Sunday, December 20, 2009

Randy Turner Nails AHS Score Prediction

You hear sports personalities spouting out score predictions all the time. But how often do they get them right?

KRBC's Tyler Edwards and Rob Mooring weren't too far off on their AHS game predicitions. Tyler predicted a 20-14 win for AHS. Rob went with 35-17...which could've easily happened.

However, it was the man of many hats who came out on top in this contest. Anchor, chief meteorologist, and fortune teller Randy Turner correctly predicted a score of Abilene High 28, Katy 17.

It only took the humble Turner about 30 seconds to text me when the game ended to congratulate himself. In fact, that text may have arrived prior to the end of the game.

Either way, props have to go out to Randy for hitting the score right on the money!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Same song, second verse

It happened again. Enough said.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hey, I have that shirt...

Did you see that episode of The Office, where Pam and Phyllis showed up wearing the same outfit?

That happens all the time around here. And let's face it, there are probably less shopping options in Abilene than there are in Scranton.

The other day, Brittany and I were wearing the same sweater.

If you look closely at a KRBC promotional commercial, you'll see Stephanie, Brittany and Maria wearing the same shirt in different colors. I think they also each own several colors of that shirt themselves.

Megan and I also own the same ruffly shirt in black and white. Stephanie and I each splurged on the exact same special occasion dress. She wore hers at the MDA telethon, I wore mine at Bob Bartlett's 30th anniversary party.

So how do you keep from pulling a Pam/Phyllis at the office? Any advice?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Icing disaster leads to happy hearts!

The girls of the newsroom got together the weekend after Thanksgiving for the construction of what would be the biggest, baddest gingerbread village in the history of edible art.

Nance, Angela, Stephanie, Laura, Brittany
(not pictured: Brandi, Priscilla, Michelle, Morgan & Nora)

We had grand plans for our "Frontier Fabulous!" town, which included a hotel, farmers' market, shoe store, martini bar, coffee shop and decked out town square.

But, we quickly learned, we are not aces of cake. Or gingerbread.

The icing which would have served as glue was nowhere near sticky enough. The soggy lasagna noodles did not make for a cute ruffly roof as intended, and weren't possible to paint. We also ran out of dough... and patience.

But we refused to give up. After five hours of fighting gravity (and discovering Sixlets and Twizzlers stuck to the most inappropriate of places) somehow, our frontier became fabulous.

The "Martini Barn"

"Farmer's Market"

"Frontier Fabulous!"

It didn't look like anything Cake Boss would have made, but gosh darn it, we were proud. And who cares that our coffee shop ended up in the trash and our hotel never made it past the blueprint stage?

What more does a Fabulous Frontier need than a farmers market, a shoe store, a bar and a Christmas tree?
We thought we might have a shot at the $500 grand prize, which we considered using for an office Christmas party... until we showed up and one woman had constructed a perfectly-scaled Honey I Shrunk the Kids church, with stained glass windows and everything.

1st place!

But we DID win 1st Prize in the group category. (We were the only ones.) So, we all decided to use the $100 Downtown Dollars to adopt an Angel.

(picture of Angel's new outfit deleted... just in case)

Our angel is 12. Apparently the older kids are much less likely to be adopted, so we were more than happy to shop for a pre-teen. We went to Under One Roof, where we made it out with four really cute gifts, plus two things to give for Be a Santa to a Senior.

Giving is the BEST gift for Christmas!

Today was the last day to drop off Angel gifts, and Santa to a Senior is wrapping up (literally) on Tuesday. If you're still looking to give,
KTAB Santa's Helpers is in real need. We have more children than before, and donations are coming in more slowly. If you'd like Santa to bring you a happy heart for Christmas, please consider!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Local News Needs Credits!

This is the second day this season that we've pulled ourselves straight out of bed and into the newsroom to keep you safe during icy weather conditions. And it's only early December!

Here's a picture of a few of us in our "no one is going to see me so no need to fix my hair" getup. Well, Tim Johnston jumped into the picture looking dapper. But he's on air.

I'm trying to count how many of us came in early this morning, in addition to the 12 or so people who are always here getting the morning shows on the air. I've counted 19.

We're shooting video, tracking accidents, editing video, going live, answering phones for school closings, answering phone calls from impatient people who want to know if schools have closed well before the schools have decided, updating the web site, updating the ticker, and coordinating it all.

So, a special thanks to the following people who came in early today --
  • Andrew Carlson - photographer
  • Kristi Drake - phones
  • Hope Ekwue - producer
  • Brandi Fordyce - phones, personnel coordinator
  • Marc "Goose" Gustafson - photographer
  • Stephanie Harris - anchor
  • Marchita Johnson - producer
  • Tim Johnston - reporter
  • Austin Kellerman - ticker, personnel coordinator
  • Laura Kellerman - website
  • Katherine Lane - reporter
  • Priscilla Luong - reporter
  • Mark Moseley - producer
  • Sam Nichols - meteorologist
  • Maria Oliver - reporter
  • Brittany Pelletz - reporter
  • Victor Sotelo - reporter
  • Angela Taylor - reporter
  • Randy Turner - meteorologist

Y'all are great! And expect to do it again soon. Blame it on El Nino!

(I also can't forget the people who work this shift every day -- and local news doesn't run credits!)
  • Chelsea Delz
  • Megan Dobbs
  • Kailey Franz
  • Joey Hardin
  • Pam Langford
  • Ron Rosseau
  • Richard Rushton
  • Jake Templeton
  • Chris Whited

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Tree for Zoo Animals?

I wasn't quite sure what to think when I received a press release Monday afternoon with the headline, "Giving Tree spreads holiday joy to Abilene Zoo’s animals." I've seen trees to benefit children in need and the elderly...but zoo animals? Really?

