Sunday, January 22, 2017

Luke Bryan to sing National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI on FOX

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Country music superstar LUKE BRYAN will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI pregame festivities at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, February 5, the NFL and FOX announced today. The performance will be televised live on FOX prior to kickoff.​

The Super Bowl is annually the most-watched television program. Bryan’s performance of the National Anthem in Houston will be his first time appearing on the Super Bowl stage.

Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and has hosted the ACM Awards for four consecutive years. Since the debut of his first album in 2007, he has placed 17 singles at No.1 and sold nearly eight million albums. His fifth studio album, Kill The Lights, is certified Platinum and has sold 3.5 million tracks with over 400 million streams.

Bryan joins the ranks of many great performers who have sang the Super Bowl National Anthem including: Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel, Renée Fleming, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick, Jr., Garth Brooks, Natalie Cole, Vanessa Williams, Luther Vandross, Cher, Faith Hill, Mariah Carey, Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé Knowles, Christina Aguilera and many more. (A complete list of National Anthem performers from past Super Bowls is listed below.)

In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), actor KRISTON LEE PUMPHREY will perform in American Sign Language both the National Anthem and “America The Beautiful”.

The NFL previously announced that LADY GAGA, who performed the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl 50, will headline the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show. The pregame and halftime shows are an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and will be executive produced by RICKY KIRSHNER.

See performers over the years


Country music superstar Luke Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. He has hosted the ACM Awards for four consecutive years. Since the debut of his first album in 2007 he has placed 17 singles at No.1 and sold nearly eight million albums. His fifth studio album, Kill The Lights, is certified Platinum and has sold 3.5 million tracks with over 400 million streams. The album debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top 200 (his third to do so) and Top Country Albums charts, and contains five consecutive No 1 hits- so far.

His concert tours have consistently sold out shows across North America including many NFL Stadiums like the Patriot’s Gillette Stadium where Luke played back-to back sold out concerts last summer. Luke has also sold out Chicago’s Soldier Field, Cleveland’s First Energy Stadium, the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Ford Field in Detroit, the home of the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, and Levi Stadium in San Francisco. His 2015 tour played for 1.5 million fans and in 2016 he entertained 1.6 million fans on his “Kill The Lights Tour.” That tour continues this spring with a new tour planned for the summer.


Kriston Lee Pumphrey is a performing artist who is working as a news anchor at the Deaf Professional Arts Network (DPAN-TV). Kriston Lee graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2009 with a degree in business and communication. Kriston Lee co-founded ColorFest, a Deaf LGBT leadership conference for college students that is hosted both at Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Kriston Lee is involved in various community related advocacy work and currently serves on the board of a D.C. based nonprofit organization that strives to end sexual assault and domestic violence within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

(This post was taken from a release sent to me by the NFL)

Key of “Key & Peele” to host NFL Honors Feb. 4 at Wortham Theater

Annual Awards Show to Take Place at Wortham Theater Center in Houston on Eve of Super Bowl LI

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Keegan-Michael KeyPhoto Credit: Matt Hoyle

KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY, Emmy-award winning actor, writer and creator, will take the stage as host of NFL HONORS on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston. The two-hour primetime awards special recognizing the NFL’s best players, performances and plays from the 2016 season will air nationally at 8 PM ET/PT on FOX.

Key is the co-creator and co-star of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” with Jordan Peele. The show won the 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, with Key being individually nominated for acting and co-writing with Peele. Key was previously nominated for five Emmy Awards for his work on the show, as well as a 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. “Key & Peele” won a 2014 Peabody Award and an American Comedy Award for Best Alternative Comedy Series. The show has become a TV and viral sensation, with 15 total Emmy® nominations and approaching a billion cumulative online hits. The series concluded its five season run in September 2015.

Key can currently be seen in John Hamburg’s comedy Why Him? in which he stars alongside James Franco, Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally. 20th Century Fox released the film on December 23. Earlier in the year, he starred in in Mike Birbiglia's critically acclaimed Don't Think Twice, which premiered at this year's South by Southwest and Tribeca Film Festivals, and was widely regarded as one of the best films of 2016. He also co-starred and produced Warner Brothers’ Keanu, alongside Jordan Peele.

Keegan recently wrapped production on Nick Stoller’s comedy series “Friends from College” that will premiere on Netflix later this year.

