Monday, February 26, 2018

KHOU close to getting a new building plus other details post Harvey

Last Friday, I put out on social media how the iconic KHOU call letters were removed from the station's former Allen Parkway tower.

There is a silver lining though.

The station says the six-by-six foot letters will make a return in the future.

“We are going to incorporate them, somehow, into our new building," KHOU 11 General Manager, Susan McEldoon, said on the TEGNA owned station's website. "I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to look at this point."

Now I am kicking myself that I never photographed that tower like I always planned to.


VIDEO: Summary of KHOU 11 studio flooding Harvey

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know the reason the letters are disappearing for now is because Hurricane Harvey flooded the KHOU 11's building.

Earlier this month, channel 11 announced it signed a contract to sell the building that once housed its studios.

WFAA shows how it is helping Houston

Since the storm, the station has operated out of the Houston Public Media building on the University of Houston campus.

Today on Houston Public Media's News 88.7 KUHF's Houston Matters, KHOU GM McEldoon said, "We knew we couldn't go back there, it made no sense to reinvest in a complicated, technical operation like a TV station in a building that was going to flood again."

KHOU 11 broadcasting from TV 8 KUHT behind the scenes photos

McEldoon added at one point, KHOU had staff in seven different locations across the Houston-area.

The good news for the Houston CBS affiliate is the station is very close to signing a lease on a new unannounced facility.

"We hope that we will be in a new facility by the end of this year," she told host Craig Cohen.

Near the end of the interview, McEldoon said something that some might find surprising.

Within 24 hours of the KHOU 11 evacuation, she said the general managers at all of the other Houston TV stations contacted her to see if the flooded station needed help.

Brandi Smith and the viral storm

"The calls went like this, 'What do you need to get back on the air? What do you need to get stabilized? Is there anything we can do? Is there any equipment? Call me if you need my help," McEldoon recalled. "And those were sincere, sincere phone calls. And I just think that speaks a lot about the quality of the people in Houston. And it certainly speaks about the quality of the people who work in local media."

That really says something about the Houston spirit and broadcasting community. After all, the stations are competitors.

For now KHOU will spend the next hurricane season at Houston Public Media with the TV8 KUHT and 88.7 KUHF staffs. That building has never flooded.

McEldoon says the most important thing for broadcasters is to have a backup plan for worst case scenarios like a Hurricane Harvey. Good thing the KHOU management met with Houston Public Media months before.

Since we're talking Houston Public Media, I thought I would take the chance to congratulate Aurora Losada, the Director Digital Operations of the NPR/PBS affilate, for being named a finalist of the Digital Leader of the Year category in the Women in IT Awards.

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