Let me begin by sounding a little hypocritical. I like animals. I have a dog that I probably treat way too well. Sadly, I'll give him his favorite toy for Christmas. It's a little pink pig that I probably give him twice a year. Every time he gets one, he rejoices...and three days later it's a pile of stuffing. So yes, I buy stuff for animals.

Back to the point at hand: When I think about giving trees, I think of something pretty sacred. I think about the poorest of poor children who won't otherwise see a Christmas. I think about elderly residents who won't get a Christmas gift because they've been abandoned by their family. With all due respect to Ryan the Rhino, the humans seem more deserving.

I think this highlights a bigger issue....humans versus animals. I can remember going on a trip with friends a few years back and driving to an intersection where a homeless person stood begging for donations. The driver quickly rolled up the window and everyone in the car acted disgusted. Moments later, we spotted a 3-legged dog stumbling through a parking lot and you would've thought they just saw Robert Pattinson. Why do we show more compassion for animals than we do human beings?

GMC DFW is currently running a poll to donate $20,000 to the most popular metroplex charity on Facebook. Users can pick between Big Brothers Big Sisters, the SPCA, and Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Guess which organization is currently in the lead? The SPCA.

I'm not saying the SPCA isn't a deserving group...but do its animals deserve money more than the children with birth defects and neurological disorders treated at Scottish Rite?

When we air stories about abused children in our community, no one calls. No one emails. When we air stories about abused animals, the phones ring off the hook with outraged people or people who want to do something to help

The Abilene Zoo's wish list for the Giving Tree is posted online. It contains more than 125 items. The items range from $8 Bath & Body Works body splashes to $795 scales:

Again, I have no doubt the animals and trainers would love these things....but should they be part of a Giving Tree?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Same-Sex Homecoming Court

Students at the University of North Texas, my alma mater, are deciding whether same sex couples should be allowed to run for homecoming court.

Voting ended Friday afternoon, and results are expected some time today.

The Student Association Guidelines currently state that a homecoming couple must be a male and female. After protests and heated discussions over the school's nearly 120-year old tradition, it was decided that students should vote on the issue.

A yes decision would make the University of North Texas one of the first schools to allow the crowning of a same sex couple.

In my opinion, tradition aside, let's talk about fairness. Homecoming kings and queens aren't couples to begin with. They do run as pairs, though. For instance, you don't pick your favorite man and your favorite woman, you have to vote on one pair. Let's say you have a man/man pair that wins, that's not fair because no woman gets to be represented that year.

What do you think about it? (Note: I will not tolerate any hateful comments.)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What is a Doe to Do?

As football season approaches, our men get this certain wiggle. I think it's the only time that my husband and my dog resemble each other. Wiggling their little butts and panting... and then, once that bone comes, chomping down as hard as they can and severely growling at anyone who threatens to take it away.

I imagine it's the same for women during deer season. My husband doesn't really hunt, but other family members do. So, what is a doe to do during deer season?

Stephanie Harris brought this point up in the newsroom yesterday -- women have to find something to do when our bucks are away. Maybe it's girl time. Maybe it's time spent getting chores and projects done that can't be tackled while the men are around.

This year, my husband is participating in the annual hunting weekend held by the men on my side of the family. I strongly encouraged him to go along for two reasons. No. 1, I think he needs some male bonding time and I'd like to think that the men who share my flesh and blood are good guys to bond with. No. 2, I want my mom to come visit me for a girls' weekend! We've never spent a weekend alone, that I can remember. But, with dad, husband, brothers, uncles, cousins all holed up in a little ranch house for the weekend, we get to have our alone time! Can you tell I'm excited?

So what about you? Let me know what you get to do during deer season that you wouldn't otherwise be able to. Leave a comment here, or email me a picture at and I'll post it!

Actually, I'll give a girly little prize to the most fun, creative or interesting submission. Can't wait!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lamar Grad: Do I Root Against Abilene High?

VFND - Viking Fight Never Dies...

It's one of the mottos of Lamar High School in Arlington, TX.

I grew up going to Lamar football games. It was the "it" thing to do on Friday nights in town. It was the place to be seen. It was the place to see girls. It was what you looked forward to all week.

I went on to play quarterback and lead the team that I once dreamed of being a part of as a kid in grade school.

Wait, that's not true at all...

However, I did root for the team from the comfort of the bleachers behind my bass drum. I'd scream and yell after every touchdown...wear far more yellow sweatshirts than any teenager should own...and I may have even shed a tear after we lost in the first round of the playoffs my senior year.

It's been more than a decade since those days. They're fond memories...but they're memories. They aren't right now. Now, I live in Abilene.

VFND - Viking Fight Never Dies...or does it?

I couldn't help but smile when I read that Abilene High would play Lamar at Cowboys Stadium. First, what an awesome opportunity for all the students of Abilene High to experience Cowboys Stadium. Secondly, AHS is battling my old school. Who am I supposed to root for?

I called home to tell my mother about it. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hey mom, Abilene High is going to face Lamar in the playoffs!"
Mom: "Lamar made the playoffs? But they aren't any good."

The heart of my viking fight started to slow down a little....

When I told David Robinett I went to Lamar and briefly considered going to the game, he told me it wouldn't be any fun to watch my old school get destroyed.

My viking fight went on life support.

I've always been a bandwagon kind of guy...and I can admit it. When the Dallas Mavericks became a good team, I started to like them. When Michael Jackson died, I pulled out the old MJ albums. And when Abilene High battles Lamar, I can't help but root for....Abilene High. What can I say? I'm a fan of a good story. Abilene High winning and advancing the playoffs is the beginning of a great story.

My viking fight died. Time of death 5:57 p.m., November 9, 2009.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cowboys Look Like a Real Team!

