Thursday, December 29, 2011

Like a Centipede with Sore Feet

I have a strange tickle in my throat. I feel OK, but my voice sounds funny today. There is not much strength, and I have to concentrate even more than usual to speak clearly. It's not good. I have to be able to read the newscast and sound at least somewhat cogent when I banter with Monica.

Reading a 90-minute newscast takes a voice. You can't hide it for that long. Hot coffee helps, but people who listen closely can probably hear a little difference.

A TV news reporter without a strong voice is like a giraffe with a sore throat or a centipede with sore feet. It affects how we do the job.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's a sad story.

The story of the man who died last week in the alley in North Abilene is particularly sad. He apparently died alone and cold. The autopsy showed it was a matter of heart disease.

It was his 60th birthday. You have to wonder about the man. We know very little about him. That may be the way he wanted it.

We all have stories. Most don't crowd out the other vitally important information of the day in our limited time and space for news. I hope and pray that God will give peace and comfort to Paul Dunn's family and friends.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Tears for JoePa


I love to brag to my friends, family, co-workers, and basically any passerby that I got to go to Super Bowl XLV in Arlington to work earlier this year. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I'll never forget it. I worked with sports directors from New York and central Pennsylvania. One of the guys I worked with was the sports director at WTAJ-TV in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Just a short while ago, I saw a van with that station's logo emblazoned on the side being flipped over by a group of rioting Penn State students, following the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno. I thought about the anger they felt tonight, and as both a member of the media and a human being with a heart and conscience, I can't help but be irritated about their misplaced rage.

Coach Paterno is nothing less than a saint in central Pennsylvania (and beyond), and deserves all the accolades afforded him as major college football's winningest coach. But no one man is bigger than the tragedy that the nation has learned about within the last week.

A grand jury report lists eight young boys as victims of sexual abuse by former Penn St. assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. We now know that more victims not named in that report have come forward, saying Sandusky abused them as children. The scope of this man's (alleged) villainy may never be known. What is known is that the area of Pennsylvania occupied by this university prioritizes the Nittany Lions football program above almost everything else.

As I watch the coverage of Paterno's ousting, and watch the students infuriated by the news, I realize how much that football program is deified. And that's when I start thinking about the facts of this case. Imagine you're one of Sandusky's victims. You're a young boy, and an avid sports fan. Now, to me, being a sports fan means loving the Rangers, Cowboys, and Mavericks, but to someone from State College, Pennsylvania, it means Nittany Lions football (I highly recommend this article from grantland.com, written by a man who grew up surrounded by the culture of Penn State football, and the Paterno family itself). Many of the known victims were taken in by Jerry Sandusky, a major figure in that program, and given plenty of attention before being exposed to unspeakable acts. This is not a random criminal, or a stranger; the parents of these children didn't warn them to avoid people like Jerry Sandusky.

God only knows how many children have grown into young adults with the stigma of having been sexually assaulted by this man. I fear it's highly possible some may have taken their own lives, having never told anyone what they were subjected to. Those who lived on likely kept quiet because they have lived their whole lives knowing that everyone they've ever met unconditionally loves the Penn State football team, and that, quite frankly, the football team is bigger than them. Growing up with that mentality, it makes sense that they would keep quiet, fearing that coming forward would make them appear to be the troublemaker. My heart breaks for the victims, not for anyone involved in the football program. Even as this scandal began to break nationwide, it appeared that Paterno could not grasp the scope of Sandusky's alleged crimes; that having been immersed in a program as revered as Penn State football is, it is almost impossible to see anything else as being as important, no matter how sordid the details. Even when he announced his decision to retire early Wednesday afternoon, he appeared slightly aloof, saying that the Penn State board of trustees shouldn't spend time considering his job status. That, of course, is not his call. Paterno is named in the Sandusky grand jury report, and while I don't believe he committed a crime, the fact that he had knowledge of the scandal beforehand, no matter how little, ensures that his job status is not something he has the power to control.

It is truly sad that a man as revered as Joe Paterno had to lose his job over this scandal. But your heart shouldn't break for JoePa, or anyone else who loses their job at Penn State because of this scandal. It should break for the victims, and only the victims.

-Mark Moseley

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's a Shame

WOW! That was fun.

We got home late from a football game late Thursday night. I scheduled my last vacation day of the year today because I knew we would too late to answer the 2:30 alarm clock bell to get to work. I scheduled it weeks before the Rangers and Cardinals even got into the Major League Baseball playoffs.

I turned on the TV when we got home to see how game six of the World Series was going. I think it was four-to-four. The game was ugly with the fielders making big mis-adventures out of routine pop-ups and ground balls.

