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Thursday, June 30, 2011

740 KTRH replaces Lana Hughes and J.P. Pritchard; KTRH is now NewsTalk 740

Houston getting News 92 FM KROI - 24 hour radio news with Lana Hughes and J.P. Pritchard

Lana Hughes and J.P. Pritchard are out of 740 KTRH after 27 years. And now the station drops the news front and goes with the talk moniker.

"This is an exciting time for our station," Clear Channel Houston AM Operations Manager Bryan Erickson said in a statement. "Like other forms of media, we have to continue to adapt. We have to serve our listeners by being informative and entertaining. Lana and JP are an institution in Houston, they are true professionals, and we, along with our listeners, will miss hearing their comforting voices every morning. We know our new show has big shoes to fill."

With a change in the morning show comes a change in direction for KTRH. No more NewsRadio 740 KTRH branding. Now the station is called NewsTalk 740. That's because the days of this station being a news station have been fading quickly over the last years. Clearly it is a conservative talk station now with no apologies. History buffs will note that KTRH used to be a talk station in the early 80s too. KTRK 13 investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino had a talk show on it.

Well we should have seen this coming. Just last week I linked to the Denver Post article stating that Lois Melkonian was on her way to Houston. Melkonian was just a talk show host at Denver Clear Channel station KOA (KTRH is a Clear Channel station). While she just did talk, Melkonian does have news experience having worked at KCBS radio and KGO-TV in San Francisco as an anchor/reporter.

But the star of the new show according to the Clear Channel press release is Matt Patrick. In fact the show that debuts July 5th (5 to 9am) is actually called “Houston’s Morning News with Matt Patrick.”

In fact here is video of Matt Patrick taking Texas to task from his website:

According to a station release, Patrick has been splitting time between Indiana (95.3 MNC, Michiana) and Ohio (WTAM, Cleveland and WLW, Cincinnati) and will be moving to Houston, along with his wife and three children.

The station adds the rest of the show lineup remains the same. I assume there will still be news updates at top and bottom of the hour too.

Now back to Lana and JP. I posted how both legendary news anchors were inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009. Just two years ago, KTRH sent me this release about the radio duo:

Through it all, “Lana and JP” have been the staple of the morning radio landscape in Houston. They are currently enjoying very high ratings, as good as ever. “Lana and JP are as good as they’ve ever been, and they get better every day,” said Houston market manager Eddie Martiny. “They’re just now starting to hit their stride. We think they have at least 25 more great years to inform and entertain Houstonians.”

Damn how things change quickly in broadcasting. Readers have already written me expressing anger over this KTRH change, especially since it is the third major shift in Houston radio in just a month (SEE 106.9 The Zone and Kidd Kraddick replaces Maria Todd mornings on Mix 96.5 KHMX).

No doubt, JP and Lana have been the first voices many Houstonians have heard in the morning for many, many years. That puts them in a special place for many listeners. They sounded great and had tremendous chemistry together. They did what they could over the last few years with the dwindling resources they were given as a result of cutbacks.

Think about it, a decade ago, Lana and JP has a huge news staff behind them on the streets and freeways (traffic) telling Houston what was happening with news and traffic. Trust me when I say that KTRH was pre-set number one on the car radios of the other journalists in town. That clearly changed over the last decade as more and more news blocks disappeared in favor of syndicated talk shows. This reminds us that broadcasting is a business about money and not news coverage. These talks shows do after all get ratings or they would not be there.

But out of respect for these two broadcasting giants, here are Lana and JP's bios:

A native Houstonian, Lana Hughes is a graduate of Conroe High School and has a B.A. in English and journalism/communications from Baylor University. Her career began as a newspaper reporter at the Daily Courier in Conroe, before going into broadcasting at Conroe's KIKR. She first joined KTRH as weekend anchor and field reporter, before teaming up with JP Pritchard on the KTRH Morning News.
Lana's lifelong passions are writing and animals! Her love of both come together in her blog, Animal House. Her pet page showcases the efforts of area rescue groups and shelters to help those with no voice, and is dedicated to providing news and information to help stop the needless suffering of abused, neglected and abandoned animals.

JP Pritchard has been anchoring at NewsRadio 740 KTRH since 1982, and with Lana Hughes as his on-air partner since 1984. JP received a degree in journalism from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. After doing stints as reporter/anchor and news director at radio stations in the midwest, he was recruited to be news director at KULF Radio, now KBME SportsTalk 790. He and Lana have won many awards honoring their work as writers, anchors and interviewers. And JP and Lana have won the "Best Anchor Team" and "Best Newscast" awards several times from the Texas AP Broadcasters. In 2000, JP won the "Best Documentary" award for a two-hour production on the history of Houston. He and his wife, Esther, and have three grown sons and two grandsons.

Houston getting News 92 FM KROI - 24 hour radio news with Lana Hughes and J.P. Pritchard CONTACT: Leave me a Houston or Texas media news tip | COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here