Music for the show will be performed by vocalist-instrumentalist SPENCER LUDWIG. The trumpeter, singer, producer and dancer was the lyrical lead trumpeter for the multiplatinum-selling indie pop act, Capital Cities and toured on Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour. In April of 2015, Ludwig signed a worldwide record deal as a solo artist with Warner Bros. Records.

“NFL Honors,” which debuted in Indianapolis in 2012, is an annual event hosted from the Super Bowl city the evening before the AFC and NFC champions meet. Key joins ALEC BALDWIN, SETH MEYERS and CONAN O’BRIEN on the list of award-winning celebrities to host the NFL’s awards show.

The show includes the announcement of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS’ annual accolades and the newest PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME class. Preceding FOX’s telecast, NFL Network will air “Super Bowl Saturday Night” at 7 PM ET covering all the sights and sounds from the Red Carpet presented by VISA at NFL Honors.

The full list of awards that will be presented is:

AP Most Valuable Player
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year presented by Nationwide
AP Coach of the Year
AP Comeback Player of the Year presented by McDonald’s
AP Offensive Player of the Year presented by Microsoft
AP Defensive Player of the Year presented by Old Spice
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year

FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year Fantasy Player of the Year
Courtyard’s Greatness on the Road Award
Salute To Service Award presented by USAA
Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
Deacon Jones Award
Castrol EDGE Clutch Performer of the Year
Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year

“NFL Honors” is an NFL Network production in association with Rock Garden Media. For more information about “NFL Honors” fans may visit and follow the #NFLHonors conversation on Twitter.

(This post was taken from a release sent to me by the NFL)

Friday, January 20, 2017

KTRK abc13 dominated January 2017 flood coverage


The overnight results (provided to me by KTRK) from the January 18, 2017 flood event show abc13 winning the Live Same Day Nielsen ratings in every time slot for the Adults 25-54 and Women 25-54 demographics.

Some hours, channel 13 had a very healthy lead over all the other Houston TV stations.

KTRK delivered wall-to-wall coverage starting at four that morning, going all the way through noon.

CBS Radio Houston throws free concert with Jake Owen, The Last Bandoleros and more

CBS RADIO Houston and BBVA Compass have teamed up to host “Live Bright Bash,” a free stadium party for city ambassadors and volunteers during football’s biggest celebration on Saturday, January 21, 2017, beginning at 4:30 PM at BBVA Compass Stadium. Featuring live music and speeches from city leaders and radio hosts, the inaugural event hopes to inspire the community to welcome visitors and encourage local volunteerism of the Big Game.

Musical performances will include country artist Jake Owen, The Last Bandoleros, Houstonian and The Voice finalist RaeLynn, Tyler Dial, and 80s Tribute Band “Jessie’s Girl.” BBVA Compass brand ambassador, national television personality and lifestyle expert Sandra Lee will also be making special appearances throughout the program.

Over 20,000 free tickets have been distributed to local organizations, ambassadors and volunteers. Mayor Sylvester Turner is scheduled to open the festivities and will speak to the importance of local volunteerism and the role of ambassadors in welcoming our new friends from other cities. Radio personalities from KILT-FM, KHMX-FM, KLOL-FM, and KILT-AM will be on hand to reinforce the Live Bright message, including BBVA Compass’ 10 Bright Principles.

Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President/Market Manager, CBS RADIO Houston said, “As our number one job is to serve the community, this is our way to do that. Houstonians step up every time they are asked to donate their time and money to great causes. Over the next two weeks over 10,000 volunteers will give their time to welcome visitors to our city and help them explore Houston; this is our way to thank them.”

“BBVA Compass is invested in Houston’s bright future, especially when the light shines brightest on our communities,” added BBVA Compass Chief Marketing and Digital Sales Officer Jennifer Dominiquini. “We’re celebrating Houston and the people who make it one of the greatest places to live during one of the most significant times in the city’s history. Before the world descends on us, we want to show appreciation to the place we call home.”

Last chance opportunity for tickets to the event will take place on Saturday at 3:00 PM at the Northeast gate located at BBVA Compass Stadium. The first 500 will receive a pair of tickets and wristbands into the bull pen at the front of stage. Information on the Live Bright Bash and how to secure tickets can be found here.

