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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Natasha Barrett joins city of Baytown

Natasha Barrett joins city of Baytown as a Strategic Communications Manager after leaving abc13 KTRK


Former abc13 KTRK weekend anchor Natasha Barrett has joined the city of Baytown as a Strategic Communications Manager.

You might remember that Barrett left channel 13 back in April 2018 after four years.

Jane, a reader of mikemcguff.com, was kind enough to send me a copy of the Baytown Sun article that announced her hire (the paper is behind a paywall).

"Some have asked me why go from doing TV to Baytown," Barrett told Sun reporter Matt Hollis. "There are so many towns in this area, and I've covered them all, and saw where they could be growing, but there is leadership that is holding them back. But this place is so different."

Also hired with Barrett is director of public affairs Mark Miller. The article says Miller recently served as the media relations officer for the US Army in Wiesbaden, Germany.

As I've written in the past, Barrett returned to her hometown of Houston to work at KTRK in 2014. Before that she served eight years at WJLA in DC. There she hosted a daily show called Let's Talk Live. In addition to her own show, she contributed live reports to ABC 7 News.

Barrett also worked at WVEC Norfolk, KCEN Waco and KZTV Corpus Christi.




Thursday, November 15, 2018

InnovationMap launches from Gow Media

New Digital Media Outlet Covers Stories of Innovation in Houston


November 15, 2018 (Houston, TX) – Gow Media, a leading multi-platform media company that includes ESPN 97.5FM, SB Nation Radio, CultureMap and SportsMap, today launched a new digital media platform, Innovationmap.com. The content site will cover innovation spanning startups, tech, health, energy, social impact and more, and immediately becomes the leading online destination for stories of innovation in Houston.

“Houston is on a great trajectory,” said David Gow, CEO of Gow Media. “The efforts of many are coming together to develop a strong entrepreneurial and innovation economy. We think the time is right for a media outlet that focuses on innovation in Houston. We also want to highlight the vision of our presenting sponsor, BBVA Compass, a longtime leader in developing the innovation economy in Houston.”

“BBVA Compass has made its way to the front of the financial industry's digital revolution on the strength of its technology and its vision,” said BBVA Compass Houston CEO Mark Montgomery. “We embrace disruption, innovation and unique approaches that elevate vibrant cities like Houston. Highlighting these ideas through this new endeavor aligns perfectly with our mission.”

Gow Media has tapped Natalie Harms to serve as Houston Editor of InnovationMap.

Harms is a native Houstonian, graduate of the University of Houston, and worked for several years at the Houston Business Journal. In her new role, Harms will report to Arden Ward, Vice President of Editorial for Gow Media statewide.

Gow also announced that joining him on the board of InnovationMap will be Patrick Schneidau, a highly-regarded software executive and current chair of the Talent Committee of Houston Exponential; Jarred King, CEO of Swagger Agency and President of Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Houston; and Brad Deutser, President of Deutser LLC, a management consulting firm, and Deutser Clarity Institute, a think tank and learning lab, and author of the book Leading Clarity.

The new site launches with a strategic group of sponsors who have been leaders in developing Houston’s innovation economy. In addition to BBVA Compass as the presenting sponsor, other sponsors include Baker & Botts, Briggs & Vaselka, Accenture, Tony’s Restaurant, Murrah and Killough, Acme Party and Tents and others.

“We are grateful to these sponsors who have joined us here at the launch,” said Gow.

InnovationMap is the second recent addition to Gow Media’s ever-growing portfolio.

Last month, the company launched Giftingmap.com, a new ecommerce site, that is being marketed aggressively by Gow’s media platforms.

“With the growth of GiftingMap and SportsMap, and the impressive success of CultureMap, we are now in a position to launch InnovationMap. With InnovationMap, we are leveraging our digital platform, editorial approach, and our cross-platform promotional power to establish the leading voice for innovation in Houston,” said Gow.

About Gow Media
Gow Media, LLC is a multi-platform media company founded in 2007 and based in Houston. The company owns CultureMap, the leading online destination for lifestyle content in Texas; SportsMap, a leading sports site in Houston; GiftingMap, a new ecommerce site for gift-giving; two Houston sports stations, ESPN 97.FM and Sportsmap 94.1FM; and one of the country’s largest national sports radio networks, SB Nation Radio, which it runs in partnership with SBNation.com. Gow Media, LLC is backed by a private investment group with significant experience in media ownership. The investor group includes Steve Webster, co-manager and co-CEO of Avista Capital;
Patrick Dugan, vice president and general counsel of Nortex Corporation; and David Gow, chairman and CEO of Gow Media, LLC.

