Month: January 2023

RF Specialties

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Round Rock, TX

Corporate Information

Phone: (800) 278-0082
Address: 1045 Tenth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
United States

RF Specialties of Texas is affiliated with the nationwide RF Specialties Group. One of the largest suppliers of broadcast equipment and operates in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas & Louisiana.

The purchasing power of RF Specialties will ensure that you will always get the best prices, and our specialists are there to help you with custom projects, something that other generic online suppliers are not qualified to do.

We carry everything and every brand for broadcasting, literally from the microphones to the antennas with prompt service, competitive prices, best deliveries and helpful professionals who have decades of experience in the industry.

See our entire line available at where you can also view the newest Nautel VX line currently promoted by RF Specialties, or call us anytime to discuss your projects.

Return to Exhibitors

Continue reading

Burk Technology

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Round Rock, TX

Corporate Information

Phone: 978-486-0086
Address: 7 Beaver Brook Rd.
Littleton, MA 01460
United States

Burk Technology designs and manufactures high quality transmitter facility control systems for the broadcast industry, with thousands of active radio and TV installations across the US and around the world.

Burk remote control systems deliver comprehensive monitoring and control capabilities along with autonomous functions to keep remote sites running properly even when the communications network is down. Centralized management software provides control for up to hundreds of sites at Network Operations Centers and via on-prem or cloud-based web services for engineers and managers in the field. Configuration and hosting services are available to ensure fast, easy system implementation.

Return to Exhibitors

Continue reading

Eric Lassberg

2019 Television Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2019)

In his 13 years serving as Vice-President and General Manager of KXAN/KNVA/KBVO Austin, Eric Lassberg’s leadership and team building has raised the station to new heights.

He has established a culture that breeds excellence and inspires the staff to do their best each day, focused on a core purpose to inform and enrich the local community and make people’s lives better. 

Eric Lassberg

Lassberg’s passion for impactful local journalism is reflected in his support for growing the station’s investment in its newsroom, his appreciation for outstanding storytelling and his insistence that the station’s journalists be responsible, ethical and fair in their reporting.

Eight years ago, Lassberg laid out a vision for KXAN to become an impactful investigative news station, focusing on reporting that leads to positive change in our community.

Today, the station is consistently recognized for stories that help change laws, hold the powerful accountable and address public safety.

During the 2019 legislative session, more than a dozen bills were filed after KXAN investigations into problems such as maternal mortality and morbidity statewide, harassment in the workplace and toll drivers frustrated by exorbitant late fees and other vexing billing issues.

Under Lassberg’s leadership, KXAN has received numerous awards for journalism excellence. 

Among those awards are several Emmys, Texas Associated Press Broadcaster Awards (including the Freedom of Information Foundation Award), Headliners Foundation of Texas Awards, Edward R. Murrow Awards and an Alfred I. duPont Award from Columbia University.

In 2019, KXAN was awarded its third Walter Cronkite Award for Political Television Journalism for a special broadcast of political program, State of Texas, which focused on one long-form investigation into the Texas Railroad Commission Chairman and the conflicts of interest related to her politically prominent family.

Never one to be waylaid by adversity, Lassberg was moved to embrace the mission of the American Heart Association after the cardiac arrest of an employee, launching an initiative across all three stations known as Simple Health.

Lassberg utilized the stations’ multiple platforms to help provide Central Texans tools and resources to live healthier lives, particularly in advancing the AHA’s hands-only CPR training events which have trained more than 1,400 Central Texans.

His passion led to his selection as an AHA Board member and is reflected in his leadership on the TAB Board of Directors and his history of Board service for the Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area and Family Elder Care.

He also is a member of the Longhorn Advisory Council. 

Lassberg is the ideal example of what a broadcaster may achieve through hard work, core principals and a true belief in what television stations may achieve within a community. 

His belief in investigative journalism and community involvement makes the KXAN team proud to work for him, though he is the first to credit the team for the stations’ accomplishments.

“All I’ve done is surround myself with a team of people who are a lot smarter than I am. That’s a recipe of success for anyone,” he said.

His reflexive recognition of his team’s insightful leadership and dedication has created a culture in which everyone truly feels they are part of something that can make Central Texas better each day.