(This post was taken from a release sent to me by CBS Radio)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rucks Russell leaves KHOU 11

After a decade plus, KHOU 11 reporter Rucks Russell leaves TV for new chapter

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Reporter Rucks Russell has worked at KHOU 11 so long, that at the time of his Houston arrival, I wasn't even blogging that seriously about the comings and goings of TV reporters!

Good thing Isiah "Factor" Carey wrote a post about Russell's arrival back in 2006.

Tonight we learn that Russell is leaving the TV news world for something just as high-profile in its own way. According to a tweet, Russell reveals he will be the new Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in Washington DC.

According to his bio, Russell also worked in Raleigh, N.C., Richmond, Va., Washington, D.C., Orlando, Fla., and Roanoke, Va.

He received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. He also studied abroad in Besancon, France.

KHOU reporter Grace White gave Russell a big cookie send off.

(Thanks Taylor)

KHOU 11 is first Houston TV station to use drone

Drone 11 debuted on KHOU during this week's Houston flood coverage

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In today's world orange is the new black, energy drinks are the new soft drinks and drones are the new TV news choppers?

Well, I wouldn't go that far, but drones are hot right now and it's no surprise that they are finding their way into TV news coverage.

Enter Drone 11.

KHOU 11 introduced the latest tool in its news-gathering arsenal yesterday during the latest flood event.

"Drone photography is a wonderful new way to enhance our storytelling capabilities and KHOU is very proud to be the first television station in Houston to deploy a drone in the newsgathering process," KHOU 11 President & General Manager Susan McEldoon told

So now anytime there is a situation that calls for it, the station tells me its staff of trained photojournalists can utilize Drone 11.

"We identified a number of individuals that had the interest and skill in learning," McEldoon told me. "We provided in-station training and they all had to take the FAA test to become licensed. Once licensed we conducted “hands-on” training for them to learn how to operate the drone."

I'm sure the channel 11 staff can handle Drone 11 better than my son and I can fly consumer grade ones! We both need that training!

McEldoon adds that all of the TEGNA stations are or will be using drones in the future.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New KPRC building moves channel 2 into 21st century

MIKEMCGUFF.COM EXCLUSIVE: As the first new TV station to be built in Houston since the 1990s, KPRC is building for the future of TV and employee happiness - get your first look

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Dave Strickland and Jerry Martin in new KPRC 2 newsroom SEE MORE PHOTOS

As I followed KPRC 2 VP/General Manager Jerry Martin through the hallways of the Graham Media Group station's future home, it became apparent that he has paid close attention to every little detail.

"Yeah, it's taken up a lot of extra time every day," Martin told "So there's a lot on the general manager to get it done and get it done on time, on budget, etc. So it's my baby, yeah."

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Still required to wear hardhats, the tour of Martin, news director Dave Strickland and myself encountered busy construction workers in practically every nook and cranny of the building site.

A representative from DPR Construction told me it has around 100 staffers working on the new 65,000 square foot station, being built directly behind KPRC's soon-to-be old building in the former parking lot. The current station has been there since the early 1970s.

"It was a great building, and I'm not trying to say anything about the architecture or this building, but it just doesn't lend itself to 2016 broadcasting," Martin admitted. "So, normally I think what would've happened is we would've just rehabbed this building, done a serious rehab. And we looked at that. But at the end of the day, we ended up with, a better building, but not a great building. And when we looked at building one in our own parking lot and we did the math on it, the difference between rehabbing this one the correct way and a new building, it wasn't too much of a difference."

And 2016 broadcasting means lots of computer servers and thousands of cable runs. The new building keeps all of that in mind, plus growth for KPRC's digital strategies with two control rooms and studios.

Then there is the employee morale factor.

The current KPRC newsroom looks like a bunker. That's because it was the home of the NBC affiliate's newscasts from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. As a result there could be no windows. Once the news set was moved back to its own studio, the news department now lives in a big gray room with fluorescent lighting. A few artifacts from the old set remain. One employee joked to me it was hard to tell when Hurricane Ike was actually hitting the building with its Brutalist architecture fortress motif.

"In our present newsroom, you wouldn't know if you're working the midnight shift or if you're working at four o'clock in the afternoon," Martin said. "So, I think for employee morale, it'll be a big deal."

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The new KPRC newsroom will be all about light and have an open concept feel similar to what you would think of an internet company. But like those dot com companies, I'm doubting there will be a foosball table and beer pong area...after all it is still a news operation! And forget about fluorescent lighting - the new station is all LED.