(This post taken from a release sent to me by Gow Media)


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Telemundo Houston takes home 15 Lone Star EMMYS


Telemundo Houston KTMD tells me it won the most Lone Star EMMYS of any other Houston television station regardless of language including the coveted News Excellence EMMY.

The total was 15:

News Excellence: “Telemundo Houston – Una Nueva Era En Noticias”

General Assignment Report - No Time Limit: “Contrato Espiritual”

Continuing Coverage - No Time Limit: “Harvey, La Catástrofe Que Sumió A Houston Bajo El Agua”

Promotion – Program: “Save The Puppies (And Kittens)”

Special Event Coverage (other than News or Sports): “Astros: Celebración Histórica”

Documentary – Topical: “Sin Voz: Animales Abandonados”

Feature News Report - Serious Feature / Series: “Harvey: Incertidumbre, agobio y dolor”

Specialty Assignment Report - News Single Story / Series / Feature: “Terrenos Ajenos”

Human Interest - News Single Story: “Nacimiento Sin Vida”

Human Interest - News Series: “Los Rostros De Harvey”

Business/Consumer - News Single Story / Series / Feature: “Obra Abandonada”

Crime - News Single Story / Series / Feature: “El Caso De Josue Flores”

Newscast - Weekend- Larger Markets (1-25): “Telemundo Houston Fin De Semana”

Journalistic Enterprise: “Responde: Periodismo De Investigación”

Investigative report – Single Story: “Paradero Desconocido”

See all of the winners here.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

iHeartMedia Houston and the Houston Astros extend partnership

Games To Air On Sportstalk 790 AM And KTRH 740 AM


Houston, Texas – Nov 12, 2018 – iHeartMedia Houston and the Houston Astros today announced a continuation of their long-term partnership to keep Sportstalk 790 AM, Houston's Live & Local Sports Talk radio station, as the home of the Houston Astros.

Astros fans will continue to hear all regular and post season games, in addition to pre-game, post-game as well as all other Astros’ related programming on Sportstalk 790 AM. In addition, all the games will also broadcast on 94.5 HD channel 2 and many of the games will be simulcast on KTRH AM 740 and 99.1 HD channel 2.

“We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the World Series Champion, Houston Astros, said iHeart Radio Region President Eddie Martiny. Sports Talk 790 will continue as the radio flagship station, and we are proud to be simulcasting games on KTRH 740 AM, one of the most powerful radio stations in America. The future for iHeartMedia and the Houston Astros is very bright, we look forward to celebrating our next World Series championship.

The Astros and iHeartMedia have enjoyed a 20-year partnership, bringing Astros games to the Houston airwaves since 1999.

“The iHeartMedia Houston team has been a great partner to us, and we’re excited to continue our relationship,” said Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan. “Now, Astros fans can listen to game broadcasts on 740 KTRH and 790 KBME, helping us reach fans with a better signal throughout the region.”

The Astros open the 2019 regular season on the road against the Tampa Rays on Thursday, March 28. Their first spring training game is set for Saturday, February 23.

“We’re thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with the Astros. We look forward to another World Series run this coming season and beyond,” said Bryan Erickson, Director of AM Programming, iHeartMedia Houston.

Sportstalk 790 AM is also the radio home for the Houston Rockets as well as The University of Texas football and basketball.


Full Programming Lineup:
“The Josh Innes Show” 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
“In the Trenches with Koch & Kalu” 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
“The Matt Thomas Show” 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
“The Sean Salisbury Show” 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

iHeartMedia Houston has a strong cross-platform presence and includes a number of iconic brands and franchises – both broadcast and digital – including SUNNY 99.1, 94.5 The Buzz, 93.7 The Beat, KISS FM, Newsradio 740 KTRH, AM 950 KPRC and SportsTalk 790 – and produces legendary marquee events including Buzzfest and The Houston Beat Bash.

iHeartMedia is a leading media outlet in the Houston market and its content is available across multiple platforms, including its broadcast station; online via its branded digital site; mobile; and social, with nationwide listening through iHeartRadio, the all-in-one streaming music and live radio service – with its more than 2 billion downloads and 121 million registered users.

About iHeartMedia Houston
iHeartMedia Houston owns and operates KBME-AM, KISS-FM, KQBT-FM, KODA-FM, KPRC-AM, KTBZ-FM, KTRH-AM), and is part of iHeartMedia. iHeartMedia is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including 850 live broadcast stations; streaming music, radio and on demand via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher globally. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.