By creating such a culture, Lassberg has crafted one of the most respected television stations in the country whose impact is felt throughout the Lone Star State.

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Susan McEldoon

2018 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2018)

Susan McEldoon’s lifetime of dedication and preparation have come to distinguish her as TAB’s 2018 Broadcaster of the Year.

She joined KHOU-TV in 2004 as General Sales Manager and quickly moved up the ranks to become President/General Manager in 2007…the FIRST woman to hold that title at a Houston TV station.

Susan McEldoon

Under her leadership, the station has been recognized nationally with three of the most prestigious journalism awards in the country:

  • an Emmy for News Excellence,
  • the Alfred DuPont Columbia University Award for investigative reporting on TWO separate occasions, and
  • an Edward R. Murrow Award for Social Media.

In 2009, she was named Broadcasting & Cable’s General Manager of the Year in the large market category.

Her passion for the city of Houston, dedication to the station, and knack for creative problem-solving all came to bear in the past year as Houston and the station itself confronted one of the greatest natural disasters in the city’s history.

“I watched from our broadcast studios on the 19th floor as Hurricane Harvey’s rains swept over much of the city and inundated KHOU, and watched in real time as the the brave news team realized the station would be forced off the air,” said Sarah Frazier, General Manager of Entercom Radio Houston.

As if living proof that “chance favors the prepared mind,” McEldoon had worked months before the storm to plan for such an emergency.

She ensured her team had shelter and food, sleeping at the station for days…consoling and coaching those who had lost their own homes or cars.

In the days following the storm, she formed a partnership with Houston Public Media to temporarily relocate the station.  Now orchestrating operations across multiple sites in Houston and Dallas, she continues to work tirelessly to stabilize, restore and advance KHOU-TV’s commitment to the community.

Out of 47 Television stations in 39 markets across the country, TEGNA presented McEldoon with the company’s Manager of the Year Award in April.

She had been planning to retire at the end of 2017. But after the cascading impact of Harvey on her station’s operations, her heartfelt sense of obligation made her reconsider. Instead, she’s helping plan the station of the future at KHOU-TV’s new location.

“Since the day I rolled into Houston I have admired her,” Frazier said.

“She is a strong and confident business leader who serves as a model to her team, her fellow broadcasters and the people of Houston.”

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Brian Purdy

2017 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2017)

With 35 years in broadcasting, CBS Radio Dallas-Fort Worth Senior Vice President/Market Manager Brian Purdy has always been focused on effective, strategic leadership.

He started leading the CBS Radio group in 2004 after serving as Clear Channel Dallas’ Vice President/Market Manager (2001-2003).

Brian Purdy

Purdy began his Texas broadcast career with Clear Channel Houston, serving in various management roles, including Market Manager, from 1996-2001.

He orchestrated one of his team’s most successful years in 2016.

Having spent three years re-imagining his products to better meet the needs of the marketplace, his portfolio of stations enjoyed three stations in the Top 10 Adults 25-54, which had never happened before.

Both the legendary Classic Hits KLUV and a re-tooled JACK-FM ranked in the market’s Top 5, while Sportstalk The Fan (KRLD-FM) beat heritage sports leader, The Ticket, for the first time in station history.

With additional ratings strength at legendary Newsradio KRLD-AM, CBS Radio’s 2016 revenue outperformed the DFW market tenfold and lead the company in financial performance.

Perhaps most importantly, they again hit their stride serving the DFW community, raising more than $1.26 million during their “Christmas is for Children” Radiothon this past December.

One hundred percent of the funds raised over the two-day period, support pediatric patient care at Dallas’ Children’s Health.

Radio Ink magazine recognized Purdy as one of the “Best Managers in Radio,” in 2016 and also was nominated for Market Manager of the Year by the Dallas-Fort Worth Media Alliance Awards.

Always looking to innovate, Purdy created a new model for sports play-by-play broadcast partnerships.

Following a 2006 departure of the Dallas Cowboys from CBS Radio, Purdy won the rights back in 2009 by creating a pioneering radio station/team agreement featuring an asset exchange instead of rights fees.

The new structure was the foundation for a symbiotic relationship that was cost-effective for both the team and radio station.