But, I'm a baseball fan, so I kept watching and trying to stay awake. I kept watching as it got later, and the Rangers got down to the last out, even the last strike of beating my favorite team....twice.

I'm a Josh Hamilton fan. His story of over-coming drug and alcohol addiction and claiming the spot of one of the best left-handed hitters in the game with his natural talent is inspiring. His homerun would have been a fitting game-winning hit for a memorable World Series.

I'm a Rangers fan. Their first title ever would be a great thing for the team and the game.

I'm also a Cardinals fan...have been for decades. Their refusal to quit was inspiring. There were no called third-strikes for those guys in the last few innings. Swing and see what happens. They did. What happened was exciting.

I'm a David Freese fan. He has his own story of overcoming alcohol and injury problems. His home-run is kind of like what little-leaguers dream about. Usually, your team is down by three, but the bases are loaded when you pop a grand slam to win it. Freese is from St. Louis. That makes it even better for him.

David Freese is a hero today. But, you can't win today's ball-game with yesterday's homerun. That's why I came up with the title of this post. It's a shame that one of these teams will lose tonight. Game six was one probably one of the best World Series games ever. Tonight, we will have game seven. The team that wins tonight is the world champion. The team that loses is just the team that lost. Go Rangers, Go Cards.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Divided Loyalty

My parents are from a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. I remember driving across the country several times from our home in Washington state to visit our grandmothers, aunts, unclues and cousins. The radio was part of the trip. The St. Louis Cardinals have a huge radio network. We listened to a lot of the games on the way. I also remember watching the 1968 World Series between the Cards and the Detroit Tigers. I skipped school to watch game seven on TV. The Tigers won four-one. Curt Flood mis-played a fly ball. Mike Shannon hit a home-run, but that was their only score. Disappointing day, but I've been a St. Louis Cardinals fan since the fourth grade.

Now, the Cards are against The Texas Rangers in the World Series. I never thought we'd see this, but I've been a fan since Dal Maxville and Julian Javier was the double-play combination. I watched the Lou Brock's chase of Maury Wills' stolen base record, the botched call and Juaquin Andujar's meltdown that cost the Cards the 1985 series against the Kansas City Royals and Mark McGuire's chase of Roger Maris' home run record.

I can't stop now even though I would be strongly behind the Rangers against ANY other National League team. I'm for the guy's who wear "The Birds on the Bat." Go Cards!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sometimes I Wonder

We make time available for live interviews for non-profit organizations promoting their events. We're happy to do it, and it's part of the responsibility of a TV station licensed by the Federal Communication Commission. We are obligated to broadcast in the public "interest, convenience and necessity." That means whatever the FCC says it means.

Our guests come in early for the opportunity to publicise their special events. They get here before six. They get about two-minutes of free air-time to tell us and the viewers about their projects. Two minutes on TV is valuable for their organizations.

There is a lot riding on your appearance on TV. It's a matter of respect for the viewers and for the industry. We learned in television 101 that we need to spend a minute making sure that the hair and smile look OK. It's imortant for men. It seems to be even more important for women.

We don't have a dress code for our studio guests. I know it's just a few minutes for them to spread their message, but I'm a little bit surprised at the casual ease that some have for being on TV.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Talented Seniors

I felt silly acting as a judge for The Senior Talent Show Saturday afternoon at the Abilene Civic Center. It was an honor to be there. All of those people were inspiring. One contestant recited Bible passages...and got emotionally affected by the meaning of the words. Another sang a song he performed for his daughter's wedding. A group of women sang America, The Beautiful. The most senior of the senior citizens did a harmonica tribute to America's military service men and and women. All of the contestants are inspiring. They all entertained the people there, and they all have messages worthy of our honor and respect.

The criteria on the judges' paper made the choices for the talent show clear, and the top three finishers were very deserving. But, the choices for the judges was very difficult.

I was humbled to be sitting there with the score-cards. They are all inspirational people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You Don't See Most of Us

We're getting a new technical director for our Daybreak and Noontab news reports this week. That means we will also have a new person to operate our news graphics computer...and a new camera operator for the studio camera.
Franklin Hughes is leaving. He's the guy who has been primarily responsible for the technical side of our reports. Franklin has been a very good partner for our reports. He replaced Jake Templeton, another good director. The next director will be Sharon Henley. She is very young and talented. I'm sure that she is going to be excellent. Our news reports go quickly, by design. It's time to get ready and roll. It requires quick thinking and quick action.
Monica and I work hard on our reports, but we can't do it without the people you don't see. I appreciate the talents and the dedication of the people who set and focus the cameras, operate the audio controls and punch all of the buttons on the control panel to actually put our reports on the air. It's very much the same for the news reports later in the day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Decision Made to Stop Airing Video of Ballpark Accident

There was quite a response via social media late Thursday from people asking us to stop airing/running video of the Rangers Ballpark accident involving Brownwood Firefighter Shannon Stone.