I hope to see my first game in the new Cowboys stadium later this year. After the game against the Chiefs, I figured I’d wait a few more weeks before I tried to buy tickets. I presumed the team would lose a few games, and I could snag a pair of tickets on ebay for dirt cheap once the team’s playoff chances were crushed. Based on how the Cowboys had been playing, I was nearly sure it would happen.

Today, a different team showed up in Arlington to challenge a strong (4-1) Atlanta Falcons team. Those “dirt cheap” tickets may cost a little more.

After the game’s opening drive, I figured the defense didn’t show up. However, they got into a rhythm and looked just as good as I’ve seen all season. We were pressuring Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan all afternoon and forced him to throw a couple interceptions. Hopefully, the defense saw what it was capable of and gained some confidence.

With the exception of Roy Williams, the team’s offense looked great. Tony Romo was completing passes, Miles Austin was running all over the place, and Jason Garrett seemed to remember Jason Witten is the league’s best tight end and deserves to be involved in the game plan. Even Patrick Crayton, who spent most of the week complaining he’d be benched, got in the end zone twice! And, it was great to see our three-headed monster in the backfield together again. Today, the offense looked just about unstoppable.

Still, what’s up with all these penalties? Wade Phillips has to get his team focused. We could’ve score 50 points if it weren’t for the endless yellow flags being tossed out by the officials. Usually, it was for something as basic as a false start or encroachment. Pathetic….

As for Roy Williams? He needs to step it up and be a player. Right now, he’s nothing more than a distraction who might catch 4 balls for 60 yards on a good day. Is he capable of being great? Maybe. But right now, he isn’t. We either need to start looking for another receiver to compliment Austin and Witten or get some of our other players involved. Despite two touchdowns today, I don’t think Patrick Crayton is the answer. He’s just not consistent. I think we’d be better if we did more with Martellus Bennett. We finally got him the ball today and he seemed to do well with it. Tashard Choice also looked great running routes out of the backfield. However, we need another playmaking receiver. I just have a bad feeling that Williams and his health won’t last the season.

Next week, it’s the Seattle Seahawks. Should be easy, right? I guess that’s probably why it won’t be.

For at least one week, the Cowboys looked like a playoff team…and it was fun to watch!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dan the Man Moves On

Dan Edwards, KTAB's chief meteorologist, is moving on from Abilene, and today is his last day at the station.

Everyone in the newsroom will miss Dan's positive emergy and upbeat personality very much. He is a very driven person when it comes to the weather and always has a glass-half-full attitude.

I remember one night there were severe storms and tornadic activity in the area. I was trying to tape two debates with the Abilene City Council candidates in the KTAB studio. Right in the middle of a candidate answering a question, I see Dan getting antsy in the weather center. I went over to him and he said, "Can we stop the debate? I have to get on the air." So we interrupted the debate, which was perfectly fine with the candidates who agreed with Dan that the safety of residents comes first. It's just one example of his passion for meteorology.

And it's not just the viewers at home that Dan is concerned about. My inbox is often full of photos, forecasts, and warnings that Dan sends around to people in the building to make sure that we know what's going on as well.

Weather is king to Dan, but his family always comes first. That's why he's decided to move on from KTAB after three years. Dan will remain in the television meteorology business and we will all miss him very much!

Check back later this afternoon for Dan's personal goodbye, and you're welcome to leave comments for him here.


Monday, September 21, 2009

In Our Neck of the Woods

It's not terribly often that "Today" takes its show on the road, so when they do, viewers know to expect something big. And something big they got!

Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and I'd say, oh, a few hundred of their co-workers from Today, NBC News and NBC Sports descended on Arlington last Friday and did the show live from Cowboys Stadium.

Old news.

Here's the new news.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the action, along with photojournalist Marc "Goose" Gustafson and the new Abilene Today team. You recognize one of them – Meteorologist Chris Whited. The other member of the team has yet to be announced. I'll give you a hint: it's a woman (just in case the skirt and heels didn't give it away).

When I heard rumblings of Today coming to Texas in one week (thank you, Facebook) I told the news director, who also happens to be my husband, that I wanted to take the new team to shoot some promotional commercials with Matt & Al. Well, maybe that part was his idea... Anyway, Team Kellerman (pictured at Texas Stadium) got the ball rolling, making arrangements for credentials, contacts, accommodations, writing, pre-producing, mapping and packing.

As prepared as I felt on Friday morning with my briefcase full of paperclipped scripts, stopwatch, still camera, laptop, cue cards and a coffee mug with Matt Lauer's face on it (don't ask) we knew that we'd be at the mercy of live television in a 3 million square foot venue. Oh yeah, and Goose had two cameras, four mics and about 100 yards of cables to tote around. (I exaggerate. I think.)

Basically, we were prepared to just be prepared.

At one minute, Matt would be on a platform over the end zone. At the next, he'd be standing in the end zone with Al suspended 90 feet in the air. All of a sudden, Matt is on a golf cart with Jerry Jones headed for the other end zone. Then he's in the locker room. Then the concourse. It was amazing to watch. Those producers did such a fantastic job. Side note: I wish I had time to write and entire blog dedicated to watching the engineers, production, PR and everyone else cranking out a flawless show. They never get the credit they deserve!

My team arrived at the stadium 5 a.m., with no food, and no water, and NO COFFEE in our systems. The Mystery Anchor was also extremely ill, which will make for a fantastic blog once she starts. We spent three hours hurrying up and waiting, trying to be ready at the drop of a hat to get our video with the Today show folks while trying to take advantage of the down time by shooting our own video and commercials.

Then, came the moment we'd all been waiting for. In between a segment about gourmet stadium food and a segment with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, we had an entire 90 seconds to shoot the six promos I had written. So, I picked my favorite two, grabbed the cue cards out of my bag (which made me feel like a TOTAL nerd) and started hurling out instructions. Matt and Al totally understood where I was going with the promos, added their own flare, and Goose captured it all beautifully.