In 2011, Purdy brought the idea to Houston, which resulted in a 10-year extension with the Houston Texans on SportsRadio 610 and KILT-FM, converting it from one of the most expensive NFL radio broadcast contracts in the company to one of the most efficient.

Both franchise partnerships are extremely profitable for CBS Radio and are now being replicated across the NFL.

“Brian went above and beyond to develop a true partnership and not just a contract, that was fair to all concerned,” said Jamey Rootes, President of the Houston Texans.

“As our rights holder, Brian not only worked diligently with us to create world class programming that would inform, entertain and engage our fans, but he consistently maintained a positive spirit of collaboration between our two organizations that inspired trust and led to additional opportunities to create value for both us and the station.”

Purdy has spent the last 20+ years in Texas mentoring his staff, many who have become Senior Executives in their own right.

His network reaches throughout the state and beyond, and he is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the radio industry.

His management teams are built on merit, without bias of gender, ethnicity or lifestyle.

Purdy has served several terms on the TAB Board of Directors, taking the time for multiple trips to Austin and Washington DC to lobby on behalf of his fellow broadcasters.

He also commits significant time to local charities and is an Executive Board member of the Circle Ten Boy Scout Council of North Texas.

Following industry consolidation during the early 2000’s the Market Manager role changed dramatically.

However, with the additional responsibilities Purdy has continued to be visible and active outside the CBS Radio Tower in Dallas.

Well-known throughout the market, he’s often out selling and promoting radio and local broadcasting.

“The war is being fought on the ground every day in Dallas, and Brian is leading the charge. He also makes sure to fight to keep live and local on-air announcers, as he believes that is the cornerstone of a great broadcaster,” said TAB Treasurer Sarah Frazier, CBS Radio Houston.

“Brian knows the best way to advance our industry is to be a great broadcaster and use your products to serve the community well.”

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

John Kittleman

2016 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2016)

TAB’s Broadcaster of the Year award celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of a TAB member – with a focus on achievements in the past year.

Our 2016 honoree has expanded upon a tradition of excellence in journalism and community service with a novel and aggressive investment in news programming for the market’s unique audience.

John Kittleman

John Kittleman graduated from the University of Texas-Austin in 1983, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television & Film.

He continued at UT to get his Master of Arts Radio-Television-Film and Master of Business Administration degrees. After a stint at the Financial News Network in Los Angeles, Kittleman joined KRGV-TV Rio Grande Valley as the marketing director in 1989.

e steadily rose through the ranks at the ABC affiliate, becoming general manager in 2008. Throughout his 27 years in the Rio Grande Valley, Kittleman has made a focus on the local community his number one priority.

The station has been recognized with a variety of National and RTDNA Regional Murrow Awards and Texas Associated Press Awards Broadcast, including most recently, the AP’s highest statewide broadcast honor, “Overall Excellence Award.” TAB also has honored KRGV-TV with numerous Bonner McLane Public Service awards.

KRGV-TV is a unique station. The station is a market leader in Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, where more than 90 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin, according to BIA/Kelsey.

At least a third of the homes in the market are Spanish-language dominant and many others receive a station signal from the Mexico side of the border.

In June 2015, KRGV-TV began providing live Spanish-language translation of all the station’s newscasts on viewers’ secondary audio channels.

Those watching “Channel 5 News” in English see no change, while viewers who wish to watch the newscast with Spanish audio can click on the SAP button on their remotes.

“The community told us they did not want a second newscast. They didn’t want it on a second channel or another time. They wanted our newscast when it airs, but with the translation,” Kittleman said.

“Once our viewers learn how to choose the SAP option on their TV, they have the choice of listening in English or Spanish.”
The station provides more than 39 hours/week of news.

“Mr. Kittleman is a manager who believes in his people, supports their efforts and helps them be all they can be as individuals and station leaders,” said News Director Jenny Martinez.

“He has foresight and curiosity. Thanks to him, we have an 18-member Spanish translation team. It’s the first of its kind in the country and just the beginning of what this team will one day accomplish!”

The station also recently launched a new series, “Heart of the Valley:” a station-wide initiative to use the power of KRGV-TV to make a positive change in the Rio Grande Valley.

The station aims to not only shine a light on critical issues but also offer solutions to community challenges.