(This post taken from a release sent to me by iHeartMedia Houston)


Dave Ward announces new book 'Good Evening, Friends'

Longest running local TV news anchor to release historic memoir


Houston, TX – Bright Sky Publishing is delighted to announce the April 2019 publication of Good Evening, Friends, a memoir of Houston’s iconic and beloved Eyewitness news anchor Dave Ward.

Mr. Ward, who first joined ABC’s KTRK-Channel 13 in 1966, today hosts “Dave Ward’s Houston,” a series on ABC13 that explores the people, places and events that make this city so special. Ward, known for being “the most trusted voice in Houston,” held the Guinness World Records title as the longest running local TV-news anchor at the same TV station in a major market.

Working with Jim McGrath, co-author of numerous high-profile memoirs, Ward shares the full depth of his notable experience. In fascinating detail, he:

  • Covers his legendary 60-year career as radio and TV newsman in Houston – dating back to before the JFK assassination
  • Takes readers on the news set and behind the scenes of America’s most successful local news team, including his personal history with Marvin Zindler
  • Chronicles the growth and development of the U.S. space program
  • Invites readers to experience life on the road with Houston Oilers during the “Luv Ya Blue” era
  • Provides candid revelations of his personal struggles
  • Shares his escapes from death, including 1974 motorcycle crash, 2003 car crash and 2016 heart attack

In addition to his experience covering wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, presidential elections and historic natural disasters, Ward provides Houstonians with an understanding of the booms and busts on the way to becoming America’s fourth largest and most diverse city.

In addition to his news career, Ward played an instrumental role in establishing Houston Crime Stoppers, the city’s top non-profit dedicated to public safety. In 2017 the organization opened a three-story 28,000 square foot building named after the former ABC13 anchor. The facility, titled "Dave Ward Building, Crime Stoppers of Houston," serves as a central hub for Crime Stoppers operations, volunteers, staff, victims, law enforcement, media and community programming.

This long-awaited book, with a foreword by former President George H.W. Bush, captures the heart of Houston and the man who has told its stories, investigated its problems and presented news in a clear and unbiased way over 70 years of constant change.

Good Evening, Friends Bright Sky Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-942945-76-5 Available April 2019
6” x 9”, b/w, 400 pp, $29.95

“Dave Ward, as long as I can recall, has been one of the most trusted figures I have ever seen on television. You couldn’t find anyone who exuded more integrity and goodwill on a community than Dave has done for all those years in Houston. He really has been that trusted face and voice in that great city for so long — longer than anyone who has been behind an anchor desk. Good Evening, Friends helps you understand how and why." ~CBS Sports Anchor Jim Nantz

“What Dave Ward did was more than read news. He became like your next-door neighbor in your home. Every night, at 6 and 10, he was literally in your living room — there for everyone. With his ‘Good evening, friends,’ he was the person you simply came to trust. So when it came to what was happening in the city of Houston that was newsworthy, Dave Ward was there to tell you. Anyone can talk into a microphone, but few can do it in a way that makes you trust them. Dave had that gift, and he still does.”
~Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

About Jim McGrath:
Jim McGrath started his writing career at The White House, working as a staff writer and editor in the Executive Office of the President from 1991 to 1993. Today, he continues to serve President George H. W. Bush as his post-White House spokesman. Simon & Schuster published Jim’s first book, Heartbeat: George Bush in His Own Words in 2001. Most recently, McGrath co-wrote former Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher, Sr.'s family memoirs Going to Windward, which Texas A&M University Press published in 2010.

Houston Non-Profit Publishing, dba Bright Sky Publishing, is a non-profit organization founded in 2017 to continue the legacy of Bright Sky Press, a pioneer in quality Texas trade publishing. The Bright Sky mission is to document the richness of our region by publishing books of the highest quality. We collaborate with our authors and illustrators to preserve our history, celebrate our unique culture and articulate our collective concerns. We wish to use our talents to serve our community, so many of our books raise funds and awareness for specific causes. Above all, we seek to share what we love most about the diverse, positive and creative place we call home.

Bright Sky Publishing, 2365 Rice Blvd. #202, Houston, TX 77005 brightskypublishing.org.

(This post taken from a release by Bright Sky Publishing)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Samica Knight returns to abc13 KTRK


A lot of channel 13 viewers have been asking me "Where is Samica Knight on abc13 KTRK?"

It's been a few weeks since Knight was on air and her loyal viewers were getting concerned.

Well this morning, the popular AM anchor was back on channel 13 and posted on Facebook about the rough time she has been having in her absence.