Then, the birds started chirping, the Today show team headed for the airport, and we headed to Starbucks to caffienate ourselves and begin our long drive back to A-town.

Some fun facts: Chris, Goose and I accidentally showed up in one of the segments. Thank goodness Mystery Anchor managed to remain a mystery. You can read Chris's blog about it here.

We wanted to get some of the video we shot on the air that night, so in order to make it all make sense we interviewed Chris about his day while walking back to the car. Well, at least that's what we wanted it to look like. Watch the video here.

Someone fed us! I will be eternally grateful to a member of Blue Star Media who brought us boxes breakfast from some mythical food area. I'll keep him anonymous so he won't get in trouble for feeding four kiddos who should have thought to pack a breakfast the night before.

See some of the photos we took here. The photos with all of us in them were taken by the programming director at my old station, KXAS, who was also at the taping. I'm so grateful to him for snapping those!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Really Happens on Friday Nights

Here's a typical Friday night in the newsroom during football season. Keep in mind, most of us don't normally work at night, so our presence is half favor, half thrill of the game (news, not football).

I can't speak for what goes on outside of the newsroom, but I'd guess we have about 5-6 people shooting highlights from 15 or so games.

For the rest of us, it's all about the phone.

We usually go to dinner and come back to the station at 7:30 or 8:00. Sometimes we order pizza; sometimes we'll have a big barbecue out back. Often our family members come up and join us and sometimes they even help out.

The phone starts ringing at around 8:30 with half-time scores. There are a couple people who answer the phones and then write the scores on a big white board that's been all filled out with all the night's games.

Once we spot a new score on the board, one of us enters it into the news ticker. One of us enters it into the graphics for Friday Night Live and KTAB Football Xtreme. Another one or two of us go through and triple-check everything. You do NOT want to get the score wrong or you'll hear about it!

Then, it starts to get crazy. The scores are changing, it's getting late, and we're trying to get everything on the air. Keep in mind, we also have the news to get on!

Often, we'll look up at the big board at 9:30 and realize no one has called in with the scores of several games. So we start making calls. We have the phone numbers of some trusty people who we know will be there. Plus, this is West Texas, so almost everyone, especially in the smaller towns, knows who won. We'll call the convenience store or the Taco Bell near whatever stadium the game is at. We'll call friends who are teachers in the district and no doubt have been updated on the score.

Now, I'm completely forgetting our sports department. They're scrambling to edit video, grab highlights, comb through interviews, write scripts, put everything in order, and make sure their 60-ish hours of preparation that week will all play out on the air.

Then, someone's inevitably in overtime and we wait on the edge of our seats to get the final score. Then, finally, the board is all filled up, the shows are over, the ticker and web scores are finished, and we get the heck out of there and go to bed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One Person Can Make a Difference

In the news business, it's not uncommon for journalists to come across or cover stories about the less fortunate. In fact, it's probably the norm. After awhile, we can sadly become desenitized to those in need. We're so used to seeing stories like theirs that we no longer feel the emotions we should or once did. It's an unfortunate reality of our position...and one we should work to overcome.

It's also not uncommon for someone to return from a story and say something like, "man, they really need help" or "that was sad." What isn't common is someone actually doing something about it. It takes time, energy, leadership, and work you wouldn't otherwise have to do. Who has time for that? Katherine Lane does...

After covering a story about Abilene's homeless population trying to cope with triple digit heat, she decided we should do something about it. She marched into my office with a plan for a heat relief drive. My initial thought: that takes time, energy, and extra work. Do I really want to do that? Bottom line: that's extra work for a lot of people. I told Katherine to put her ideas on paper along with a timeline. I half hoped she'd forget. Thankfully, she didn't.

She did exactly what I asked...broken down by each day...and how we'd get each little thing done. Katherine took the initiative to rally other folks in the building to get behind the effort. She became the organizer and leader of this effort. Whether I wanted to give in our not, I didn't have a choice. Her energy and enthusiasm were contageous. KTAB was going to do a heat relief drive for the homeless.

Watching Katherine at work Wednesday was a pleasure. She saw a need in our community and she was doing something about it. Our newsroom makes me proud all the time. Sometimes it's landing the big story....other times it's helping out someone in the newsroom in a crunch....other times it's going above-and-beyond to make our broadcasts the best they can be. But today, I couldn't remember a time when I was more proud of a member of our team.

We all get caught up in life's daily grind and often forget to think about what's important in life. We could all use a reminder everyone once in awhile. Today, Katerine gave that to us.

Of course, it wasn't all Katherine. A special thanks to everyone who responded to her call and brought by items for Love and Care Ministries to distribute. You guys always come through!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Share Your Cronkite Memories

The "most trusted man in America" is gone.

Walter Cronkite, who personified television journalism for more than a generation as anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News," has died. CBS vice president Linda Mason says Cronkite died at 7:42 p.m. Friday with his family by his side at his home in New York after a long illness. He was 92.

People across america are sharing their memories of the legendary newsman. We're inviting you to do the same by posting a comment below.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

North Texas Reporter Dies

A North Texas reporter whose stories ran numberous times on KRBC over the years died today from complications stemming from pancreatitis. Brett Johnson was only 48 years old. Click here to read more about his life and stories on the KXAS, NBC 5 website.

View more news videos at:

Here are some links to recent Brett Johnson stories that ran on KRBC and

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

McCartney Returns to Texas

One of music's last great megastars will perform in Texas again. Paul McCartney is set for an August 19 concert at Cowboys stadium. Tickets go onsale July 20.