Video was shown during 10 p.m. broadcasts on Thursday and posted online before the extent of the injuries were known. It was during the newscast that we learned Mr. Stone has died.

Shortly thereafter, we learned more about the incident and continued to update bigcountryhomepage.com, Facebook, and Twitter. It was at that time that folks started asking us to take down the video of the accident.

I'll be honest: my initial reaction was to continue using the video. Out of respect for the situation, I don't want to dissect the reasons why. However, I initially felt it was still newsworthy.

A lengthy discussion ensued in both the KTAB and KRBC newsrooms about what they wanted to do. In the end, both stations decided not to run the video for various reasons. In some cases, the decision making process and debate lasted for hours.

Here's some of the reasoning they shared in memos to their respective staffs:

"Out of respect to the family, KTAB has chosen not to show video of the accident at the Ballpark At Arlington which claimed the life of Brownwood fireman Shannon Stone," wrote KTAB managing editor Bob Bartlett. " If video comes down showing the ambulance or paramedics at work, that would be okay. However, the video of the fall should not be used, nor anything that shows Stone before or after the accident."

"KRBC will not air the video that shows the firefighter in the stands," wrote KRBC Executive Producer Mark Moseley in a memo to his newsroom staff. "I have sat here for the last two hours contemplating this. The deciding factor for me is the fact that Mr. Stone's young son can be seen in this shot."

I'm very proud of both newsrooms for giving this situation the deep thought and respect it deserves. I fully support their respective decisions and am glad both chose the high road -- especially when their boss' gut decision leaned otherwise.

I hope you take pride in their decision as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Bittersweet Transition

This is the day. June 24th has been marked on the calendar here since afternoons were cool and the sun was down before Wheel of Fortune was over. My friend and partner Nance Burgin is packing up her thermometers, barometers, relative humidity devices and other tools and moving on. That makes it a bad day. The US Air Force needs Nance's husband for another job. I met the captain a few times. He's the kind of guy you want behind the controls of our military service planes. I appreciate all that he does, except perhaps today.

Nance is a hard-working meteorologist...serious about getting the forecast right every day. She's also a lot of fun. Most of the young people her age just roll their eyes at my corny jokes. Nance actually laughs. I think I remind her of her dad. That's an honor.

It has been a privilege to work with Nance. I was just thinking about the last few years. I have had a great privilege of working with a lot of good meteorologists. Sonya Stevens, Kira Miner, Kailey Franz and now Nance. They are all very bright, professional and conscientious. They were all delightful partners for the Daybreak and Noontab news broadcasts. I grew to appreciate all of them and considered them as friends. I stay in touch with a couple of them.

Now we have a new meteorologist for the morning and noon newscasts. Monica Tassoni has been working here for the last few days to learn about the computer programs and graphics we use and the little nuances of KTAB in general and this old newsman in particular. I'm sure that we will have a great time, too. She's from Philadelphia. The only problem I can see from here could be two Monday mornings in the Fall...if the Eagles beat the Cowboys. Welcome Monica. I know the mornings start early, but we'll have fun as we do this job.

Nance, I'm going to miss you partner. May God Bless you and your hero husband as you soar off into the wild blue yonder. Ron

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Police Scanners

Police scanners are constant companions for news reporters. There are times in the early morning hours that that's about the only sound I hear in the newsroom except for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboards. The scanners get to be routine. The calls range from routine traffic stops and cattle out on the roadways to officers reporting that they have finished their shifts and they're going home. We occasionally hear things on the scanners that get our attention. It may a different excitement level in the voices of the officers and radio dispatchers. It may just be different ten-code numbers. Those of the kinds of calls we listen closely to hear. We then decide if we need to send a reporter to get the details. That happened this morning with a death investigation. It turned out to be a man with medical problem. It's always a tragic event for the family...but usually not something for the news. I guess we learn to listen even when don't realize that we are.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Covering the President

Some members of our Big Country Homepage Staff have an exciting assignment today. Lane Stone, Brittany Pelletz and photographer Mark Gustafson are traveling to Austin to cover the appearance there of President Obama. Its going to be a busy day. It's also an interesting day for Abilene reporters. We don't get to cover a president very often. It's a little different than covering our local elected officials or even the members of the Texas Legislature or U.S. Congress.
Security is a lot tighter. It has to be. There will be many other news crews there. Some of them are not familiar with our Texas way of doing things. They will be in a bigger hurry and won't likely care much about the feelings of the crews from smaller cities.
There is an interesting feeling you get when you hear "Hail to the Chief." The office requires respect. I hope they have a great time. I look forward to seeing the reports.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

All That Racquet


Don't call it a comeback!

