Thursday, April 24, 2014

Katie McCall joins FOX 26 after KTRK 13

Katie McCall joins KRIV FOX26 news team as reporter

FOX 26 KRIV just sent me the big news that former KTRK abc13 weekend morning anchor Katie McCall is joining the FOX owned station as a reporter. Here is the press release:

Katie McCall
Katie McCall
Katie McCall joins the KRIV FOX26 news team, announced Bob Morford, the station’s Vice President and News Director. Effective Monday, April 28th, McCall will serve as a general assignment reporter.

Most recently, McCall served as an anchor/reporter for KTRK-TV in Houston. Prior to that, she has held anchor/reporter positions at WBBM-TV in Chicago, KHCW-TV in Houston and KGUN-TV in Tucson, AZ. Earlier, McCall was a producer for WSMV-TV in Nashville, TN. She began her career as an assistant to producers for MSNBC in New York.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, McCall holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Spanish.

- Brian Collister to leave KTRK abc13
- Christi Myers to retire from KTRK abc13
- Adela Uchida gone from abc13 KTRK with expanded weekend news on the way
- Katie McCall exits KTRK abc13
- Simon Gutierrez exits KTRK abc13 for KPTV Portland

- Ashley Johnson joins Fox 26 from PHL17 in Philadelphia
- Hilary Whittier sneaks into Fox 26 after WPIX NY

Casey Curry returns to KTRK abc13 after baby

Casey Curry returns to KTRK abc13 mornings after maternity leave

KTRK abc13 meteorologist Travis Herzog posted on Facebook that morning meteorologist Casey Curry returns to the ABC owned station Friday morning.

Curry, and hubby Carl, had Windsor "Winnie" Curry Hahn January 30th. Obviously she has been off the air since then with Herzog filling in.

Herzog asked to spread the word about Curry's return, so I am doing what I can.

Curry's enthusiastic fans have been stopping by my blog looking for news of her return date.

Daniella Guzman moves to KNBC LA from WMAQ Chicago

Daniella Guzman continues to move up the TV new ladder from NBC Chicago to KNBC LA

Daniella Guzman
Daniella Guzman at KPRC
It's only been a little more than two years and former KPRC 2 weekend anchor Daniella Guzman is moving up.

 In 2012, Guzman left Houston for the morning anchor chair at NBC's WMAQ Chicago. Wednesday, the press release was issued that Guzman is heading to Los Angeles and NBC owned sister station KNBC.

Clearly the KPRC weekend chair is a great launching pad. As I blogged months ago, KPRC 2 weekend anchor Irika Sargent is about to move to CBS Miami. After this KPRC viral video trending this week, weekend anchor Phillip Mena might be on his way to the network. Who knows?

Here is the release:

Emmy award-winning Daniella Guzman is joining NBC4 Southern California as Co-Anchor and General Assignment Reporter in June 2014. Guzman will co-anchor the “Today in LA” morning newscast alongside Michael Brownlee. “Today in LA” airs weekdays 4:30AM to 7AM.

“Daniella has the right combination of journalistic experience and genuine warmth that comes across on the air and in person,” said Todd Mokhtari, Vice President of News at NBC4 Southern California. “She is a dynamic anchor who will further strengthen our newscast and help our viewers kick start their day.”

Guzman joins NBC4 Southern California after a successful career at NBC5Chicago where she served as anchor for the weekday morning newscast in 2012. For two years she covered a fast-moving blend of the latest breaking news stories and issues important to local residents.

Prior to NBC 5 Chicago, Guzman was a weekend anchor and general assignment reporter at KPRC-TV in Houston. There, she covered hurricanes Dally and Gustav and was one of the first reporters on the scene during the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage. From 2004-2006, she worked at Telemundo station KTMD in Houston, and was at the Univision network in Miami earlier in her career. Adding to her broadcast television acumen, she also worked in radio and print media.

An avid traveller, Guzman is fluent in Spanish. She grew up just outside of Houston in Sugarland, TX and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where she holds a degree in bilingual journalism and communications. Guzman is married and has a young daughter.

