Monday, October 21, 2013

Alan Hemberger has died

Houston, San Antonio and Austin TV anchor Alan Hemberger has died


KHOU 11 anchor Sherry Williams just tweeted the news that former Houston anchor Alan Hemberger has died.

Friend Mason Turner told me he had just talked with Hemberger Saturday evening about the Red Sox win.

"When his sons couldn't reach him [Sunday], they had a welfare check made and that's when his body was discovered," Turner told me.

The Houston Chronicle said the anchor, 65, died of an apparent heart attack.

Hemberger worked at KTRK through the 90s as its Live at 5 anchor with Melanie Lawson, a brief stint at KEYE Austin weekends and then last at KIAH 39 (with Sherry Williams) as the main anchor. The Houston Press awarded him best local TV anchor while at KHWB (now KIAH). He also worked at Entertainment Tonight as Alan Arthur and KMOL San Antonio (now WOAI).

Alan Hemberger
Alan Hemberger
The last time I talked with Hemberger was almost a year ago. He was retired in Laguna, California and doing a weekly radio show at 93.5 KXRN a non-commercial station. His show was called 'The Laguna Beach Blues Boy.'

"The Pacific Coast Highway is out one window, the ocean out the other," Hemberger told me last November. "I'm returning to my first love and roots. Hope to do some high school play by play too."

As I've written before, Hemberger was very nice to me when I interned at KTRK in the mid 1990s. I never forgot that and I think it is an important lesson for today's broadcasters.

He will be missed.

Here is a cached bio I found online for him:

Alan earned a Bachelor's Degree in Speech from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his career in television at KFDA-TV in Amarillo as News/Public Affairs Director and the 6pm & 10pm anchor.

Alan went on to co-anchor with Dixie Whatley on "Entertainment This Week" for Paramount Television in Hollywood, California. For two years he covered Hollywood movie premieres, and high profile events for "Entertainment Tonight," including the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Grammy awards programs.

Alan came to Houston in 1989 as the midday and 5pm news anchor at ABC's KTRK-TV. For 9 years, he anchored for KTRK-TV's midday news and Live at Five. While at Channel 13, Alan covered many high profile news events including the Luby's mass murder, the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian Compound, US forces in Somalia and the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Alan joins 39 News from the CBS affiliate KEYE-TV in Austin, Texas where he was the primary weekend anchor.




*updated


16 comments:

  1. Very sad. Too young. Was he ill?

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  2. I sure hope that is the Houston triumvirate with Bum Phillips Bud Addams and Alan Hemberger. May they all RIP

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  3. Dont forget he also worked at News 24 Houston when it was on air.

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    1. This is not correct. He was not a member of this organization.

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  4. channel 13 reporterd: Alan Hemberger died at his home in Massachusetts over the weekend. Family members became concerned when they couldn't reach him, and authorities found him during a welfare check. The cause of death has not been determined.

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  5. So sad - he was a real class act!

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  6. So sad to hear. Can't believe this news.

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  7. I too was an intern at KTRK in the 90s and Alan went out of his way to give me advice and share his knowledge about the industry. Very approachable and friendly. May he RIP.

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  8. He was a great man. He will be missed. I did watch him at KTRK and when he was with Sherry at channel 39 and when they both were gone hoped both would end up somewhere. Sherry did but was curious what happened to Alan. RIP.

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  9. I worked with Alan for many years at 39 and I always thought he got a raw deal in the end.
    He was cranky in a likable way and I'll always remember our daily ritual of eating lunch in the breakroom while watching NBC Nightly News.

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  10. WOW. I didn't know Hemberger had passed away.

    65 years old ? That's young for his age. I remembered watching him at KTRK 13 back in the late 80s, early 90s.

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  11. RIP Alan Hemberger, You will be missed.

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  12. I met him when I was a local hire by ABC News during the 1992 RNC. He was kind, approachable, and friendly. I was just a 21 year old kid/recent UH grad working 80 hours a week and I remember being sort of chuffed that he stopped to speak with me. It meant a lot. Condolences to his family and friends.

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  13. I was an intern at KIAH roughly 10 years ago. Alan Hemberger went out of his way to say hello to me every day. As I worked my way up at other local stations, I found his kindness unmatched. I will never forget that. Thank you Mr. Hemberger. May your soul rest in peace.

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  14. I produced for Alan at Ch. 39. He was very kind to me and always willing to share his newsroom knowledge. I will miss his animated comments on my Facebook page. Very sorry to hear of his passing.

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  15. McGuff, here is video from Hemberger's weekend newscast with Debi Johnson in 1989:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmVwn7K6eGQ

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