I think I'm finally ready to do athletic things again. As of this writing, it's been 2 years, 8 months, and 2 days since I had surgery to repair damaged cartilage in my left knee (pre-op photo attached). Now, I'm not saying I had athletic prowess before the injury, but I was fairly active. That may have been my downfall; it was during a game of baseball that I suffered the injury.

Since the surgery, I've put very little stress on the bum knee. No basketball, no baseball, no tennis... one company game of kickball stands out, but that's a bunch of reporters playing, so how much stress could it really be?

Today, I stepped out on the tennis court for the first time in years to take on John Nolan-- at his own game, no less-- and put that knee to the test.

Surprisingly, it passed! Now all I need to do is remember how to serve and volley, and I'll be golden.

Next up, basketball? Anyone?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Props to Nance from a Viewer

We received this very nice e-mail from a viewer that I wanted to pass along. It's the type of note that's sure to make Nance's day!


I am a HUGE Fan your news station... In fact you are the only news station i am willing to watch!! I was a little disapointed the other morning when everyone gave Sam Nichols all the credit for Easter Sundays Weather Forecast when the storms came thru the Big Country. When in fact Nance Burgin was there in the studio when it all started. She was amazing!!! You could understand every bit of her on what, when, where and why the weather was so random and crazy. She was great with the graphics zooming in and out without getting nauseous, her drawings where big enough and able to follow easily. At one point she was getting many updates with in seconds and was great at receiving them and informing the public. She was wonderful during the hole hour and a half she had stopped one time to get something to drink which she deserved and apologized for it. My family and I thought it was funny of her to apologize because she deserved a drink by then because she was so busy relaying all of the updates. Its not that we don't love and appreciate Sam Nichols because we do. We just thought that Nance Burgin did indeed deserve a big thanks and a big high five for what she had did for the public that day!!! She did an amazing job and i would like for her to get a little credit for being the one who started the weather announcements on Easter Sunday when the crazy storm formed out of nowhere, after all she was there and stayed on top of it like a pro!!! Way to Go Nance Burgin!!!


Big Fan of KTAB


To the viewer who sent this, thanks for sharing! We'll give her that hi-five on your behalf :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Honoring the Veterans

This story of the World War Two veterans going to Washington, DC stirs some great personal memories. I was the Washington State representative for a national speech contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars back in 1976. The veterans paid for one high school student from each state to fly to Washington, stay in a nice hotel, eat heartily as teenagers do and visit the Memorials on the National Mall, The White House, The Capitol and other tourist and historical sites there. The old soldiers honored us. I was too young and immature to appreciate the irony. I was a high school student who had done nothing significant and they were honoring me for writing a three-minute speech and sending it in. The veterans had served in horribly difficult places like Normandy, Guadalcanal, North Africa and Meat Loaf Hill. And yet, they were honoring us. Now that I'm about the age they were then, I understand a little bit better. They just wanted to know that someone from the next generation would appreciate the freedoms they fought for. It's a sobering thought. Thank you veterans.

Monday, March 28, 2011

R.U.D.E.

I have to preface this email with a little confession – I love Fort Worth and tend to feel more at home there than I do in Abilene. Not because I don't love Abilene too, I just have a lot of family and friends and memories in Fort Worth.

That being said...

Meanest. Drivers. Ever.

I was there last Monday and found myself on the west edge of downtown, picking up my brother at his job at Radio Shack headquarters for a lunch date. I've driven in Fort Worth a bunch of times, but not on those particular streets any more than once or twice.



On our way to the restaurant, I braked and started to turn from Montgomery on to Lancaster, as my brother warned me that I actually needed to take the next turn on to Camp Bowie. I can't imagine my slight mistake made any real difference to the car behind me, but that did not stop him or her from laying on the horn. I'm talking a solid 15 seconds of blasting me for no valid reason! I may or may not have honked back in a very ugly way... for which I am sorry. But still, geez!



After dropping my brother back at work, I failed at trying to navigate a fork in the road. The traffic was really heavy in this area, and I ended up having to sit in the little median wedge for a sec before zipping into the correct lane. Yes, I was cutting it close, but the car that was actually affected didn't seem to care. The MASSIVE pickup truck behind that, however, was peeeeeeved. Commence another ridiculously long horn honk! But this one actually lasted a good 30 seconds, and the driver followed me around, keeping up the honking! I waved, nodded, waved, shrugged, waved...