The program goes in-depth to illuminate one critical issue, need, or cause, to help make positive changes in viewers’ lives by utilizing the station’s vaunted investigative news team, working hand-in-hand with local charities and airing public service announcements that deliver important messages.

KRGV undertakes the two week “Heart of the Valley” series four times a year. The first series focused on diabetes which has reached nearly epidemic proportions in the Rio Grande Valley.

HEB partnered with the station to offer free screenings and provide store tours led by certified dietitians. More than 7,000 people were tested for diabetes because of the project.

The news team produced 29 educational stories about the different types of diabetes, explaining how it starts and why.

They also explored juvenile diabetes and methods available to deal with it, and the consequences of failing to deal with it. 

KRGV-TV connected doctors and other experts with viewers on Facebook Live to give viewers the opportunity to ask questions.

Outside the station, Kittleman has served multiple terms on the TAB Board of Directors and consistently volunteers to accompany TAB’s legislative delegation on visits to DC.

He also works tirelessly with Nielsen to ensure the measurement system is valid, especially in minority-majority markets like the Rio Grande Valley.

“I’ve known John for more than 20 years and he’s always impressed me as someone who’s truly committed to the essential ethics and goals necessary to run a great and effective television station,” said Patti C. Smith, former TAB Chairman.

“His work speaks volumes and his staff can attest to his dedication to the community and to the principles we all hold dear within the broadcasting business.”

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Phil Hurley

2015 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2015)

Phil Hurley personifies what it means to be a “Local Broadcaster.” In his distinguished 30+ year career, he personally has been involved in building multiple television stations from the ground up and making them community service leaders.

Hurley attended Austin College in Sherman on an academic scholarship and subsequently earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1971.

He entered the business world with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1971 and held several top management positions with the company before joining Interfirst Bank in Tyler in 1979 where A.W. “Dub” Riter asked him to build a marketing department. He served as Senior Vice President for five years.

“I spent a lot of time with financial statements and in lending and learned exactly what it takes to run a business from that standpoint,” Hurley said.

“Dub Riter also taught me the value of community, of participating in it…those things you don’t necessarily get a check for.”

He entered the broadcast industry in 1983 with the ABC affiliate in Tyler (KLTV-TV) and served as General Manager until 1986 when he left to form the Lone Star Broadcasting Company, the owner of Tyler’s NBC affiliate.

He organized and built KETK-TV and KLSB-TV in Tyler and Nacogdoches and sold these stations to Max Media in 1997, remaining with the stations through 2000.

Hurley left Texas in 2001 to serve as President for Max Media of Montana, a group of four ABC stations and one NBC station.

But the Lone Star State was his true home and Hurley returned in 2003 to manage the Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s NBC affiliate in Beaumont.

In 2004, Hurley rejoined the Max Media family as President and General Manager of Max Media of Texas.

In addition to KETK/KLSB-TV, Hurley managed KFXK-TV Longview (Fox), KLPN-TV Longview (UPN) and KWTL-TV Tyler (Warner).

In 2004, Hurley signed on the air with KYTX-TV Tyler-Longview, adding a CBS affiliate to the market. CBS 19 became the first station in the region to broadcast in High Definition.

He subsequently sold the station to London Broadcasting Company in February 2008 and joined LBC as EVP/COO, overseeing the operations of all of LBC’s television properties.

London Broadcasting grew to 12 stations in five Texas markets representing all four major English language networks. Dallas-based LBC also created production company, 41 Entertainment, and BE Music & Entertainment, a musical artist management firm. He eventually added independent station KTXD-TV Dallas to the fold.

As Hurley described it, LBC was to be a multi-dimensional entertainment and broadcasting company concentrating on Texas television broadcasting and Texas music. The company’s motto was “Texas born. Texas proud. We are Texas.”

He built out digital networks, added original programming and introduced HD broadcasting and multi-cast channels to stations in several markets, including local news at the Bryan-College Station property and additional news offerings at the Abilene and San Angelo stations.

Gannett purchased London Broadcasting Company in July 2014. Gannett President Dave Lougee, asked Hurley to stay on as EVP for the Gannett Lone Star Group.

Throughout his career, Hurley has been a leading advocate for TAB and its efforts to shape legislative and regulatory policy for local television and radio stations in Austin and Washington, DC.

