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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Art Rascon to leave abc13 KTRK

Art Rascon, the longtime anchor of Live at 5 and the abc13 KTRK 11am newscast with Melanie Lawson, has announced he is leaving the Disney owned television station at the end of the year after around 36 years in the TV news business.

Art Rascon video tributes, plus anchoring with his son, Jacob, video

Jacob Rascon moves to abc13 KTRK after KPRC 2
Dominique Sachse to leave KPRC 2

abc13 KTRK departures blogged this week
Marla Carter leaving abc13 KTRK
Cory McGinnis exits abc13 KTRK

Sources tell this is Rascon's decision and he is ready to move on to new things.  Plus, he will now have more time to serve around the Houston community.

International reporting at abc13

Rascon, who has been with channel 13 since September of 1998, is known for his international reporting (which has taken him to more than 70 countries), just as much as his daily anchoring.  In fact, I would venture to say that Rascon enjoyed reporting more than sitting behind the anchor desk everyday.

“I remember watching the close of the Vietnam War on television," Rascon told Y Magazine in 2016.  "We only had three channels and we had the rabbit ears on the television. I had to sit there and hold them for my dad so he could watch the television [and] it didn’t break up. I remember telling myself, ‘I think I want to be one of these guys.’ I had such a curiosity of the world—I wanted to report on it and see the faces and recognize more fully these stories.”

You couldn't mention Rascon's career without talking about his coverage of the wars in such places as Iraq, other parts of the Middle East and Central America. When 9/11 happened, Rascon and a photographer were on the road to report live from Ground Zero at the World Trade Center site. 

Houston is a big market, but most anchors aren't jumping on planes at the signs of strife occur somewhere around the globe like Rascon.  I always thought the need to be reporting in what most journalists would consider "dangerous situations" is in his blood. While one anchor might be reporting on the latest diet trends for the sweeps ratings months, Rascon could be doing a story that resulted in him being detained by soldiers while in another country. In fact, Rascon found himself facing down a barrel of a gun numerous time in his career.  

“I’ve had four machine guns pulled on my head, but in each case, I have felt an overwhelming sense of calm and assurance that everything is going to be okay," Rascon told Y Magazine.  "What calms my heart more than anything else is prayer and a knowledge of God’s love, not only for the people I’m covering, but for me to be guided as well. We’re in the heat of a battle, but I have never felt nervous for my life.”

In addition to reporting from battlefields, Rascon has covered hurricanes such as Katrina and Ike all the way to the tsunami in Indonesia. In one report a couple of decades ago, he smuggled himself into the country. 

Rascon as a CBS News Correspondent

How does a Houston TV anchor know how to report from hotspots around the world?  

In Rascon's case, he learned at the network level.  Before joining channel 13, he was a CBS News correspondent. According to his bio, at the network, Rascon covered such stories as the Oklahoma City bombing, civil unrest in Haiti, guerrilla wars in Mexico, and a hostage standoff in Peru.

Rascon's earlier career at KABC LA and Texas TV stations

Prior to CBS News, Rascon was a reporter for KTRK's Los Angeles sister-station KABC ABC7 from 1989 to 1994. In LA, Rascon covered everything from the O.J. Simpson trial, the Rodney King trial, the Menendez trial, earthquakes, riots to travelling to cover the Branch Davidian stand-off near Waco

Speaking of Texas, the El Paso native, reported for several television stations in the Lone Star State before heading to California:  

- KMOL 4 (which today is known as News 4 San Antonio WOAI)  

- KVIA El Paso

- KRBC Abilene 

Rascon's awards and recognitions

Reporting from five continents has earned Rascon 27 EMMY nominations with 20 wins.  And according to his bio, he also earned two Edward R. Murrow awards, three National Association of Hispanic Journalists' awards, the International Rotary Club award, two Headliner Awards, the RTNDA Award, 15 Associated Press Reporting awards, and more than a dozen outstanding reporting awards from Press Clubs in Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. He was also named "100 most influential Hispanics in America" by the National Hispanic Business Magazine.

“I practically flunked out of English. I was not a good reader," Rascon told Y Magazine. "I was not a good speaker. I certainly couldn’t carry a story. I was not a good writer at all. My English instructor in high school said, ‘You need to find something you can actually do. You can’t do this.’ Everything that you think a reporter should be, I was the opposite. But now I’ve won Emmys in writing. I attribute my success to understanding that God is going to make much more out of my life than I could ever possibly make of myself.”

Personal life outside of TV

Journalism flows through Rascon's family.  Houston TV viewers know his son Jacob Rascon from his time at KPRC and NBC News, but his brother Dan and son Matt also both work at KSL in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Outside of broadcasting, Rascon and his wife, Patti, have raised seven children. 

The Brigham Young University graduate is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In April 4, 2020, Rascon was sustained as an Area Seventy for the church.  He serves 12 states.

“The Spirit has influenced my work in every degree imaginable, from saving my life to pointing me in directions that would provide safety and reassurance," Rascon told Y Magazine.

abc13 KTRK Houston on-air staffer departures in last year (since September 2020) :

- Marla Carter leaving abc13 KTRK
- Cory McGinnis exits abc13 KTRK
- Steven Romo leaves abc13 KTRK
David Nuño leaves abc13 KTRK for TexAgs
Rehan Aslam leaving KTRK for WABC
Katherine Whaley leaves abc13 KTRK
Chelsey Hernandez leaves abc13 KTRK
Tom Koch retiring from abc13 KTRK
Deborah Wrigley to leave abc13 KTRK
Collin Myers exits abc13 KTRK
Bob Slovak leaves abc13 KTRK

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