Thank you for your prayers. 🙏🏾
I have hyperemisis gravidarum. I was throwing up 8 times a day, dangerously dehydrated, lost 15lbs in a few weeks, hospitalized multiple times and was *way too early in my pregnancy to talk about it*. The baby is great. Mom is now on the mends. Whew! I’m so glad I can say it now!
Hyperemisis is the worst and most severe case of pregnancy sickness. You may remember Dutchess Kate Middleton was hospitalized with it. It only affects about 5,900 women every year and ... well... guess who was lucky enough to have it:) I feel blessed to be feeling better. Love you guys.




Friday, November 09, 2018

Don Kobos honored in Lone Star EMMY Chapter Silver Circle

Former abc13 KTRK journalist Don Kobos to be inducted in the Lone Star EMMY Chapter's Silver Circle


Former abc13 KTRK reporter, and later assistant news director, Don Kobos, made sure his journalism career was rich and vast.

During his 40 year career, 32 of those years with channel 13 in Houston, Kobos not only distinguished himself for his reporting, but also his newsroom leadership community involvement.

This weekend, Kobos will be recognized by the Lone Star EMMY Chapter as he is inducted into the Silver Circle for 2018. That means he has devoted a quarter of a century or more to the television industry and made a significant contribution to broadcasting.

"It’s a wonderful honor a recognition from my contemporaries," Kobos told mikemcguff.com. "I’m truly humbled."

In 2017, Univision 45 KXLN news director Martha C. Kattan was inducted into the Silver Circle. As far as fellow KTRK colleagues, Dave Ward was inducted in 2011.

These days, Kobos is retired and recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but that has not slowed him down.

He has trained his Labrador retriever, Maggie Rose, to be a therapy dog. Now Kobos and Maggie visit nursing homes, schools and hospitals throughout greater Houston several times a month.

Since no longer covering the courts, Kobos also served on a Harris County criminal grand jury for three months.

Currently, he's also filling his time writing a broadcast news textbook for college students dealing with everyday ethical issues facing broadcast news managers.

So does he miss the daily grind of the TV news biz?

"For forty years I faced three to four deadlines a day," Kobos said. "It’s a job where you are always on the clock checking newspapers, magazines or meeting viewers who give you ideas and now there is the internet. I enjoyed it, but glad I have time now to read a book for example."

Kobos is one of those journalists who wasn't born in Houston, but sure made it is home.

Television news wasn't even his first career choice.

While attending Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on a football scholarship, the Salem, Massachusetts native earned a bachelors and masters degree while spending his summers working on the docks of Boston as a lobsterman.

After teaching junior and senior high school for two years, as well as coaching, Kobos decided a career change was in order.

"I was head coach of a Virginia high school team and only won one game and lost nine," he admitted. "I knew it wasn’t for me."

So he pivoted into the world of television news, something he always wanted to do in the back of his mind.

His first job was in 1974 at WGHP High Point, North Carolina as a film photographer. Three months later, he was gathering information, shooting film, editing and reporting.

His next stop was WWBT Richmond, Virginia, as the city hall reporter four days a week and sports anchor on the weekends.

In 1978, Kobos joined WRAL Raleigh, North Carolina where he concentrated full-time on hard news. As the station's investigative reporter, Kobos would learn that hard-hitting reporting can lead to death threats.

After reporting on the North Carolina vehicle inspections program, Kobos uncovered how dozens of inspectors were approving deficient vehicles. The Governor called for a state wide investigation.

Then the call came into the newsroom threatening Kobos for reporting the story.

"The police drove by my house that entire night," he recalled. "As you can imagine my wife was nervous."

The other investigations he recalls from that time of his career:
- Uncovering the illegal use of state telephones to conduct political campaigns.
- Investigating the illegal use of state helicopters by the Secretary of Commerce who used the helicopters to fly him to and from his home everyday over 60 miles each way.
- Spending six months analyzing 1,500 felony cases in the Wake County courts for trends on how judges treated different crimes.
- Exposing the low graduation rates of scholarship football and basketball student athletes from the five major universities in North Carolina.


In 1982, Houston came calling where Kobos would find his last television home for the next 32 years at KTRK.

"I knew KTRK had a great reputation, but when I visited, they told me about Marvin Zindler, but never showed me Marvin's stories," Kobos remembered. "So the first day here, I watched the 6pm news and there was Marvin.... I was stunned. I ran to the phone and called my wife in North Carolina and said, 'We made a mistake!' Of course I didn’t. I just had never seen anyone like Marvin Zindler."

Kobos ended up covering everything from crime, the Texas prison system, police, education to city and state government.