Which other Houston anchor recently worked for KNBC? That's right, former KHOU anchor Lucy Noland.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Corey Foley leaves The Bull 100.3 KILT; plus other changes

Corey Foley splits with The New Bull @ 100.3 KILT morning partner Greg Thunder, Cowboy Dave moves to nights

Corey Foley and Greg Thunder
Corey Foley and Greg Thunder 2010
A big shakeup over at The New Bull @ 100.3 KILT. Corey Foley, who replaced the Hudson and Harrigan institution at the CBS owned station, is out.

"Houston is amazing as are the fabulous folks that live here," Foley told "I feel blessed to have had this awesome opportunity and look forward to my next adventure. However, the Lone Star State will always hold a special place in my heart. Thanks for all of the love & support."

Her morning show partner Greg Thunder remains as the solo host. Other morning host, Cowboy Dave, moves to the 7pm to midnight slot. That puts night guy Zakk United in the afternoon slot vacated by Keola Lui-Kwan.

KILT's listeners think this is bull and are taking to the station's Facebook page in protest. The station responded to a commenter with the following:

Greg is still here in the mornings, Cowboy Dave got promoted and is now on from 7-Midnight every night with The Bull After Dark and Corey is no longer with the station and we wish her the best.

Foley arrived at KILT with Thunder in November 2010.

Before that Foley handled morning drive at 95.7 KBWF (The Wolf) San Francisco. She was a veteran of The Dave Ryan Show at 101.3 KDWB Minneapolis, Kiss 105.3 in Gainesville and Wild 94.1 in Tampa. She is a gradate of the University of Florida.

*updated with Corey Foley response

- 950 KPRC schedule changes 2014
- 790 KBME goes live and local from 6 to 6

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

950 KPRC schedule changes 2014

New 950 KPRC schedule for April 2014 - with Joe Pags back in Houston and Michael Berry returning to KPRC

On the heels of schedule changes at 790 KBME, 950 KPRC announced via Facebook that it is also slightly shuffling its lineup.

Here is the new 950 KPRC schedule for April 2014:
Walton and Johnson 5:30a-10a
Glenn Beck 10a-Noon
Michael Berry on Noon-2p
Matt Patrick 2p-5p
Joe Pags 5p-8p
Outlaw Dave 8p-10p

The new schedule goes into effect Monday, April 28th.

This means that both Michael Berry and Joe Pags return to the big 9-5-0 after an absence. Pags was taken off the 950 morning show last year in April. Outlaw Dave moves to a later time slot again. So where does that leave former nooner Michael Garfield aka "The High Tech Texan?"

The station is quick to point out that Garfield is sticking with his technology based weekend show. As mentioned in the tweet, Garf has been around the station for a long time. He also has a Sunday show called ""

I hear that Garf might be expanding his radio empire sooner than later. As I've written before, Garfield is the technology correspondent for North Texas powerhouse WFAA (KHOU 11's DFW Gannett sister station).

Heck, I'm just waiting on Garf to return to TV with James Franco!

Monday, April 21, 2014

790 KBME goes live and local from 6 to 6

Sportstalk 790 KBME to adjust schedule and go live and local from 6am to 6pm

Sportstalk 790 KBME is shifting The Jay Mohr Show from mid-days to evenings, moving Matt Thomas to mid-days from early afternoons and giving Charlie Pallilo more time and an earlier start. Here is the full Clear Channel Houston press release:

790 KBME, Houston’s Home for Sports Talk, announced today that it will feature live and local programming from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. beginning Monday, The lineup will continue to feature the No. 1 morning sports show in Houston, The Proper Gentlemen with Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton from 6-9:00 a.m. and the No. 1 midday sports show, In the Trenches with Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu from 9-11:00 a.m. Matt Thomas moves to 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., The Drive Home with Charlie Pallilo moves to 2-6:00 p.m. and Jay Mohr will be featured at night from 6-9:00 p.m.