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Balcony (inside view) SEE MORE PHOTOS

Part of the little details that Martin pointed out to me were an upstairs balcony in the sales department where all employees can get sun light and fresh air. It's an idea Martin had from living in a condo with a big balcony.

"It's a good option for people on both floors, second floor or first floor to get outside, but not be in an enclosed space where, if it rains or happens to rain, you're not going to get rained on at all," Martin explained.

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Old and new buildings with tower SEE MORE PHOTOS

That balcony has a covered walkway jutting out of it for employees coming to/leaving work from the parking lot. Then it donned on me. How many TV stations have I ever been to that have covered employee walkways? Not many.

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The central area SEE MORE PHOTOS

Next, what Martin calls, "the wow factor." The central part of the building could be called the Times Square of KPRC where all department wings come together in a lounge area enclosed by a grand staircase. Not only is this interior part the center of the station's universe, but much like Times Square, it also has some dazzle. A giant illuminated seven foot KPRC 2 logo will adorn the wall. Martin says employees can work, meet and socialize here.

KPRC management hopes the openness and flow of the new building will lead to collaboration between employees, because unlike the current building, someone from one department could actually run into someone from another. They realized the benefit of department-wide collaboration during the station's annual Habitat for Humanity community building project.

"You end up talking and working with people that you don't necessarily see on a day-to-day basis," KPRC news director Dave Strickland told "And it's really nice, and I think that's what makes this place so unique."

Bottom line, beyond the need for technical upgrades, station management thinks the new building will help keep good employees and attract new ones. Especially as KPRC 2 has steadily moved up in the TV ratings over the last years and has good momentum going forward.

"It's a competitive business, and I think if people are considering Houston as a place to work in the TV business, that's an advantage that we're gonna have," Martin told me. "And we think we have an advantage as it is because we have a very solid management team. And we've got continuity going back now that we didn't have when I got here. We've got much better communication throughout the building, and I think this will just enhance that when we get there."

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As the station opens a new chapter with its new building, it closes another as it will demolish the long-time current building. It's location will become the parking lot. I'm told the iconic KPRC tower that decorates the I-69/Highway 59 corridor will remain. A tall vertical KPRC sign will cover the front left side of the new gray and black building.

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The new studio SEE MORE PHOTOS

March is the projected time for the first wave of staffers to move into the new building. Houston TV viewers will probably actually see a newscast from the new station in April. Martin told there will be a brand new set too. Don't ask me for details on how that will look since the studio is still under construction. There wasn't even a hint of a set in the room yet.

Meanwhile, excited KPRC employees will have to wait for their move-in day and continue parking in temporary lots. Minor discomfort aside, staffers still work interrupted in their current building and then get a chance to work in the first new television station built in Houston since FOX moved KRIV to its new studio in the 1990s.

"The statement that Graham's making and that Emily [Barr] (President & Chief Executive Officer of Graham Media Group) was making is Houston is a very important part of our station group," Martin added. "And that they're investing in the future, and they believe in broadcasting."

- FULL COVERAGE: New KPRC 2 studio building for 2017
- KPRC 2 to get a new station, plus secret of current building
- KPRC 2 new studio construction begins


KPRC channel 2 and AM were originally on Post Oak near where the Williams Tower stands today. Former 950 KPRC employee, Jim Bell, told me the old spot was actually across the street by the lake where Hidalgo and Richmond sit today.

Bill Bremer sent me this photo.

Gary Griffin of Retronuvo Media adds that KPRC's original building was a Quonset hut down Loop 610 West behind what is now the giant Houston Community College (HCC) building. That was back when the call letters were KLEE-TV.

Monday, January 16, 2017

PICS: FOX 26 KRIV debuts new set 2017

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It's a new set for 2017 for FOX 26 KRIV. As I wrote last month, FOX 26 started construction at the end of 2016 and temporarily moved its newscast to its newsroom set.

The new set debuted this morning at 4am.

Here are some facts about the new set sent to me by FOX Television Stations:

· KRIV’s 5,568 square foot main studio underwent a transformation and now features the latest technology for dynamic storytelling and engagement with our viewers. Our team is removed from the traditional anchor desk and positioned at a 360 degree anchor station in the set’s center. From there, our standing-only anchors will be dispatched to multi-purpose venues which include more than 26 monitors, including a larger than life video wall. The new set represents the intersection of broadcast and social media platforms with touchscreens and a social media monitor allowing us to engage with our social audience on air as well as on-line platforms.