I was fortunate enough to attend a McCartney concert in 1999 (or something like that) at Reunion Arena. It was amazing. It was like experiencing a lesson in music history. To date, it's been the best concert I've attended.

I always hoped to go to a Michael Jackson concert one day. A Jackson concert might have been able to top McCartney. That never happened.

McCartney may now be music's biggest living legend. Just like we'll never see another Michael Jackson, we'll probably never see another Beatles. That's why this will be an unforgettable concert experience.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Who's the bio father? Who cares!

I'd like to take this opportunity to express my annoyance over this new search for the biological father of Michael Jackson's kids.

First of all, I've said for years that he's not the bio dad, because those kids look nothing like he did at that age. Now I feel terrible about that. Because who cares?

Without getting in to my complete disagreeance with surrogacy, egg/sperm donation etc., Michael's name is on their birth certificate and he cared for them from birth. That makes him their real dad.

Everyone in the world knows Tom Cruise's kids are adopted. Everyone also feels the need to point that out when referring to them. But if he died, NO ONE would be out trying to hunt down their biological father. It's completely tacky and irrelevant.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Music's Last Great Icon

There have been only a few elite acts that have changed the face and future of the music industry: The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson.

Jackson has influenced more current artists than anyone else. The name Michael Jackson is probably better known than Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, or Pope Benedict. When he announced that he'd do dozens of shows in London, he sold them all out in minutes.

What current artist could do that? Madonna? Justin Timberlake? U2? Beyonce? George Strait? There isn't one.

The greatest concert I attended, and may ever attend, was Paul McCartney. It was a history lesson. It was a trip through music history. It was an experience. How could a single group produce so many hits? How did they change and influence music over the years...and remain relevant?

Some would argue there was nothing relevant about Michael Jackson anymore. It's certainly been awhile since he's produced a hit. However, I think we're rediscovering Jackson's relevance in his death.

I'm not sure that we'll ever see an artist who influenced so many other artists or had the ability to draw crowds like Michael Jackson. I'm not sure we'll ever see an artist whose music can stand the test of time as Jackson's did. I'm not sure we'll ever see or experience another icon like "The King of Pop."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Memories of Michael Jackson

Multiple sources are now confirming the death of Michael Jackson. Share your memories with us about the "King of Pop" in the area below.

Addicted to Reality TV?

Thank goodness “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here”, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” and “Jon and Kate Plus 8” are off the air for awhile. Hopefully now, I’ll quit sitting in front of the television every night!

Lately, I’ve spent my Mondays flipping between “I’m A Celebrity…” and “Jon and Kate.” I’ll admit, there’s no reason to watch “Jon and Kate” when they aren’t talking about their relationship. I don’t care about Jon visiting the guys from Orange County Chopper or the kids cooking with Emeril. Based on ratings, I don’t think I’m alone.

Tuesday, I move onto “I’m a Celebrity” and NJ Housewives. The girls of New Jersey are particularly interesting and insane. Mafia connections? I think so. I’ll have the DVR rolling tonight for part 2 of the reunion tonight. I’m interested to see why the rock of the group, Caroline, breaks down like a schoolgirl after skinning her knee. I just heard some buzz in the newsroom that a Danielle sex tape is out there and may be released soon. Geez! Sounds like these housewives will be back for a second season.

Wednesday, it’s onto “I’m a Celebrity” and “Top Chef: Masters.” I like seeing these celebrity chefs struggle. It’s not so easy, huh? Back in the day, I hated Top Chef but have quickly grown to love it. It was painful seeing Tim Love struggle like he did a couple weeks ago. We’ve been to a couple of his restaurants in Fort Worth. He seems like a great chef, but it’s definitely not easy when you’re given a challenge.

As far as "I'm a Celebrity..." goes, I think the right person won last night. Lou Diamond Phillips did a great job throughout the competition. Torrie Wilson also brought it. Hopefully, they get a better group of celebrities next year so more people watch it. If not, that could be the end of that reality show.

So now that the reality fever is over, I wonder what’s next. Will I find a new show? Will I find a hobby? We’ll see…

Monday, June 15, 2009

Working Mom

My name is Brandi Fordyce, and I am the assignments editor for both KTAB and KRBC. I am married and the proud mother of two great kids. Jackie is 3 years old, and Wyatt is 2 months.

For me, making the decision to go back to work after Wyatt was born was a tough one. I love my job! I love my kids! What do I do? Do I quit my job and become a stay at home mom or do I go back to work? I chose to return to work. My husband and I had numerous discussions on what would be best for our family, and in the end returning to work was the best decision for us.

Now that I’m back to work the juggling act has begun. My day starts at 6 a.m. I get both kids dressed, fed and ready for the day. My mother takes care of Jackie and Wyatt while I work. She is one of the main reasons why I felt like I could go back to work. She is awesome with the kids and loves them like they are hers. I try to have the kids to her house by 8:45 a.m but it’s more like 8:55 a.m.when we actually get there.

Work starts at 9 a.m. I’m usually late. Getting out of the house is hard. My job is demanding. All day long I answer phones, write stories, listen to police scanners, answer questions and make sure our newscasts have good local content. It’s stressful but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I leave work at 6 p.m. and go pick up my family. On a good night my hubby has beaten me home and started dinner. If not, I do. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. it’s family time with Jackie and Wyatt. After that, it is the 4B’s for Jackie- bath, brush teeth, book and bed. Then it’s Wyatt time. He eats every two hours. So that means I am up at 12 a.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Needless to say I don’t get much sleep.

At first I was worried about missing out on their lives by choosing to work. What if I miss their first step or first smile? The way I look at it, it is only the first. My kids are going to take millions of steps and have millions of smiles and I will be there for most of them. So what if I didn’t get to see the first. Our family makes the most of the time we have.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dog Wash Tested

Our dog recently got skunked and is still a little stinky. So, we decided to test out the new dog wash near Buffalo Gap Rd. along Winters Freeway. Here's a snippet of our experience.