"Sportstalk 790 is constantly getting feedback from local sports fans regarding who and what they want to hear on Houston sports talk radio,” said Bryan Erickson, Director of AM Programming, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Houston. “They told us they wanted more of their favorite Sportstalk 790 hosts and that is why we are pleased to announce our new
lineup featuring live local sports talk all day, the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets and one of the funniest sports radio talents, Jay Mohr, at night.”

The KBME Sportstalk 790 programming line-up:
• The Proper Gentlemen with Lance Zierlein & Adam Clanton from 6-9:00 a.m.
• In the Trenches with Koch & Kalu from 9-11:00 a.m.
• The Matt Thomas Show from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
• The Drive Home with Charlie Pallilo 2-6:00 p.m.
• The Jay Mohr Show 6-9:00 p.m.

950 KPRC schedule changes 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Did KHOU 11 ride the ethics line to South Texas?

How a ride for a story subject from a KHOU 11 reporter has some other journalists seeing red

There are some Houston media folks who are a little upset about a recent story that spanned from the Houston area to Harlingen, TX and how they say one television station inserted itself too much into the equation.

It involves an alleged kidnapped teen girl who was taken to South Texas from Magnolia. Here is where the controversy starts, according to some media folks, as described in KHOU 11's own story:

The mom said she had no way of getting to Harlingen and asked KHOU 11 News Reporter Malini Basu for a ride. The trio picked up the girl at a police station early Thursday morning and then returned to Houston.

Malini Basu
Malini Basu
Complaints I received and posts on social media said this ride crossed the ethical line from "objectivity to advocacy." They add that by controlling the situation with a ride for the mother, the station was attempting to secure greater access and exclusive situations for its camera.

However other stations like KTRK abc13 did get an interview and video of the mom and daughter in Harlingen. You can see a channel 13 mic flag in KHOU's own video.

I am not a journalism ethics expert, so I turned to someone who is, The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online Al Tompkins.

"Why could cops not help the family," Tompkins asked in his response to

KHOU news director Philip Bruce explained in a statement to that it was not that simple:

The mother came to our reporter Malini Basu late yesterday, desperate to find a way to reach her daughter in South Texas, who was in CPS custody. The family told us no law enforcement or social service agency was volunteering to get her back home to Magnolia. The mom was frantic. She said they had no transportation or money to get to Harlingen. For whatever reason, she asked Malini if there was any way that we could help her. She came to us. We talked about it and decided that on a very human level, why shouldn’t we help if no one else would.

I told Malini we absolutely would not lock the mom and daughter away from other media---that’s not what this was. We disclosed immediately last night on social media that we were giving the mom a ride so everyone would know. We did the same thing when we were bringing them home this morning. We never told the mother not talk to other media---in fact, she talked to pretty much everyone on the phone and on camera when she got to Harlingen and then came home.

We got nothing more in Harlingen than anyone else when the mom and daughter were reunited. Everyone got the reunion and the return home. Everyone had a chance to talk to both of them. And everyone who wanted to interview and shoot pictures of them did.

That’s how we “inserted” ourselves as you describe it.

We all race to people’s homes when they face these tragedies and usually it’s all about showing their pain and misery and moving on. This time, a very sincere and desperate mother asked us to help. We stopped long enough to realize that giving her a ride was something a human being might do. We got no tangible competitive advantage from it—as I said, everyone got everything we got—or had the chance to. Everybody got the story just as quickly as we did. Did it compromise our objectivity---not unless you can imagine some positive reasons why a troubled child was abducted that we failed to report.

I’m not sure if the mom asked another reporter to help her. I am glad that we answered her plea, even if it made us a target for some. That’s their right to criticize. We did something real that made a huge difference for this family. I can tell you, when we look at that mom and daughter back together—we feel good. Sorry if others don’t.

Those out there in media land who were angry about the ride emailed me that other Houston stations have policies against this. So I asked KTRK abc13 and KPRC 2 if this is true. KTRK did not respond but KPRC did.

