Month: August 2023

Chip Arledge

2023 Jason Hightower Award for Broadcast Excellence

(Published August 2023)

TAB is extremely honored to have this opportunity to pay tribute to the former owner of KMOO Mineola – the great Jason Hightower.

The example of Jason’s leadership and his tireless devotion to his family, his industry, his community and, yes, to TAB, is an inspiration to those who knew him and who learn of his storied career.

Chip Arledge

Filled with a passion for service and a laser focus on growing his local community’s economy, Jason immersed himself in the Radio business, buying KMOO-FM in Mineola almost right out of college.

His energy, intelligence and personality were infectious, earning him the attention of TAB veterans in East Texas who saw in him a future leader for the industry.

True to form, he did not disappoint, winning election to the TAB Board, making significant contributions to the TAB Show and year-round programming, and rising quickly to Board Chairman before his life was tragically cut short by brain cancer – 10 years after he first bought KMOO.

TAB established the Jason Hightower Award for Broadcast Excellence in 2021.

We proudly recognize individuals with at least 10 years’ experience in the broadcast industry who have demonstrated a proficiency for enterprise and innovation in servicing their stations’ audience, advertisers and communities.

This is in keeping with Jason’s philosophy that we must salute our colleagues who do great things, or we risk losing our industry’s greatest legacy – fellow Texans committed to advancing local communities.

This year’s award recipient will be the first, Small or Medium Radio broadcaster to receive the Jason Hightower Award.

Much like Jason, Chip “The Fat Man” Arledge is the morning show host and manager of KDPM 92.3 FM “The Depot” in Marshall.

His previous experience includes stations in Michigan and Louisiana – but he came to Marshall in September 2020.

“The Depot” soon located its core operations to downtown Marshall and signed on the air one month later.

As Chip would say – “If your downtown ain’t happening, then your city ain’t happening!”

In a little less than three years at the station, Chip has been a vocal champion for the town of Marshall and its citizens, as well as the Regional Arts Council, Marshall ISD, Wiley College and many other community groups.

From a new, monthly art events weekend to the popular “Boogie on the Bricks” musical jam session, Chip is committed to making “The Depot” a positive force for progress in East Texas.

Day in and day out, he strives to emphasize that the Radio industry exists to move local communities forward both culturally and economically – and to have fun doing it!

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Tim Winn

2023 George Marti Award for Engineering Excellence

(Published August 2023)

Born and raised in Amarillo, Tim Winn has been an integral part of the success for KFDA/KEYU-TV for more than 40 years.

Much like George Marti, Winn is no stranger to innovation and helping his fellow broadcasters.

Tim Winn

Whether it’s an assistant engineer at his station, a crosstown competitor, one of the many stations under Gray TV’s umbrella or a local church or school – Winn displays a true passion for broadcasting.

“I had the pleasure to work alongside Tim when I became Chief Engineer of KFDA-TV in 1979,” said longtime Texas Engineer John Schilberg.

“I was immediately impressed by the depth of knowledge Tim had of our station’s studio cameras and other production equipment.

“I also discovered that Tim was also blessed with an extremely bright, adventurous, creative side for TV production and editing.

“In a matter of a few months, I learned he did “this” commercial or “that” commercial…or the 5, 6, and 10 O’clock news opens…or even a music video.”

And he didn’t just edit them. He wrote, shot, edited and produced them all from scratch!

Tim’s gift is still a deep understanding of technology coupled with a highly creative imagination.

It’s an extremely effective “one-two punch” that he’s been applying to his TV career since the mid 70’s.

Current KFDA-TV GM Brent McClure says – “Tim takes crazy ideas of mine and makes them real! His knowledge is truly amazing and practical and his experience helps us create unique solutions.”

In a small market with limited budgets and resources, being able to achieve maximum results is so very, very important.

Tim now oversees two full-power transmitters and 14 over the air signals.

He continued to set “Firsts” in Amarillo with the High-Definition move and launch of KFDA and now has new innovations that include live programming being produced – simultaneously – in two locations broadcast on TV, Radio and streaming platforms all at the same time.

Throughout his career, Tim has taken pride in hiring and developing great broadcasters.

His teaching, leadership and mentorship have led to seven people who have gone on to become chief engineers at other stations and in other markets – along with countless other industry sales and support techs.

In the Gray TV ranks, Tim is known as the “Adobe Premiere Whisperer.”

He helps professional creative producers across the country troubleshoot systems and is the group’s leading authority on building the best editor at the best prices.