· As the “Gulf Coast Weather Authority,” Fox 26 now has the latest in state-of-the-art weather technology for the most comprehensive view of weather in the Houston area, which experiences severe weather, including hurricanes. Our meteorologists can engage socially with real time and impact weather conditions and can display video and photos from our Fox 26 social media users almost immediately. Our state-of-the-art Max graphics and hyper-local Foxrad display of radar can pinpoint the most severe weather and track storms minute by minute. Our new complete weather 3D interactive images of Houston will be used for the forecast maps and can be localized to individual towns, which will give us a hyper-local edge.

· Finally, our new Fox 26 set using energy-efficient LEDs has a variety of lighting patterns which change depending on the time of day such as morning and evening newscasts. It also has a unique glass-enclosed green room located right in the studio. The set, created by the Devlin Design Group and the Fox 26 team, is modern and bold and creates a new experience for our viewers.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

“Houston In Black And White” to air on Houston Public Media TV 8 #HouBW

TV special to explore issues facing black and white communities in Houston

HOUSTON – (Jan. 9, 2017) – Houston Public Media is exploring the issues that face black and white communities in Houston during a 60-minute TV special, “Houston In Black And White,” that airs on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. on TV 8. The show will explore who we are, how we arrived here and what we can do to move forward into a future of healing, equality and growth. Click here for a preview.

Co-hosts Ernie Manouse, arts and culture senior producer for Houston Public Media, and Eddie Robinson, News 88.7 “Morning Edition” news anchor, guide in-depth discussions with four civil rights activists and thinkers from Houston on topics ranging from racism and Affirmative Action to police and the media. The show opens with a message from Mayor Sylvester Turner. The panelists on the show include:

· Natalie Arceneaux, business consultant and conservative talk show host, C+A Global Group

· Andrew Hamilton, Ph.D, associate dean, University of Houston Bonner Leaders Program

· Deric Muhammad, Houston-based author and activist

· Rev. Hannah Terry, associate pastor, Fondren Apartment Ministry

“Several months ago Eddie and I both met individually with people from our own racial groups and asked them the same set of questions to create topic starters for a bigger conversation with our four special guests,” said Manouse, who also served as the show’s producer. “The purpose of this program is to discuss what often divides our communities, in order to get a better understanding of how we see these differences and how much we truly have in common.”

He adds that the hope is that it will spur a much needed conversation out in the community and give us all an opportunity to move forward with a more positive understanding of each other.

“‘Houston In Black And White’ exposes the experiences of individuals from different races and ethnicities and allows them to take part in a much needed dialogue,” said Robinson. “We examine why some people think racism in Houston is getting better, why some think it’s getting worse, why some think it’s widespread, why some think it’s invisible and why many of them think, on some level, it’s actually the norm.”

Houston Public Media will host a live Twitter chat during the special with the hosts and panelists to talk about the show and answer viewer questions. The community is invited to join the conversation using the hashtag #HouBW.

“Houston In Black And White” is part of Houston Public Media’s DiverseCity project (#DiverseCity), a yearlong multi-media initiative looking at what Houston’s diversity means for the city. Stay tuned to for all Houston Public Media stories and content related to this initiative.

(This post was taken from a press release sent to me by Houston Public Media KUHT/KUHF)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Houston Loves Dave Ward Facebook filter #HOULovesDW

Your support and ‘welcome home” wishes will mean so much to Dave Ward

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In honor of Dave Ward's homecoming from the hospital, Crime Stoppers of Houston has setup a #HOULovesDW Facebook filter allowing his friends to change their profile picture in support.

Your support and ‘welcome home” wishes will mean so much to him. Changing your profile photo is easy - just follow these steps:

1. Click HERE -
2. Click “Connect to Facebook”
3. Choose the photo you want to use
4. Click “Allow Post on Facebook”
5. Then click “Share on Facebook” or choose to share a custom message about your photo and tag @Dave Ward’s Houston
6. Make that photo your profile picture!

To follow Dave Ward after he leaves KTRK abc13, like Dave Ward's Houston.

RELATED: A celebration of Dave Ward's 50 years on KTRK channel 13