“We do not have a policy specific to that type of situation," Deborah Collura, Managing Director of News for KPRC-TV, told "We would look at everything on a case by case basis and do what’s best.”

My take is this is a murky situation. Television stations have helped out people for years. KTRK Consumer advocate Marvin Zindler built an entire station around this concept. You might argue that Zindler's work was not hard news like the case of a kidnapped girl.

Television news is usually criticized for exploiting people in the quest of the big get and ratings. Here is a case where a TV station helped out and got the story. I wasn't there on the ground obviously, but it seems like every other news crew got the story too, even if one of them provided a ride.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New York TV reporter reacts to KPRC 2 news clip

WPIX 11 reporter Mario Diaz comments on 1989 KPRC 2 newscast video

Last month I posted some Classic Houston TV news clips. One of those videos was of a 1989 KPRC 2 newscast. That clip sure caught the attention of reader and WPIX 11 reporter Mario Diaz (not the Director of the City of Houston Department of Aviation, although I hope he is a reader too).

Here is how Diaz remembered it in his email to me:

I'm based in New York City as a reporter / fill-in anchor for WPIX-TV. However, I spent several years of my youth living in Lake Jackson. This said, I grew up on Houston television. To this day, I have many fond memories of my time spent there.

I wanted to shoot you a note of appreciation for the old clips recently showcased on the blog. The one link from 5/89 generated much curiosity --- since I left the Houston area two weeks later when my parents were relocated to Las Vegas. Now, what makes that link even more personal is that Brazoswood High School was mentioned in the newscast regarding an undercover cop at the school and the arrest of 20+ students. Well, I was a junior at Brazoswood when it all went down. I remember it well since Lake Jackson was quaint and these arrests occurred at the height of 21 Jump Street's fame. We were all stunned at the students who got arrested and how it happened.

Well, I was on the train in NYC yesterday and I about fell over when I watched the link. I've shared that story with my wife in the past, so she was blown away in watching it yesterday.

Diaz tells me he still makes it back to Houston for both work and pleasure. While an anchor in Tampa, Diaz was one of the first journalists at the Astrodome to cover the New Orleans evacuees fleeing Katrina's aftermath.

As Texas TV staffers get ready to submit to the Lone Star EMMY Chapter, Diaz just celebrated a win at the New York Emmy Awards. Congrats!

As for Ken Kalthoff, the reporter forever frozen in time in the video embedded above, I found him at KXAS in Dallas-Fort Worth as a reporter.

Hilary Whittier sneaks into Fox 26 after WPIX NY

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

May TV sweeps story ideas 2014

Some of these television sweeps stories have never been done before

I think by now you realize I enjoy spotlighting some cliched TV sweeps ideas mixed in with some more serious ones. It's an added bonus for overworked television producers and reporters. However, the stories I've collected from real news sites for May 2014 are totally over the top.

If that's not enough, here are even more ideas of over the top sweeps ideas THAT HAVE APPARENTLY NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. These came from consulting with actual TV industry sources. We'll call it the dream file.

From the Chupacabra to the werewolf diet, these stories might have my readers rolling their eyes, but TV managers will probably eat them up. In fact, for February 2014 sweeps, some of my suggestions were used on Houston TV stations!

Child identity theft: Your child's ID is a big target
Child identity theft is a huge problem because it can go undetected for years. One study says 1 in 10 children have someone else using their Social Security number.

The Overprotected Kid
A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.
- Does a baby's name affect its chances in life?

Houston man claims he spotted Chupacabra
A true TV news classic! Man snaps several photos of animal in backyard of Doliver Point gated community. Is it really the chupacabra?

Adam Carolla, Podcasters Enlist Congress to Fight "Patent Trolls"
So why do I care about this story out of California? The lawsuit against podcaster Adam Carolla comes from Beaumont and could be very far reaching experts say.

Brazilian butt lifts top 2013 plastic surgeries
A list of 2013′s most popular cosmetic procedures shows that Brazilian butt lifts are quickly rising to the top. Could it be Kim Kardashian’s fault?