Overall, we enjoyed the place. It's $5 and a little difficult to rinse the dog off because of the tub slowly draining. However, it's perfect if your dog ever gets really nasty!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Racist Press Release?

Sometimes people can make racist digs and not even know it. Like a certain elderly relative of mine who says things like, "She's black, but she's really pretty."

We get a lot of sloppily-written press releases and news tips, and yesterday's really irked me.

They are a Hispanic couple, but chose to renovate this house in this community, and it is beautiful.

Did you catch it?

They are a Hispanic couple, but chose to renovate this house in this community, and it is beautiful.

Even if it said "and," does it really matter what race they are?!

I'm not originally from Abilene and I don't know the demographics of the community in which this beautiful renovation took place. Is it primarily Hispanic? Black? White? Don't know, don't care.

Watch what you say, people. We're all the same.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jon and Kate: Who Do You Support?

We all usually try to remain impartial in the newsroom. We’re journalists. We don’t take sides.

Unless, of course, we’re debating the growing rift between reality television stars Jon and Kate Gosselin.

That’s an issue we just can’t keep silent on.

I wasn’t one of the 9.8 million people who watched the season premiere of “Jon or Kate Plus 8.” I forgot about it! So, I was one of the few million that likely watched last night’s encore presentation.

I hate to admit it – but I was on the edge of my seat for the entire hour!

Throughout the years this show has been on TV, I always felt Kate Gosselin mistreated her husband. Usually, it was barking orders at him. However, it now looks like she’s telling him how to live. Jon is a passive fellow. I’m guessing Jon kept all his frustration inside and then finally exploded. Was he in the wrong? Sure. Did Kate deserve it? No…no one deserves it. Did she ask for it? You bet!

I, like millions of others, will be glued to my television set for the rest of the season. Do I feel good about watching it? No. I worry about the kids. But like a train wreck, it’s difficult not to look.

Hopefully, this will be the last season. We’ll just have to wait and see…

Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome Sam

It's a great thing to work with a long-term friend. We miss Kira who moved back home to Florida last week. Kira and I had a great working relationship and friendship after doing Daybreak and Noontab for three years. It's great to have Sam Nichols with us for Daybreak and Noontab. Sam and I have been friends for years. Sam is a professional broadcaster and a good friend. He's also a pro and a diligent meteorologist. We can cover for each other. It's going to be good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adios Partner

Kira Miner is moving back to Florida. Kira has a great opportunity with the Fox Network station very near her hometown. She can be close to her family and back home. It's a great opportunity. She also can throw away that alarm clock set for 2:00 AM. She's not doing the early morning news. Kira is a great girl. She rarely rolled her eyes like my own children even when I offered unsolicited fatherly advice. I'll miss my partner...but the best and brightest young reporters, anchors and weather people always move on after a few years. I've noticed that her forecasts are usually the closest to accurate in the morning. She's good. It's been a great three years partner. Adios. God Bless You and your family.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Saying Goodbye To Kira

On Wednesday, May 20, 2009, KTAB said goodbye to meteorologist Kira Miner. She's leaving us to go home to Florida. She'll be be the weekend weathercaster for WFTX in Ft. Myers, Florida.

We've posted some pictures from her final week in the area below. Please take the time to leave your goodbye comments for Kira below.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Classy Competition at KTXS

If a competitor of your business fell on bad you a distinct would be a good thing, right?

What if you could do something to help them out?
Would you?
Or would you capitalize on their misfortune?

At the 1964 winter Olympics, a British bobsled team in second place discovered a broken bolt on its sled. They didn't have another bolt. The competition should have been over. Instead, the Italian bobsled driver sitting in first place...who had already finished...removed a bolt from his sled and gave it to the British team. The British team won gold. When asked if he regretted the move, the Italian driver confidently said no. It was the right thing to do.
Obviously, Abilene television isn't on the scale of the Olympic Games. However, there's competition. It's business.

When the digital antenna shared by KTAB and KRBC went down late Wednesday, KTXS had a distinct advantage over their competition. Rather than capitalizing on our misfortune, they offered to help. Prior to Thursday's 6 p.m. newscast, KTXS began broadcasting KTAB via the station's digital tier on channel 12.3. The move also allowed Dish Network to receive KTAB's signal and send it out to satellite customers.

So why did they do it? They certainly didn't have to...I'm sure station management felt it was the right thing to do.

If they had another channel to give, I'm sure they would've put KRBC up as well.

I applaud their decision. You should too. I hope people recognize and appreciate the selfless decision made by KTXS management to help provide KTAB viewers with the programs they regularly enjoy.

To everyone who works for KTXS: take pride in your station and leadership. If the time ever comes, we look forward to returning the favor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can't by without a little help from the audience

The curtain has closed on the final show in the Broadway in Abilene series.

Rain, a Beatles tribute concert, was fun but it could have been a whole lot better with a little help from the audience. A whole lot better.

First I'll set the stage by explaining how the show worked. The actors/musicians played all the music live, and there was very little dialog. Projection screens helped put the audience in the right place in history, using archive footage of screaming teenagers and old television commercials from the '60s. The show also used live cameras with the proper effects to weave the live band and the Abilene audience into the historical feel of the '60s.

The camera effects were awesome, but there was no fooling anyone. The director would cut from (actual) screaming teens in the '60s to very-much-not screaming adults in the live audience. Not that anyone expected people to act like the blubbering fools in the real Beatles' presence, but a smile here and there would have been nice.

It felt a little like being at a polo match. Goal. Polite applause. Goal. Polite applause.