His advocacy for TAB has inspired the managers at the group’s stations throughout the state to follow in his footsteps, helping the organization secure key support from state and federal lawmakers for TAB’s policy initiatives and giving top priority to TAB’s NCSA campaigns advancing the well-being of all Texans.

Hurley continues to motivate the stations under his command to be stewards of their communities. The stations routinely contribute air-time, news coverage and hands-on support for local job fairs, food banks and other non-profit agencies addressing local needs. Under his leadership, his stations can lay claim to providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in community and public service annually.

Additionally, Hurley has launched the careers of literally hundreds of broadcasters across the state of Texas.

As a mentor, his colleagues say he is always available, consistently on point, motivating, instructional and skillful at pushing them to reach new heights.

In a time of rapid change in the broadcast industry, Hurley has demonstrated that the passion, innovation and leadership that built the industry continue to shape its future and strengthen local communities throughout Texas.

Phil Hurley

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Tom Ehlmann

2014 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2014)

TAB’s Broadcaster of the Year Award honors someone who has made significant industry contributions, especially in the past year.

This year’s award winner is a passionate leader who always has an eye on strengthening not only his station, but also the broadcast industry.

Tom Ehlmann

Tom Ehlmann has been a familiar face in Texas broadcasting since the 1980s, where he represented many Texas television stations as the manager of the TeleRep office in St. Louis, MO. 

He served as vice-president and general manager of Tribune’s KHWB-TV Houston from 1998-2004.

From there he was promoted to the Tribune flagship station, WGN-TV in Chicago, where he also served as VP/GM from 2004-2008.

Ehlmann returned to Texas in 2008 to run KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth and helped to later complete the transition from GE to Comcast ownership of NBC and KXAS-TV. 

In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of NBC5/KXAS-TV and NBCDFW.COM.

KXAS-TV was the first TV station in Texas, signing on (as WBAP-TV) in 1948.

In November 2013, after 65 years in its original facility, the station moved 18 miles to the center of Dallas-Fort Worth into a newly constructed, state-of-the-art building unlike any other TV station in the country.

Mindful of its role in the history of the city and state, Ehlmann negotiated a transfer of the historic station site to the City of Fort Worth with provisions that allowed the station to remain firmly within the city limits.

Ehlmann sought out the best ideas from all his employees, making sure they all had a voice in creating the “station of the future.”

Producers and directors designed the news control room for speed-to-air in breaking news situations.
Photographers designed proximity to lockers, trucks and launch pads. 

Building a station from scratch takes attention to detail, but moving in while staying on the air the entire time takes great planning and organizational skills. 

He sustained the project planning through an ownership change while maintaining the station’s heralded commitment to local news, including the production of a comprehensive mobile app chronicling the Kennedy assassination in observance of the event’s 50th anniversary.

A champion of journalism

Ehlmann helped assemble a nationally award-winning investigative team at NBC5.

In 2013 the Investigative Team won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Driven to Distraction,” a seven month long investigation that revealed serious crashes, injuries and deaths caused by police officers distracted by technology, such as computers and smart phones.

The series led to significant policy changes at two of the largest police departments in Texas.

The station also now has the state’s largest weather department, with six staff meteorologists and a network of community based MMJ’s.

Giving back

In addition to his efforts at KXAS-TV, Ehlmann is active in the market and keeps his station committed to serving the community. 

In 2012, the DFW chapter of American Women in Media recognized Ehlmann as General Manager of the Year.
Ehlmann has served several terms on the TAB Board of Directors and led TAB delegations to advocate on industry issues before Texas members of Congress.

He also helped plan TAB Conventions, assisted in the development of key TAB member services and has been a strong supporter of  TAB’s Non-Commercial Sustaining Announcement program.

Ehlmann was a Boys Club member when he was a child, and continues his participation as an active past Board Member in both the Houston and Dallas Boys & Girls Clubs. 

He has also been involved with Junior Achievement, Muscular Dystrophy Association, the NBCU Foundation Community Affairs Council and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT).

“Throughout his career, Tom Ehlmann’s contributions have strengthened our industry, expanded economic opportunity and advanced broadcasters’ unique role in building local communities,” said TAB President Oscar Rodriguez.

“He embodies the finest traditions of our industry and is most deserving of TAB’s Broadcaster of the Year Award.”