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK
HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK.

Seriously? Your life is that stressful that you need to blow a horn for that long?

Instantly, I was grateful for the polite, laid-back attitude of Abilene drivers and the lack of traffic. Now I know that Abilene had a deadly road rage incident recently, but I'm not taking that into consideration right now. I just want to commend the 99.9% of drivers here who wave to let others through, wait their turns, and forgive honest mistakes like mine.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Alarm Clock is not a Demon

I took off work for the first three days of this week to spend time with my family for Spring Break. It was great to spend time goofing off together and enjoy our opportunities to relax together and laugh and play. I needed a few days without the alarm clock going off at still dark-30.

It was not all just playing and goofing off. We had a tree in the front yard die, and when my grown son and his wife left to go back to the Metroplex, my teenaged son, my mother-in-law and I got out there to cut it down. We should have rented, borrowed or bought a chain saw. Cutting down a tree is hard work. We all took turns with the lops, ax and the hand saws. I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I found some muscles that haven't seen much exertion in a long, long time.

It was a good reminder for me that the hardest physical part of my job is answering the middle of the night bell. After that, the only physical exertion is carrying the laptop back and forth between the newsroom and the studio. It's about 20-yards. A tip of the cap to all of you who do the physical work that has to get done. My respect for your skills, talents and strength have been reinforced again.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Billie Dunn Backs Out of Web Chat

There was no web chat with the mother of Hailey Dunn Monday evening as previously advertised. Thirty minutes before the web chat was set to begin, Billie Dunn backed out.

I think we’d all admit the move isn’t exactly shocking. It may be a little disappointing – but not entirely all that surprising.

When we originally planned this concept, we thought it would be a great way for many of the Dunn case followers from across the nation to conveniently get their questions answered by Hailey’s mother. The idea had harmless intentions.

Just a few days after announcing the chat, Mitchell County Sheriff Patrick Toombs released the information that child pornography and images depicting bestiality were found in the Dunn home. Billie accepted our request for an interview that day regarding the discovery. At the time, she discussed Monday’s web chat and seemed to indicate she was looking forward to it.

Hours later, she turned down HLN’s Nancy Grace – something that she’s never done before.

At some point thereafter, we found out was no longer appearing at Sunday’s rally in Mansfield.

It didn’t look like Billie Dunn was going to be the open book she once was….

However, she confirmed to KTAB’s Priscilla Luong on Monday afternoon that she was still on board for the web chat. Priscilla described her as tentative if not scared. Still, Priscilla reminded her that we had promoted the event and people were counting on it to happen.

Hours before the event was set to take place, hundreds of people were already in the chat room asking questions and throwing around theories. Admittedly, there were things in there that a grieving mother didn’t need to see. I took a call from a woman who asked how we planned to moderate the room. I told her we’d be removing comments and deleting users that didn’t remain respectful of the situation. Her response: so you’re going to kick everyone out?

At that point, we decided Billie didn’t need to look at the chat room during the course of the event. Maria Oliver, who you might remember from KRBC, would view all the questions and ask the relevant ones. Maria is very familiar with the case and would’ve done a good job. But, we wouldn’t get that far…

Maria stopped by the Dunn homes shortly after 4 p.m. to go over some ground rules for the chat and discuss exactly how things would take place. She tells me Billie came to the door and said she wasn’t going to take part in the chat. Billie said she was going out of town with relatives and she didn’t want them to have to wait on her. Billie quickly closed the door and went back inside the home.

Maria returned shortly thereafter in an attempt to get Billie to explain, on camera, why she pulled out of the event. This time, Billie didn’t come to the door.

I know people have already read into this – what does it mean? why did she really back out? what is she hiding? I can’t really blame her for backing out. If I were in her shoes, I might have done the same thing. However, I don’t think I would’ve agreed to it in the first place.

In the end, this doesn’t hold any significance in the much bigger picture of safely bringing Hailey home. You can label it another small surprise in what has been a case loaded with twists, turns, and sometimes stunning developments.

To those of you hoping to take part, our apologies for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pain in the Axle

I got into my car the other day and felt a strange tug as I started to back up. There was also a strange noise. I raised the hood and noticed that the power steering fluid tank was empty...bone-dry. I poured in a $3.79 bottle of the stuff and tried it out. No more tug and no more noise.

I forgot all about it, but then it happened again about two-days later. A mechanic friend checked it and told me that there is CV boot torn on the axle. He checked a little deeper and found that a little valve on the rack and pinion steering mechanism was leaking. He said it may be a casualty of the February Freeze. Those big chunks of ice may have torn the rubber boot and allowed the dirty snow, ice and slush to damage the little valve.

