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Thursday, December 14, 2017

KHOU 11 opening downtown Houston studios

KHOU Avenida Studio in downtown Houston debuts

As of this update, the downtown studio is not yet open. I'm told it could open mid to late summer 2018.

Way back in the Belo days, now TEGNA-owned WFAA 8 opened satellite studios in downtown Dallas' Victory Park. Think of how the network morning shows like to broadcast closer to the audience from the streets of New York.

Yesterday, WFAA sister-station KHOU 11, a station looking for a new home after it lost its studios to the waters of Hurricane Harvey, announced it is opening its own satellite studios in downtown Houston.

The location will be the George R. Brown Convention Center AKA The GRB located in the newly minted Avenida Houston district.

The station says it will use the downtown Houston studio, "several times a week on KHOU 11 News, Great Day Houston and other KHOU-produced programming and specials."

To me, that line makes it seem that KHOU will not be using the extra space as much as sister-station WFAA uses its Victory Park studios.

According to the station's website, at roughly 780-square-feet, "the new studio will have the flexibility to open on to the plaza, enabling reporters to directly engage with the public and be at the center of major events happening in downtown Houston."

What is old is new again.

In interviews for my KLOL documentary, I learned that when 740 KTRH was downtown at the Rice Hotel, hosts stretched microphones and long cable to the street to interview passersby on the street.

KHOU general manager Susan McEldoon says this project has been nearly two years in the making.

The Avenida Houston location will put us at the center of downtown activity, enabling anchors and reporters to live out our brand of ‘Standing for Houston’ by providing us with a closer connection to the community we serve,” McEldoon said on the station's website. “As the only station with a downtown studio, we will use the Avenida Houston studio as our second home to produce big, bold, original content on all of our platforms.”

Since KHOU is currently scouting a new permanent studio home, this new satellite studio might be getting a lot more use than originally planned during the build process.

The new studio, which is a partnership between channel 11 and Houston First Corporation (HFC), will be near Bud’s Pitmaster BBQ and the central plaza.

It is set to open in March 2018.

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