Women with persistent genital arousal disorder: 'People hear orgasm and they think it's a good thing'
Sufferers of PGAD can feel constantly on the brink of an orgasm. One thing they all share is pain, and distress at the way their condition is covered in the media

'Werewolf diet' attracts celebrities, critics
It's called the "Werewolf Diet." Celebrities such as Madonna and Demi Moore have reportedly followed it.

School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys
And efforts to re-engineer the young-male imagination are doomed to fail

Go Vegan For Your Sex Drive
6 Reasons Veganism Holds The Key For A Healthy Sex Life

New cosmetic cheek filler claims to last for years
Voluma XC, a Hyaluronic acid filler apparently lasts longer.

SkinPen Hailed as Newest Breakthrough in Anti-Aging Treatment
Step aside pricey wrinkle creams, and make room for the latest anti-aging product: the SkinPen.

Houston hookups
Hottest spots to find a fling - this one has never been done as far as I can tell.

Organizing your orgasm
The practical guide for sex and the busy mom - cannot find an instance of this being done yet.

Show us your dongle
For the techie types, how people are watching Internet TV using Google's Chromecast and other devices.

Houston's real Mad Men and Women
Who are the commercial mover and shakers in Houston [or insert your market]?

'Selfie' Trend Leads to More Plastic Surgery
The trend toward taking 'selfies' everywhere has resulted in an odd side effect, an increase in elective plastic surgery.

Is your child safe online?
Whether it's their cell phones or laptops, your child's favorite online apps could be putting them at risk.

- February TV sweeps story ideas 2014
- November TV sweeps story ideas 2013

Monday, April 14, 2014

From TV news to Houston parent news

KHOU 11's Len Cannon, Sasha & Bernadette Verzosa

When Bernadette Verzosa and her husband, KHOU 11 anchor Len Cannon, brought daughter Sasha, 6, into the world, the new mom did not expect to launch a parenting website.

"There was so much valuable 'playground chatter' information being passed from parent to parent that was not being recorded," Verzosa told "There were so many amazing family programs and kids’ classes around town that were not being documented or credited with their important impact."

So two years ago, Verzosa launched - The Sharing Tree, to help empower Houston parents with knowledge of everything relevant to family life.

Verzosa's background as a New York City TV special projects and news producer came in handy when creating a new website. But instead of covering the US military presence in the Philippines or travelling to Brazil to report on Carnival in Rio, this time her news gathering focused on parents and their kids.

"I wanted to create a website that was editorially driven - that means helpful articles and substantial information," Verzosa told me. "What I found in Houston were advertising-driven publications that looked like directories – they weren't publicizing some of the best family programs because the programs were not advertising with them.

"ParentsPost is in the style of old-fashioned newspapers with regard to valuable information and integrity. The articles are objective and well researched with interviews with parents and experts and sociological statistics and perspective. It’s not a personal blog - I write about everyone else’s opinions and family experiences – I rarely write about my own opinions or family experiences!"

Verzosa and Cannon met in New Orleans in the early 1990s. They later reconnected at the Atlanta Olympics. She was working at a local TV news station, he was covering the Olympics for NBC. They got married in 1997.

As you might imagine, having a former Dateline NBC correspondent and current Houston TV anchor nearby is a big plus.

"Len is Head Proof Reader of ParentsPost," Verzosa told me. "I’m always calling him to check articles for typos. But really, he helps me in all ways possible – with feedback, suggestions, and by sharing ParentsPost with the people he meets. Also, he takes care of our daughter when I have to work on weekends."

Having journalists for parents is also starting to rub off on the youngest Cannon.

"Sasha has told us she wants to run her own website when she grows up, and she wants to call it," Verzosa admits. "Of course, she amused us with these words, but as a journalist I’m especially glad Len was there and can corroborate my story!"

Mike McGuff talks H-Town parenting on KUHF's 'Houston Matters'