Nobody fixes the little valve. They replace the whole thing. Bottom line...about $600 bucks. That's not really how I wanted to spend $600 bucks, but my car is paid for...so it will have to be done. I guess it could have been worse. I could have wrapped it around a telephone pole or something.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tragic Shooting Hits Close to Home

If you’ve followed coverage of the Sayles Boulevard shooting, then you’ve likely seen or read reports that the victim’s mother works for KTAB-KRBC. Sari David, mother of Austin David, is a longtime employee of the stations.

In some ways, you could call Sari an unofficial member of the newsroom. Though she works in sales, it’s not uncommon for her to stop by to give a news tip, suggest an angle for a story, or mention something she thinks would add to our coverage. Like many of us, you could call Sari a newshound.

As you can imagine, it was quite difficult for our reporters and photographers to do their jobs on the afternoon of February 9 while watching a co-worker break down after driving up on the scene of her son’s death. I admire their professionalism throughout the process. The same goes for everyone back at the station who had to organize the breaking information while struggling with what had happened to one of their peers. While our hearts our heavy for a mother who lost her son, it’s our obligation to threat this situation just as we would any other story.

It’s our job not to have an opinion; it’s our job to relay information. As journalists, we allow law enforcement, jurors, and judges to make decisions on who is wrong and right. Some have noted that we couldn’t possibly be unbiased in our reporting on this case. I can understand why someone would say that. However, I can assure you everyone that we’ve gone out of our way to be as fair and balanced as possible. We did everything possible to treat this as any other story.

That being said, I think we could all agree this is a tragic situation for our community. No matter the circumstances, no one wants an argument in broad daylight to end in gunfire….no one wants a mother to lose her son….no one wants two young children to lose their father.

A number of us from the station attended Austin’s memorial service Saturday to show our support for Sari and the David family. While the service was full of emotional and touching tributes to the 21-year-old father, there’s one stirring moment that stuck out to me.

During a portion of the service where friends and family were invited to share stories and memories of Austin, an older gentleman walked up to the podium. He was a complete stranger to everyone in the room. The man told a story about a recent flat tire that he was struggling to change by himself in a grocery store parking lot. He watched as car after car drove by. One person, Austin David, pulled up and offered a hand. “You’re too young to be jacking up that car by yourself,” he said as he offered to do the job for the stranger.

After hearing of the shooting and recognizing Austin, the older man said he wanted to attend the funeral as a way of saying “thank you” to the young man who was the only person to “love his neighbor as himself” that day. He encouraged everyone there to do the same.

After the service, the man went up to the David family and apologized just in case he intruded. Not hardly, Sari said. It turned out to be a beautiful tribute.

As I reflect on the moment, it certainly raises some questions for me. Have I gone out of my way to help a neighbor in need? Would a complete stranger come to my funeral?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ochocinco Hearts Me: The Super Bowl Experience


Even though they've been preparing for it their whole lives, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers didn't learn they'd be going to Super Bowl XLV until just over 2 weeks ago. I, on the other hand, have decidedly not been preparing for such an occurrence my whole life. However, I learned well in advance that I'd be going to the big game.

I was asked to accompany a crew from other Nexstar stations across the country for team coverage of north Texas' first (and last?) Super Bowl. What would I be doing? Who cares... it's the Super Bowl. I said yes.

So even as the week of the game got closer, and the prospect of the region's worst winter storm in a decade and a half loomed, it was still the Super Bowl, and I was going. But whatever vision I had of a Super Bowl experience was erased very quickly, and replaced by a series of strange events.

I left Abilene the Monday before the game, which was one night before Media Day, which has become the biggest circus this side of Barnum & Bailey. I was especially looking forward to this, because the freaks are out in full force, and it just keeps getting weirder every year. Needless to say, it's my scene.

It was not to be.

My plan was to stop over for the night at my best friend's apartment in Denton, about 30ish miles from JerryWorld. Thanks to the aforementioned snowpocalypse, that brief stopover became a 2 and a half day stay. With roads looking and feeling more like ice rinks, and a wind chill in the negative teens, my goal was not to get to the Super Bowl, but to avoid becoming an icicle. My days consisted of coordinating with dozens of Nexstar stations, getting in touch with the crews already at the game, and playing video games. What else was I gonna do??

After the roads FINALLY became safe-ish for travel on Thursday, and after getting my car unstuck from a parking lot, it was off to the Sheraton Dallas for credential pickup and then straight to Cowboys Stadium. Though I would get my chance to witness the glitz and glamour of Super Bowl week later, the night was all about standing in the freezing cold and wind with the live crew from WROC in Rochester, New York. Sports Director John Kucko did nearly 20 live shots, including one with yours truly. This was to be our routine for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and post-game Sunday. And although it did start to warm up a tiny bit on Saturday, it was still the coldest I've EVER been, and ever hope to be.

