News 3's Steve Fullhart and Karla Castillo are joining Chief Meteorologist Shel Winkley and Sports Director Darryl Bruffett at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. weeknights. The duo has anchored First News at Four since the newscast's inception in 2011. Fullhart has anchored News 3 at Five since 2012.
The 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. newscasts will soon be anchored by Kathleen Witte and Rusty Surette. Witte arrives at News 3 later this month from KBTX's sister station in Alexandria, Louisiana, KALB. Surette will start at KBTX in May when he finishes work at KWTV, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City.
“KBTX is fortunate to have the experience in leadership Steve and Karla will bring to the evening newscasts," said KBTX Vice President/General Manager Mike Wright. "Having the opportunity to welcome a journalism veteran like Rusty Surette to KBTX while teaming with Kathleen Witte, who possesses a true dedication to the art of journalism and effective story-telling, is rare. We are very excited about this next chapter in KBTX history.”
Fullhart joined KBTX in May 2004. He had stints as News 3's weekend anchor and on Brazos Valley This Morning in addition to the 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. newscasts. Beyond reporting from across the Brazos Valley and Texas, he has travelled to Afghanistan, Belgium, New York City and Washington to bring stories of local interest home. Fullhart has headed up KBTX's election coverage since 2008. A two-time Lone Star Emmy winner, he has also been honored by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters each year since 2008 in a wide range of categories.
"When I first came to KBTX, I thought I'd be here for a couple of years," Fullhart said, "but I figured out pretty quickly that this is a special corner of this special country. I'm honored to have been allowed to plant some roots here, and with Karla, Shel and Darryl, now be able to pass along to our community what's new, next and now each weeknight, making sure people are in the know from a trusted source and can make informed decisions in their lives."
Castillo started reporting at another local television station in 2005, but stepped away after two-and-a-half years to start her family with her husband, Mike. By 2009, she joined KBTX as a reporter and anchor. She has been honored by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and nominated by the Lone Star Emmys for her anchoring. Among her notable assignments were covering Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, along with the El Dorado chemical plant fire in Bryan.
"I am fortunate to have this opportunity in a community that is truly home," Castillo said. "As Steve and I join Shel and Darryl, I hope viewers continue to see how much we care about the Brazos Valley. We as a team have the privilege of sharing the day's news, weather and sports with people who are more than simply viewers. They're our friends, family and neighbors."
“Steve has established himself as the KBTX ‘go-to’ guy on the big stories, and is respected throughout the community," Wright said. "This is a great opportunity for Steve to expand his role. Having a well-known, local journalist with Karla’s ability and leadership skills will serve to strengthen news content and presentation during these key newscasts.”
Witte was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, but left The Volunteer State for the University of North Carolina, where she anchored and reported for the school's newscast. She also interned at a station in Raleigh-Durham. Witte holds journalism and political science degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. She joined KALB in 2012, and in less than a year, was promoted to evening weekday anchor.
"I am thrilled to be joining the KBTX family, and from what I understand, that's exactly what this news team is: a family," Witte said. "I am grateful that this particular family has allowed me the opportunity to be a small part of the big future of a great organization. Furthermore, I cannot wait to get to know the people of B/CS and to spend every evening bringing you the stories that matter in your community."
Surette grew up in Beaumont, and began shooting video for newscasts in his early teens. After working as a photographer in Tyler, Raleigh and Las Vegas, he was an assignments manager in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His first on-air work was as a reporter in Beaumont. He joined KWTV for the first time in 2007 as a reporter, but left after three-and-half years to be a regional director of communications for the American Red Cross. He rejoined KWTV in 2012 as a reporter, but transitioned behind the scenes and became the executive producer of the station's morning show.
"What a blessing this is for me personally," Surette said. "I'm returning home to Texas to be part of a team that values every viewer both on-air and online. This is an enormous responsibility and opportunity and I couldn't be more honored and excited to be part of it."
“I believe the Brazos Valley will really like Rusty and Kathleen," Wright said. "In our search, we were looking for the people we felt best fit the culture of KBTX, this community, and that the new faces on the KBTX staff would seek to further raise the level of integrity of our news coverage on-air and on-line, working to further extend the distance between KBTX and other options for local information.”
In March, former 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. anchor John Gilbert departed KBTX after four years to work in the sales department at KBTX's sister station in Waco, KWTX. In November, after ten years with News 3, Meredith Stancik stepped down from the evening shows to spend more time with her young family. Both are available to fill in on News 3 when needed.
“The best way to honor Meredith and John for all they did to raise the standard at KBTX is to continue on that trek," Wright said.
With the largest television news, weather and sports teams in the region, the most newscasts, and 24/7 outlets in KBTX.com and the KBTX mobile app, News 3 has proudly served College Station, Bryan and the Brazos Valley since 1957.
(This post was taken from a KBTX press release)