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Mike Wright

2013 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2013)

TAB’s Broadcaster of the Year Award honors someone who has made a commitment to excellence over the past year and is an example to others in broadcasting, as well as to his own community.

Mike Wright, general manager of KBTX-TV Bryan-College Station, will celebrate 41 years in the broadcast industry in August 2013.

Mike Wright

If you ask him, he’s looking forward to many more.

His career in broadcasting began at a very young age. Wright found his love for broadcasting at the age of 11, as he worked the turntables at a local radio station KBUS in Mexia.

He joined KBTX in 1991 as national sales manager and soon became co-anchor of “Brazos Valley This Morning,” one of the station’s top-rated newscasts. Wright took over the GM’s office in 2003 and hasn’t looked back.

Each week in the department manager meeting he asks, “What will you do today that will make KBTX better than it was yesterday?”

“Mike exemplifies leadership. He demonstrated to his staff that the only way to become an exceptional station is to do exceptional things,” said Ben Downs, general manager of Bryan Broadcasting.

Station Innovation

KBTX-TV has seen many accomplishments this past year, all due in part to Wright’s leadership and vision.  In June 2012, KBTX-TV aired its first newscast in a new, state-of-the-art facility. Wright helped Gray Television engineers to plan a complete reconstruction of the newsroom and the studio.

The effort he put into the project has made history in Gray Television. KBTX-TV is the only local television station within the company to fully  “shop local” and use a local top-quality construction company on a studio redesign.

In July 2012, Wright led the rebrand of KBTX-TV’s second tier station, The CW, to CW8 Aggieland.

He created a promotions team and social media team to aide in the launch of the rebrand. Since then, CW8 Aggieland has seen a steady increase in both viewership and revenue.

He has turned CW8 into a place for local viewers to find local content, including replays of Texas A&M football, the SEC Game of the Week and local high school football games which start airing this fall, something not already available in the DMA.

Just recently, KBTX-TV was awarded 27 Texas Associated Press Awards, including the TAPB Award for Overall Excellence in Television.

The station also earned its first regional Edward R. Murrow award, Newscast of the Year from the Headliners Club of Austin and two Lone Star Emmys.

Giving Back

Wright continues to lead with four defining statements he developed for the staff to operate by each and every day:  “I trust KBTX.  KBTX does not waste my time. KBTX is easy to watch and easy to do business with.  KBTX cares about the community and about my family.”

Wright has led by example regarding each of these defining statements. Above all, he understands that community involvement is vital to personal and professional growth.

One of the most significant ways KBTX Media contributes to the community is through their annual “Food for Families” food drive.
It’s the largest fundraiser for the Brazos Valley Food Bank, raising 203,000 pounds of food and $175,000 in 2012 alone.

“Mike has a genuine interest in our community and consistently finds meaningful ways to use that interest to better the citizens here,” said Royce Hickman, President/CEO of the Brazos Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Wright encourages each employee at KBTX-TV to be involved in the community one way or another, be it serving on a board, being a member of a service organization, coaching a little league team or volunteering at the local food bank.

Wright also hosts a segment during First News at 4, known as the “Wright Response.”

Each week, he addresses viewers’ emails and comments regarding the station’s news coverage or other community issues. The questions and comments range from viewers thanking the news team for covering a certain topic, to viewers complaining about the outfit a news anchor wore on the 10 pm news. Regardless, Wright responds to them.

In fact, he responds to EVERY email or call he receives from a viewer, good or bad; he wants them to know that KBTX is listening and cares. He also encourages his staff to embrace the station’s initiatives and create unique relationships with viewers.

“Our radio stations have worked together [with KBTX] in a cooperative effort on many community projects. When we schedule a forum with local candidates, we assume Mike’s station will be there streaming the video on the KBTX website,” Downs said.
“Mike’s leadership shows his staff that competition stops when it comes to serving our community.”

While his position as general manager keeps him pretty busy, Wright also keeps his hand in radio…his first “true love.”

For the past 22 years, he has called the play-by-play for A&M Consolidated High School football, dedicating each Friday night to the team and their fans. 

This “hobby” has resulted in Wright receiving first place awards for his play-by-play from Texas AP off and on for eight years. His commitment to not only his broadcasting and management career, but also to his community and staff at KBTX-TV, is unmatched. Each day he strives to make the next day better for the staff, the community and the station.