But Friday made up for all that.

Radio Row is the place to be for celebrity gazing at the Super Bowl. In addition to all the big national media figures, for radio, TV, and print, the place was crawling with NFL players past and present, as well as celebrities. Name dropping would be stupid, because I am not cool enough to get to "meet" any of the famous people, but I got to be in their presence, which is plenty for me (You can see my experience here). Oh, and Chad Ochocinco said "I love you" to me. Still don't know how to feel about that.

Gameday was an entirely different experience; security was tighter, walks were longer, crowds were enormous-er, and EVERYBODY was wearing either green and gold or black and yellow. But aside from running into Owen Wilson in the stairwell under the stadium (NAME DROP), my experience was probably not much different than yours; I ate a hot dog and watched the game on TV. Perhaps there was one difference: my room was across the hall from the Steelers' locker room.

I may never return to the Super Bowl. If I don't, that's more than okay. I had plenty of awesome experiences just being near the game (I'm sure I'm leaving tons out), and I did my best to soak it all in. I probably made everyone I know sick to death of hearing about it...

But who cares. It's the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Big Game Allows Student to Mingle with A-Listers

The following blog was submitted by Chris Kellerman at the request of his brother Austin Kellerman, KTAB-KRBC News Director. On Friday, February 4, he ended up at a Super Bowl party with A-Listers. Here's how it all went down:

Dallas has turned into party central with the Super Bowl in town, and for a couple hours Friday night, I got the unlikely chance to experience it. A friend of mine, who happens to be a Catholic priest, invited me to join him at the Audi Forum cocktail party at the Rachofsky House in Dallas. His parents won the invitation in a silent auction and gave it to him—so we were not only lucky to be there, but totally out of our league!

After parking valet (fancy!), we stepped into the house and took glasses of champagne as Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore walked by. The DJ was playing great music, the food was great, and the venue was beautiful. We chatted briefly with “Glee” star Chord Overstreet and teen sensation Nick Jonas before getting to meet one of my all-time favorite pop stars—Justin Timberlake. We apologized for the bad weather in Dallas and told him we were rooting for “The Social Network” at the Oscars!

After talking to Justin, we turned around and, lo and behold, there was ex-Ranger (and yes, current New York Yankee) Mark Teixeira. Though all I wanted to ask him was how he felt after we whooped their butts in the ALCS, I managed to be polite. He told us, “Good luck this season.” You too, Mark. You’re going to need it.

A few minutes later, another “Glee” star—Matthew Morrison—strolled into the room with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his fiancĂ©e, Candice Crawford. Candice’s brother, “Gossip Girl” star Chace Crawford, accompanied them. We talked to all of them, and told Tony we couldn’t wait to see him back on the field.

After all the celebrities had left, we headed back to the valet and spotted Heisman winner Cam Newton along the way. We also heard that actor Hugh Jackman and supermodel Marisa Miller were in attendance, though we didn’t see them.

It was a pretty weird feeling to be drinking champagne with A-list stars and athletes. Heck, I’m just a grad student! I can’t imagine it being something I’ll experience again. But I’m glad I did.

Really, though? Did Teixeira have to be there?

Oh well. At least it wasn’t A-Rod.

Submitted by Chris Kellerman

Thursday, February 3, 2011

End Times: Are We in Them & Can We Predict When It Will Happen?

Tonight (Thursday) there is a story focusing on "The End Times" aka "Judgement Day."

I have my personal beliefs, which I will decline to share at this time, but I sought out many perspectives for this story.

We've become familiar with predictions ranging from the end of the winter solstice (The Mayan Calendar Theory), to Nostradamus, even the predictions from local sect leader, Yisrayl Hawkins.

This is a topic that consumes many minds, and many people have different beliefs based on religious texts and prophecies by many others. This web site, breaks down many different theories, some that have come and gone, others that are still ahead.

Without starting a religious war, here, leave your thoughts, and please be respectful of others opinions.. Ready, Set, Comment!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

RAW Video: KRBC's Tim Johnston on Ice

You've heard of "Disney on Ice" and "The Ice Capades," now, brace yourselves for "Tim Johnston on Ice!"

He gave a preview LIVE on KRBC's Abilene Today, and now he goes further for your enjoyment.
Beware, he's not on skates, oh and it was FREEZING, so the iPhone camera work was a little shaky.. consider it shivering.