Some of those highlights include:
- Recognition by the State Bar of Texas (1982) for a series of reports on the death penalty.
- Filing a lawsuit in federal court (1984) to allow TV cameras in the Texas execution chamber. His action triggered a national debate on lethal injection and recording executions.
- A series of reports (1983) showing how few Southwest Conference University scholarship football players graduated with degrees.

Kobos also had his passion projects that he worked on while away from channel 13.

He wrote an article which appeared in the Houston City Magazine chronicling his year long investigation into the death of football player Paul Gipson.

Gipson played in the NFL four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots. Before that, the Native Texan played for the University of Houston. According to his Wikipedia page, Gipson was one of the first black athletes recruited by UH.

Ironically, Kobos played against Gibson in the Astrodome while at Wake Forest in 1967. The two later reconnected 18 years later in a Texas prison unit while Gipson was serving time on drug charges.

With sports still in his blood, Kobos also served as color-analyst for Rice University's football radio broadcast from 1988 to 1991. At the same time, he even found the time to write an award winning weekly sports and education newspaper column, "Play-It S.A.F.E./Student-Athletes For Education," published in 15 Houston area weekly newspapers

"I was a student athlete in high school and college, I wanted to pass along to younger student athletes things I learned the hard way," Kobos recalled. "So when I did one of those stories for the KTRK news shows, I stock piled over 15 of them and thought, 'Why not write in a newspaper about these people and provide tips and pointers in one of the weekly papers?' I spoke with our news director at the time, Jim Topping, who said go ahead."

The educator in Kobos clearly never left. He wend on to write and solicit funding for an award study skills booklet. The 110,000 copies were printed in English, Spanish and Braille and distributed free to Houston area middle school students.

Outside of his channel 13 television work, Kobos also hosted an award winning series of ten, two-hour long Town Hall meeting programs (1989-91) sponsored by Houston's PBS station KUHT. The award winning series explored topics such as crime, police brutality, health care, and public school education.

Even with his extra projects outside of abc13, Kobos also believed in giving back to the community.

"The vehicles I found were different and unconventional, but because of my job and the contacts I made, worked for me," Kobos said. "These projects I was able to complete, I couldn’t have done in other cities. I found Houston and the many people here had a 'can do' attitude about so many things. I think of the history of this city and the people who lived and worked here, like building a Ship Channel from Galveston to the east side of Houston or building an indoor air conditioned baseball/football stadium, the Astrodome. I wasn’t afraid to ask."

Other Houston community volunteering efforts Kobos was involved with:
- A Rotarian (Rotary Club of Houston) 1987-96.
- An executive board member for ten years on the Lombardi College Lineman of the Year Award benefiting the American Cancer Society 1987-96.
- An executive board member on the Houston Dyslexia Society 1990-94.
- Served as chairman (1997) of the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award. The event raised $121,000 for the American Heart Association.

The newsman also served as a visiting professor teaching news writing at Houston Baptist University in 1997 and 2000.

In August of 2000, after 26 years of reporting, Kobos moved from in front of the camera into a management role at KTRK.

Through the next 14 years, while running the day to day news operation, he helped KTRK maintain its dominance in the local ratings. During that time KTRK was recognized twice as the best news operation by the Lone Star Emmy awards.

Congrats Don Kobos!



Thursday, November 08, 2018

Why Ilona Carson is no longer on the 10pm news

Ilona Carson has left the abc13 KTRK 10pm news


After five years, Ilona Carson has left the abc13 KTRK 10pm newscast.

And now you might be saying, "McGuff, this happened back in September, why are you telling us this now you way behind hack!?"

Well, lately I've been getting viewer emails and tips that Carson had departed "13 Eyewitness News at 10PM" and just found out the longtime anchor had posted about it in early September!

Celebrating my last late night with the fabulous 10pm team! I’ve been on the late shift for 5 years and I’m so excited to be making a small change. I’ll be headed home in time for homework, dessert and story time! You’ll still see me at 4 and 6:30pm, and on our fun new 3pm show starting Monday as well. In the meantime, keep tuning in to my newsroom BFFs ABC13-Gina Gaston and ABC13-Erik Barajas at 10pm every night!

I checked the date of her post, September 5th, and recall my sorry state at the time. That was the week I was high on cold medicine and not really checking the internet.

Last week, I tuned in on Halloween I believe and saw Carson which confused me. Well, she was just filling in.

So there you go, sorry for missing this, but I'm sure Carson's family is happy to have her home in the evening.




Texas Radio Hall of Fame 2018 highlight videos


The Texas Radio Hall of Fame has announced its class of 2018 and they have been inducted into the Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications in Kilgore.

On the click, watch the highlight video for each new member's career!