He told Houston Matters Craig Cohen that it was KPRC 2 weatherman Doug Johnson and his wife that got him is big break at KFRD-FM Rosenberg where he did a little bit of everything. From there, he says his broadcasting life was one of happy accidents.
That led him to a distinguished news career at a variety of Houston stations.
He was a news anchor from 1988-1992 for KNUZ and KQUE when they were together at a old house on Caroline. From there he went to 740 KTRH from 1993-1996.
And in 1996, he capped off his career at KUHF where he would wear many hats. Starting out as a reporter, he moved up the org chart to assistant news director, then news director and finally changed course to his last title of Senior Producer for News & Public Affairs.
In his latest role, you heard Pendergraft make station announcements and his work on the long running segment Engines of Our Ingenuity with Dr. John Lienhard. A Houston public radio institution with thousands of segments under its belt.
According to his bio, Pendergraft has been recognized by his peers and has earned many prestigious awards for news reporting and excellence in journalism. In 1998, he was the first KUHF News Reporter to be named the Press Club of Houston’s "Radio Journalist of the Year".
A year later, his reporting skills gained KUHF its first regional Edward R. Murrow award for his extraordinary use of sound in telling a story. Pendergraft has been recognized by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters, The Press Club of Dallas, The Harris County Medical Society, The Texas Medical Society, The American Cancer Society, The Mental Health Association of Greater Houston and many other organizations for excellence in journalism.
Here is an email obtained by mikemcguff.com that Pendergraft sent to his colleagues about his retirement:
Over time, I’ve been called many things…”Eagle Scout,” “Marine,” and even “The Ghost of Radio Past.” I’ve also been called “Reporter,” “News Director,” “Station Ambassador,” “Senior Producer,” and “Artistic Advisor.” My old friend and colleague Kathy Rogers (RIP) called me, “Pepe Le Pew.” I was never quite sure why. Well, as of September 1st, you can also call me “Retired.”
After more than 31 years in radio, 20 ½ of them here at KUHF and News 88-7, it’s time to stand down. During my time here, our small public radio station grew into a big-time multi-media operation. I literally helped us move into our 3rd floor space from the cramped radio studio in the U-H School of Communications. Daily news defined my early years here. During that time, I was honored to receive many broadcast awards including the station’s first Houston Press Club “Radio Journalist of the Year” Award (1998), and the station’s first Radio and Television News Directors Association “Edward R. Murrow” Award (1999). More than 40 on-air fundraising campaigns occurred during my time. In recent years, my work on StoryCorps, This I Believe, Engines of Our Ingenuity, Texas Originals, UH Moment and the daily Events Calendar, has been pure fun. All in all, it’s been a remarkable journey and my life is better for it. Best of all, I leave with a full heart.
I’ll undoubtedly miss the work and I’ll certainly miss you. Our daily tasks bring us together, but the relationships bind us. I’m grateful for your friendship and for all the kind gestures you’ve sent my way. In the coming days, I’ll stop by your desk and thank you personally.
I regard my time with KUHF and News 88-7 as my highest professional honor.
As I move in to the next season of my life, I’ll be following your work. And I’ll be proud to see and hear friends doing great things. I did my best to help make this place better than when I found it. That remains your challenge…treat each other well, do work that exceeds the high expectations of our listeners and members and extend a hand to the next generation of professionals, who follow in our footsteps.