ENJOY!


video

Monday, January 24, 2011

Not Too Old

We had a flag football game after church Sunday afternoon. I refuse to accept that I'm too old to play. I found my old tennis shoes and bundled up against the cold wind and went out on the field. It was a lot of fun. I caught a few passes and dropped a few more. I pulled a couple of flags and missed several others. We really didn't keep score. We just counted off and went out to play. We had children and teenagers seperated to make it more fun. I don't ever remember being able to run as fast as those kids can go. I must have been moving around quite a bit. My legs and back feel like some muscles that haven't moved around much in the last year or so got a workout. I operate the Teleprompter with a foot pedal, and that little step on the pedal sent a definite protest to the pain receptor corners of somewhere. If you see me grimace, it's probably from that pain...and not from the news.

I'm not too old. I was just born too many years ago. Those kids who only know about Apollo Eleven and Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind on the moon. Stepping down the single step from the news desk seems like a giant leap for me today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Year and Many Memories Later: A Look Back to Haiti

Hey all, it's Tim, and it's hard for me to believe it's been one year since I went with Dyess crews to Haiti.

WHOA!

Even more, it's hard to believe that country is still digging up remains and rubble from that massive quake.

Yes, it was bad. Yes, the country has it's "problems."

But when you think of a year's time passing, you think things would be closer to "normal."

My heart breaks just thinking that people in need one year ago, still need help.

At the same time, my heart rejoices knowing that several friends of mine just returned from their trip to Haiti to do just that, help those who haven't been helped.

But back to the start of this blog, I really enjoyed my time as an embedded reporter with the Dyess crews. They were kind to accommodate a few local journalists, but even beyond that they were extremely flexible.

One of the bigger frustrations for us as the traveling media was the uncertainty of our trip. One hour we'd be given the green light, the next hour we'd be told it was called off.

It's hard to handle when the deadlines to produce content don't change! Plus, three days of the "go-no go" roller coaster ride wears on you physically and emotionally, especially when we just wanted to be in Haiti where the action was at!

After finally "getting there," (which I say in quotes because we never left the airports tarmac) it was humbling to see the destruction from the air, and even more to see the people leaving everything behind.

I recall sitting on a crowded C-130, with refugees all around, many sat expressionless and idle. I thought to myself, "Where's the relief, where's the joy to get out of such destruction?"
Then I looked at the back of the cargo, for the 50 or so refugees, there were maybe 20 pieces of luggage.
It hit me. They were leaving everything! There's no way all of their clothes and possessions packed up in just a suitcase. On top of that, you know this wasn't a scenario where you lock your front door and hope you turned off the coffee maker.

There was rioting. There was looting. There was no way their homes or lives would ever be the same!

Another observation I continue to carry with me from the plane ride was the sight of the little children. On the flight, we passed out bottles of water to everyone, with many more to spare.

Yet, I watched kids cherish these bottles of water, one even hid his bottle it under a blanket.

My heart sank. Here was something we had a full supply of and yet this was something he didn't know if it would last long enough. Now, I have stopped and considered maybe he wasn't thirsty, but studying his body language you could see he was protecting the bottle.

The last and biggest memory I carry with me from that plane flight, was the sight of our media contact, a sergeant in the Air Force ride for two hours from Haiti to Miami on the floor of the plane holding a man who was physically unstable.

He held his hand and consoled him, he helped him stay propped up during the flight, he even helped clean up after the man "spit up."

It was the single greatest act of kindness and love you could imagine, and a true testament as to why these men and women were making these aide missions.

When we landed in Miami, in one voice the men and women turned to everyone and thanked them saying, "Thank you to the United States Air Force."

I cannot even begin to imagine what life would've been like outside our C-130, in the streets, with rubble all around, but I know in our own "little world" there were many victories and moments that stand out, even one year later.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Warm Newsroom

I worked as a reporter here at KTAB back in the 80's and 90's. It was often fun and exciting to cover the events as they were going on. I enjoyed the job...except those days when I had to wear a necktie when the thermometer topped the century mark...or when we had to concentrate to feel our fingers because of the cold. I'm now confined to the news desk most of the day producing and then delivering the news. It's not quite as exciting. But, it's a lot more comfortable. One of our photographers was leaving the building the building as I was coming in this morning. He was bundled up with a hat, gloves and a thick layer of jackets. He was smiling, but he was obviously cold. I saw Victor Sotelo and Priscilla Luong filing their reports from Colorado City. Their reports are vitally important, but they were obviously cold. Thank you guys for your hard work. Thanks to all of you who have outside jobs on days like today. There are construction crews, farmers, emergency service providers and others who have service to provide regardless of the temperatures. We appreciate your toughness. Thanks