In the beginning, getting ticket holders to clap along to the oh-so-catchy music was a little like pulling teeth. Then, there's fake Paul begging the audience to sing along to "Yesterday." And begging, and begging. It just wasn't working. Then they stood up, but they didn't really twist... or shout... as instructed.

I clapped my hands off and sang as many of the words as I could but I was definitely in the minority. I get that true Beatles fans are not 28-year-old women who love boogie-ing at concerts but I just hate being part of a rough crowd. I'm sure my fellow audience members were quite happy hearing the awesomely accurate covers of what were probably some of their favorite songs, but couldn't they have come out of their shells and shown it a little more? I guess most of the concerts I attend also serve alcohol, of which a little seems to go a long way in releasing inhibitions.

I will say that by the time we had transitioned into Abby Road, the crowd was a lot looser seemed to be on their feet -- almost -- voluntarily. We did get some audible "Hey hey, goodbyes" and back-and-forth hand waving which I just ate up.

Bottom line, I thought the music was great, especially "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but I just wish I had been able to experience a touch of Beatlemania that I know the folks around me experienced back then.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Swear, I Get Some Work Done

I have a fever. An itch, even.

No, it's not some new airborne plague carried by mosquitos or grackles. It's something I've had since I was about 10 years old: Baseball Fever. It has caused a nearly-unhealthy obsession with my childhood team, the Texas Rangers.

I'm from the Dallas area, so really, I have my choice of four major sports teams. The obvious choice is the Cowboys, a five-time champion, model franchise (until recently... but that's another subject); the Mavericks, a perennial contender and, were it not for some questionable/probably-paid-off officiating (YEAH, I WENT THERE), near champions; and the Stars, who won a championship a decade ago in a sport called 'hockey'. I think.

But no. The Rangers are on my pedestal. And from that pedestal, they continually reach down and beat me over the head, year in and year out. And still I come back every spring, as hopeful as ever. It truly is 'the audacity of hope' to root for them.

And now that I work here, I'm having a hard time stifling this obsession. Opening Day is like a holiday for me, and my dad and I had a good streak going of consecutive openers attended. This year it was an impossibility, so I did the next best thing: I wore my Rangers jersey to work on April 6th.

And it did multiple things. First off, it totally helped the Rangers win! I did it! Second, of course, it sent the message that I'm slightly unhinged when it comes to this team.

Which brings us to Wednesday night. If you've read the most recent installation of Bob's Banter... and there's no reason to think you haven't... you know that it was a bit of a light news night. So, if a television in the newsroom happened to get flipped to the Rangers/Toronto Blue Jays game, you might understand why.

Along the way, though, a few cooky things happened.

My beloved Rangers, already hovering somewhere around the .500 mark, found themselves on the losing end of a 7-4 score headed into the final inning. Then things got weird in a hurry. A Toronto error helped Texas climb to 7-6. Then Michael Young, who has been with the Rangers seemingly forever, stepped to the plate as their last hope... and didn't disappoint! The shortstop-turned-third-baseman, who is usually known for hitting singles and doubles, muscled up and crushed a pitch out of the Toronto Skydome to tie the game.

That means a few things happened: first, extra innings! The more baseball the better, I say. It also meant that all the highlights Sports Director David Robinett had been preparing just became obsolete. Sorry, David! Third, and most pertinent to this blog, I stopped what I was doing, stood up, and bellowed an ear-splitting "YYYESSSS!!!!" through the newsroom, forgetting for a moment that I was not, in fact, sitting in the bleachers. Sorry, everyone. Continue what you were doing. Nothing to see here.

This was after what may turn out in hindsight to be the most exciting moment of 2009 for Texas: the major league debut of Derek Holland. Holland, who made his first appearance as a relief pitcher, is set to eventually become an elite starting pitcher, and something the Rangers have never had: a dynamic power left-hander. We die-hards are über-excited about this guy.

Then came the really weird part. Less than twelve hours earlier, the Rangers had a acquired a pitcher named Darren O'Day from the New York Mets. This guy went from eating lunch in Florida, to an airport in Tennessee, to a customs checkpoint in Toronto. As travel weary as he may have been, his day was just beginning. Team officials rushed O'Day directly to the stadium and warned him that he might get in the game that was going on right then. Turns out they were right.

There was just one minor issue: twelve hours didn't give the Rangers enough time to prepare a uniform for Darren O'Day. You know, the fancy ones with nice lettering that cost we the fans a hundred and fifty some-odd bucks or so. What did the Rangers brass do? Easy: they put him in someone else's uniform! Just like Bruce Wayne putting on a black rubber suit to become Batman, Darren O'Day put on someone else's jersey and became... Kason Gabbard? O'Day, a right-handed relief pitcher, was forced to wear the jersey that belongs to Gabbard, a lefty starter who isn't even currently on the Rangers roster.

And then, five pitches later, it was all over. O'Day/'Gabbard' gave up the winning run, and it was all over. Five pitches that will live in infamy.

I guess I could have just let him borrow my jersey... after all, the Rangers are undefeated when I've worn it in '09.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reporting the Good News

If you had asked me a day or two ago what the subject of my inaugural blog here on would be, I couldn't have imagined it would be a 47 year old Scottish woman on a British reality TV show singing a song from a French stage musical. It just doesn't make sense: I'm not British, I don't watch reality shows, I'm not particularly big on stage musicals, and singing competitions usually annoy me to no end. But more on all that later.

I get the feeling that the typical TV news viewer, whether he or she lives in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, or Abilene, Texas, thinks their TV stations enjoy reporting the bad news in their respective communities. And I understand why. Murders, car crashes, fires, philandering politicians, and the like fill up large portions of newscasts from coast to coast every night.