Wright is a graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Bethany, have 12-year old twins, Macy and Mason.

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

John Barger

2012 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2012)

TAB’s Broadcaster of the Year award was created in 1986 to honor someone who has made a commitment to excellence over the past year and is an example to others in broadcasting.

This year there’s no one more deserving of this award than the man who 25 years ago conceived it – John Barger.

John Barger

In 2012, the Radio Music Licensing Committee announced they had reached new, industry-wide licensing deals with BMI and ASCAP.

John Barger chaired the RMLC’s Negotiating and Litigation Committees during the three-year effort that will cut the radio industry’s royalty bill by nearly $1.2 billion over the life of the two contracts.

That’s a reduction in excess of $100,000,000 for Texas radio broadcasters.

Under these agreements, radio broadcasters gain expanded digital rights coverage to accommodate the growing emphasis on new media platforms like websites, smartphones and tablets.

And because the industry has overpaid the organizations in 2010 and 2011 under the interim rate set by the courts, Texas radio stations are expected to enjoy more than $12,000,000 in combined credits.

Ever the over-achiever, John Barger simultaneously took a signal-challenged AM station – KAHL in San Antonio – coupled it with an 81-watt FM translator at 103.7 FM and created an entertainment-information source targeting listeners over the age of 65.

Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Lou Rawls and Percy Faith are all alive, well, and greatly appreciated at KAHL, along with Julio Iglesias, Michael Buble and others.

Barger is living proof that you can still find a niche in broadcasting, serve it well, attract a viable audience for advertisers AND be profitable – even if your tools are limited.

A storied career

Barger began his broadcast career in 1958 as a DJ at WTAW-AM Bryan College Station.

In 1960, he moved to Austin to join KNOW-AM, as the city’s top-rated afternoon-drive personality, while earning his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Texas.

He twice worked for legendary Texas broadcaster Gordon McLendon, first as program director of WYSL in Buffalo and later as general counsel of the broadcast and theatre divisions in Dallas. 

Sandwiched between the two McLendon affiliations was a two-year stint with the Executive Office of the President (Lyndon Johnson), as Senior Regional Field Representative in Austin. 

In 1970, he became manager of KRLD-AM Dallas-Fort Worth and also produced NFL broadcasts for the Dallas Cowboys.

Co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and developer of the news-talk radio format in Texas, Barger’s nearly 40 years of radio operations in San Antonio began in 1975, including management and ownership at differing times of WOAI-AM, KAJA-FM, KONO-AM/FM, KAHL-AM, KRIO-FM, KBBT-FM, and KMFR-FM.

Barger is respected as much for his personal career as he is for his tireless and ongoing contributions to the broadcast industry in Texas and across the nation.

He is a former director of the National Association of Broadcasters, having chaired the organization’s AM on FM Task Force which successfully lobbied the FCC to permit the use of FM translators to improve AM signal coverage. 

He and engineering colleague John Furr organized the Class A Broadcasters Association and successfully lobbied the FCC to double the power for FM Class A stations nation-wide.

Barger served as TAB’s Chairman in 1987, at a critical time for the organization. 

TAB had just lost its long-time executive director (Bonner McLane) to a heart attack, and then State Comptroller Bob Bullock was recommending that Texas follow Florida’s lead and adopt a tax on advertising.

Barger kept the organization going.

He hired TAB’s first lobbyist, led a nationwide search for a new executive director (current TAB President Ann Arnold), revitalized the annual convention and restarted the engineering conference.

He also created the Broadcaster of the Year Award to honor someone who had made a real impact on the industry in the past year.

Even after completing his term as chairman, Barger has continued to play a key role in every TAB initiative and has always made a point of being involved in politics.

He entered into broadcast brokerage in 1988 with Barger Broadcast Services and has since donated thousands of dollars to help TAB underwrite the cost of the Annual Convention & Trade Show.

TAB named him Pioneer of the Year in 1997.

Barger still owns KAHL AM and FM in San Antonio, and with his partner Cindy Cox has a five-station group in Victoria.

And he continues to set the standard for excellence in broadcasting.

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

All content Copyright © 2024 Texas Association of Broadcasters