His humble approach and teaching style is a true blessing to those that work with him. 

Colleagues salute his willingness to think creatively, keep an open mind to new ideas and create an atmosphere that fosters collaboration and teamwork.

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Amy Villarreal

2023 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2023)

A spokesperson for women in broadcasting…

A proven performer…

A mentor and motivator…

A passionate leader brimming with enthusiasm and a sincerely caring heart

A true testament to the saying “hard work pays off.”

This is how friends and colleagues describe Amy Villarreal.

Amy Villarreal

After graduating from UT-Austin, Amy started her media career in Houston and then was hired for a sales position at KVEO-TV in the Rio Grande Valley.

There, she worked for former TAB Chair and Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year Patti C. Smith – who Amy still considers a good friend and mentor.

Amy has served as the Vice President and General Manager of KEYE-TV Austin – the CBS affiliate in her alma mater’s home town – since 2005, immersing herself in the city’s business, educational and charitable communities at every level.

In 2009, she launched the market’s first Telemundo affiliate, expanding the universe of Spanish-language news and entertainment programming for an increasingly diverse community.

She’s intent on providing unbiased local news and impactful community service to English and Spanish-language viewers in Central Texas.

Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased the stations in 2012 and Amy has continued to guide KEYE’s programming to focus on Austin’s dynamic growth and the stories of the diverse communities behind it.

In 2018, Amy won a Lone Star Emmy Award as executive producer of “Austin After Hours,” a long-form program telling the stories of Austin’s music, restaurant, and entertainment scene.

Sinclair promoted Amy to Associate Group Manager in 2020 and she now also oversees stations in the Amarillo, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, and Abilene markets– in addition to Sinclair stations in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

In addition to her work as a broadcaster, Amy also has a passion for volunteering and giving back to the industry and her local community – serving on Boards for UT’s Briscoe Center for American History, Rodeo Austin, the Headliners Foundation and many more.

She has twice termed out of service as a Director on the TAB Board and currently serves as an officer on the Executive Committee and will Chair the Board in the 2023-2024.

In the halls of the state Capitol and Congress alike, she is a powerful and effective advocate for the industry.

Whether it entails wrangling with the FCC over regulation, arguing to preserve AM Radio in cars, or drilling down into the competitive pressures on broadcast Television and the invaluable local journalism we provide.

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D’Artagnan Bebel

2023 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2023)

Throughout his 38-year broadcast career, D’Artagnan Bebel has been a champion for innovation, diversity, and community outreach.

For the past 23 years, he has served as the Senior Vice President & General Manager for FOX Television’s owned and operated stations in Houston, FOX 26 KRIV, My20 KTXH and

D'Art Bebel

In May 2022, Fox also named him GM and Head of Programming for FOX SOUL – a new and interactive streaming channel dedicated to African American viewers.

D’Art’s core belief that a local broadcaster must be in the business of serving the community through locally originated programming has motivated him to expand the station’s local news and other programming from 22 to 141 hours per week.

He’s a staunch believer in using the broadcast platform to not just TELL stories – but to shed light on issues that affect positive change for the Houston community.

Under his leadership, the station’s series “People for Sale: Houston’s Dirty Little Secret,” caused the City of Houston to form an interagency task force to combat human trafficking.

His staff – one of the most diverse in the Houston market – is most proud of his leadership and planning during severe, catastrophic weather events, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic – keeping vital information flowing to the community all while making sure his employees were safe.

His commitment to community outreach extends outside of the station with service to organizations like the NAB Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, American Women in Media, and the Emma Bowen Foundation.

Throughout his career, D’Art has fostered a new generation of broadcast leaders who’ve advanced to the top ranks at stations in other markets, both in and out of the FOX-owned group of stations.

He’s an influential advocate on the industry’s behalf before lawmakers in the Texas Legislature and in Congress, cultivating close relationships among elected officials so they have a true appreciation for what we do.

For those of us operating other stations in the market, he is admired not just as a competitor, but also as a partner – especially when helping Houston dig out from one natural disaster or another.

Outside the station, D’Art is a lover of travel and adventure.

One volunteer organization is especially dear to his heart – the Dive Pirates – and he serves on the advisory board.

What began in 2003 as a social club for divers is now a non-profit foundation that teaches, equips and takes disabled people on life-changing scuba diving adventures.

That very same sense of adventure is reflected in everything D’Art undertakes, whether he’s serving his family, his station, or his community.

That’s a trait we can all emulate as we strive to better serve our communities in an ever changing media marketplace.

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