I started my job as the 10 pm news producer for KTAB-TV in mid-January, and have already seen more grassfires than I care to count. And then I think about the house fires, the murder trials, the tragic hit-and-run, and the tone-deaf former priest twice convicted of molestation. Then I consider the level of political discourse across the country, which at times has been downright scary (including people yelling "secede!" at Governor Perry yesterday?! Please think before you speak. No one wants to even think about going down that road).

And sometimes, the most unlikely thing catches your eye.

When producing a newscast, we try to end each show with a light-hearted or funny story. We in the business call these kinds of stories 'kickers'. Sometimes we can't get to them; breaking news happens, the show ends up running too long, etc. But on Wednesday, it was clear that our newscast had to include Susan Boyle.

Those unfamiliar with Ms. Boyle need only Click Here. Upon first glance... and second glance... and third... the 47-year-old Scotswoman seemed a little, well, off. Just like the typical tone-deaf wannabe reality contestants you've seen a thousand times before. A distant relative, perhaps, of American Idol's William Hung.

And then Susan Boyle began to sing.

I was fortunate enough to travel through parts of Europe the summer after my junior year of high school. While in London, I took in a performance of Les Misérables. What can I say? My girlfriend at the time, who was also on the trip, was a theater buff. The only thing I remember from the play was the announcement beforehand that an understudy would play Jean Valjean that night. I'm impressed I still remember that.

Hearing Susan Boyle sing made me sorry I'd forgotten the song 'I Dreamed A Dream' from that play. It's moving, it's beautiful, but it's an incredibly tragic song. And up until that moment in her life, Susan had been a most tragic character herself: 47, unmarried, mocked in school, learning disability, unemployed, never even been kissed. But by the time she had sang the first eight words of the song, her life as she knew it had already changed... by the time she sang the song's last line ("Now life has killed the dream I dreamed"), her life's dream was about to be realized.

Watch the clip from beginning to end. Even the most hard-hearted (I include myself in this category) will forget the producers' attempts to make her look like a crazy cat lady and see her as the woman who melted the hearts of a cynical audience (not to mention Simon Cowell!). Eat your hearts out, American Idols!

She's now the overwhelming favorite to win Britain's Got Talent, which would allow her to sing for the Queen of England. The YouTube clip you've just watched has existed less than a week, yet has already received millions upon millions of hits. Even the song itself, 'I Dreamed a Dream,' has gained (or regained) popularity; it currently sits at #43 in the iTunes top 100. Think that's happening without Susan?

Times are tough right now. Of course, you don't need any reminder of that... after all, you watch the news. But while we as a nation, and a community, continue to work our way toward more prosperous times, it certainly can't hurt to be a little inspired by Susan Boyle. By Miracle on the Hudson pilot Captain Chesley Sullenberger. By Captain Richard Phillips, who was ready to lay down his life at the hands of ruthless pirates so that his crew could stay safe... on the week before Easter, no less. Hello, symbolism!

Why write about Susan Boyle? Because I want everyone to know that we actually like good news. Because my favorite story in my short time here has been the immediate outpouring of help to a Hamby woman with MS who lost her scooter, her only mode of transportation; from the moment her story hit the airwaves, the calls started coming, offering replacements. That gave me a small taste of the awesome power and responsibility we have here in the newsroom. Because when good news happens, we want to be there to report it.

So when we do report the bad news, try not to let it beat you down. Even if it sometimes seems we're trying to do exactly that.

P.S. On a personal note, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to my co-workers, as well as the people I've met here in Abilene in my nearly 3 months of living here. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms... and for letting me produce your news.

City Council Debate

Tonight we're hosting two debates, one for Abilene City Council Place 1 and the other for Place 2. The debates will be posted in their entirety on

I've never put together a debate before so I hope I've done everything correctly. Luckily this isn't Bob's or Downing's first rodeo, so they've helped me out a lot.

Here are my fears:
  1. I'll forget to record them. I have one thing set to record straight into the computer and another to record on tape. But do I need a backup for my backup?
  2. The set won't be lit properly. We're taping this in one of the studios in an area that's normally lit for one person, not three. I'm sure it will be fine but it still worries me.
  3. We'll be ironing out the kinks for the first debate, and it will take so long to get it going that the next one will be pushed back and I won't get home til Friday morning!
  4. STORMS WILL HIT! Our #1 concern is our viewers and their safety, so if severe weather happens while we're supposed to be taping the debates, sorry guys. Gotta go on the air.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

High Heel Shoes Don't Pair Well with Breaking News

Yesterday when I heard that there was a fire in Callahan County, and that we could see the smoke from here, I knew we had to stream it live online.

It's a great way to bring news to viewers before the news comes on without interrupting soap operas or whatever happens to be on at the time.

We've had so many fires lately, the "breaking news on the web" drill has become second nature. You -- send out a breaking news alert. You -- type up something on the ticker to tell people to go to the web site. You -- run down the hallway and hook up the video from the truck to the live video page. That last "you," the one that involves running down the hallway, that's me.

Murphy's law states that if I wear high heels there will be breaking news.

Yesterday, however, it wasn't just high heels. My legs are incredibly sore from a class I took at the gym. I also sit behind a desk all day, so hopping up and running is no easy task! But, we got it on the web within minutes and we were able to give our viewers/users current information about an important news event.

And I need the exercise.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Mornings

Monday mornings are traditionally difficult for news reporters. Many people enjoy slow weekends. That's good for families and communities, but it makes it difficult to write a visually exciting newscast. We report the most important events from the day before and try to make it move quickly and smoothly. We also put in national economic stories and other national events that we believe the viewers care about. Television is all about video and video that peaks our interest also peaks the interest of the viewers. It's a challenge, but the slow pace of most weekends is one of the most important reasons why I chose to live and work in Abilene and give my family the peace and stability of a small West Texas community.

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