18,996

KEYE: 1.3 / 10,290

6 p.m.

KXAN: 5.9 / 46,699

KVUE: 4.4 / 34,826

KEYE: 1.9 / 15,039

9 p.m.

KTBC: 2.7 / 21,371

KNVA: .8 / 6,332

9:45 p.m.

KNVA: .5 / 3,958 (‘KXAN Sports: More Than the Score’)

10 p.m.

KXAN: 4.8 / 37,992

KEYE: 3.2 / 25,328

KVUE: 2.8 / 22,162

KTBC: 2 / 15,830

May Nielsen ratings: Adults ages 25-54

Each ratings point equals 8,456 Central Texans ages 25-54. The first number is ratings points and the second is total in-demo viewers.

4:30 a.m.

KVUE: .4 / 3,382

KTBC: .1 / 846

KXAN: .1 / 846

KEYE: .1 / 846

5 a.m.

KVUE: .6 / 5,074

KXAN: .6 / 5,074

KTBC: .2 / 1,691

KEYE: .1 / 846

6 a.m.

KVUE: 1.8 / 15,221

KXAN: 1.5 / 12,684

KTBC: .6 / 5,074

KEYE: .4 / 3,382

11 a.m.

KVUE: .6 / 5,074


KXAN: .5 / 4,228

KTBC: .4 / 3,382

5 p.m.

KVUE: 1.3 / 10,993

KTBC: 1.2 / 10,147

KXAN: 1 / 8,456

KEYE: .2 / 1,691

6 p.m.

KXAN: 1.8 / 15,221

KVUE: 1.7 / 14,375

KEYE: .4 / 3,382

9 p.m.

KTBC: 1.4 / 11,838

KNVA: .3 / 2,537

9:45 p.m.

KNVA: .2 /  1,691 (‘KXAN Sports: More Than the Score’)

10 p.m.

KXAN: 2 / 16,912

KTBC: 1.3 / 10,993

KVUE: 1.1 / 9,302

KEYE: .8 / 6,765

NewsRadio KLBJ making changes to weekday morning lineup

NewsRadio KLBJ is shaking up its weekday lineup starting Monday.

The news/talk station, which can be heard on 590 AM and 99.7 FM, is expanding its signature morning program, “The Todd and Don Show” to five hours, running from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the changes continue with the addition of an extra hour of “The Mark and Melynda Show,” which recently took over the 2 p.m. time slot, where it will continue to be heard, as well.

Gone from the lineup is the nationally syndicated “The Brian Kilmeade Show” featuring Fox News host Brian Kilmeade.

Veteran Austin broadcaster to serve as interim leader for KUT, KUTX

Patti Smith (Ricardo B. Brazziell photo)

A veteran Austin broadcaster has been tapped to serve as interim executive director of Austin radio stations 90.5 KUT-FM and 98.9 KUTX-FM.

Patti Smith arrives with more than four decades of broadcast experience in Austin and elsewhere across the state. Most recently, she spent 17 years as president and general manager of KVUE-TV, Austin’s ABC affiliate.

Smith is a graduate of the University of Texas, which runs both KUT and KUTX. She will take over for outgoing general manager Stewart Vanderwilt, who has accepted a job with Colorado Public Radio.

“In my role as interim executive director of KUT and KUTX, my goal is to support and enhance the longstanding legacy of excellence established at each station to ensure they continue to serve our local listeners and communities,” Smith said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with the outstanding staff at both stations to address the ever-changing landscape of the media industry. I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.”

Smith will start Monday, shadowing Vanderwilt during his final month before taking over.

“I’m very pleased Patti has agreed to serve as our interim executive director while we complete a national search for a new permanent director of these two amazing and important stations,” said Jay Bernhardt, dean of the Moody College of Communication, home to KUT and KUTX. “Patti’s extensive experience in media operations and executive management will provide strong leadership during this period of transition.”