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.

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Sarah Frazier

2022 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2022)

It’s not much of a stretch at all to say that no one loves broadcasting more than Sarah Frazier.

Sarah Frazier

From being a voice for the community to selling the partnerships – Sarah strives to showcase the power of Radio to her listeners in the Greater Houston area.

Equipped with a keen business mind and a full heart, Sarah led the crafting of an astoundingly successful 2021 Audacy business plan and exceeded ALL expectations – from revenue to expense control and cash flow.

She accomplished these goals with her ever present positive energy – even in the face of the ongoing pandemic impacting her team, their families, audiences and advertisers.

At the same time, Sarah re-engineered her leadership team to smartly maximize performance within a challenging hybrid work environment.

Her focus and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is matched by few others.

She has always worked to empower women and show them they deserve a spot at the corporate media table.

Her innovative thinking has ensured Audacy Houston a prominent presence in the market over the last 10 years.

She continues to be extremely engaged with the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation and many other groups – including serving as TAB Board Chair in 2019 and many additional years as a director.

Not surprisingly, Sarah has proved to be a dynamic and effective advocate for Texas broadcasters in DC and in Austin.

She has made the industry’s case to Congress opposing a Performance Tax on Radio stations and helped lawmakers understand the increasingly unfair advertising competition we’re facing from Big Tech.

Her enthusiasm for public service informs her passion for Open Government and for broadcasters’ leading role as the backbone of the nation’s emergency communications system.

In times of crisis, she has endeavored to ensure her stations were doing whatever was necessary to keep the community informed – yes, even partnering with other stations to provide listeners wall-to-wall reporting on dangerous conditions.

And her operation is a national model for stepping up to help the Houston community recover from a disaster or celebrate a milestone!

Always leading, Sarah’s stations have routinely been one of the strongest supporters of TAB’s Public Education Partnership program throughout her tenure, extending TAB’s ability to provide invaluable services to member stations across the state.

“I couldn’t be more fortunate to have Sarah lead one of Audacy’s key strategic markets that I oversee as Regional President,” said Audacy’s Brian Purdy.

“I trust her ability to exceed financial targets and lead a culture of growth and ever-present transformation. She truly embodies our Audacy company values of Community, Curiosity, Courage and Creativity.”

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Marty Wind

2021 Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2021)

In the world of broadcasting, there are individuals who can do it all…kind of like a “one size fits all.”

Marty Wind is one of those rare individuals.

Marty Wind

He an excellent engineer, announcer, fundraiser, programmer, copy writer, newsman, public relations manager, general manager…you can just keep adding things.

In 1983, the Diocesan Telecommunications Corporation, a subsidiary of the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi, decided to apply for a non-profit radio license and their first move was to hire Marty Wind to assist in the application.

When the FCC approved their application, they hired Wind to be their “one-man band.” He began the engineering process and in March 1985, KLUX-FM 89.5 went on the air.

But before they flipped on the transmitter, Wind had to devise a programming format – no easy chore.

How do you take a faith-based radio station, licensed to the Catholic Church, and make it a mainstream station that could be enjoyed by all? Wind did it and called it “Good Company.”

They can’t sell commercials – so much of their existence depends on fundraising from the public.

It all began with one paid employee and today, 36 years later, they have ballooned up to five full time and one part-time paid employee.

“Marty Wind has always been a master at getting something for nothing,” said former TAB Chairman Bob White.

“He has a group of 20+ volunteers, myself included, who assist in the fundraisers, read public service announcements and many other things.

“And just so you know, KLUX 89.5, “Good Company,” is a highly rated station, especially with 35+ and has a TSL that will make your eyes water.”

Wind introduced digital radio broadcasting to the Coastal Bend area in 2006 and today, non-commercial station KLUX is a market leader in public service with a long list of achievements highlighted by courageous endeavors to remain on the air during hurricanes and the disastrous 2021 freeze.

KLUX was the only radio station to broadcast hourly reports consistently, 24 hours a day, during all these emergencies.

“Marty’s heartfelt commitment to fellow broadcasters and listeners is unmatched. He has programmed KLUX to be the gold standard in ‘positive’ radio,” White said.

“The commercials they aren’t allowed to broadcast are replaced by announcements regarding area events and positive messages that make you feel good about living in a world that is so filled with dissent and anger.

“That’s why he calls it ‘Good Company.’”

Wind retired on May 31, 2021 but says he’ll always be available for station needs, even as he keeps up with all his additional volunteer commitments and work for the Diocese.

Return to Previous Winners

Continue reading

Tania Moody

2019 Radio Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2019)

TAB presented the inaugural Broadcaster of the Year Award in 1986.

In 33 years, only six women have received the honor.

Tania Moody

“The 2019 Radio Broadcaster of the Year is not only an example to enterprising young broadcasters – men and women alike – she is an inspiration to us all as the SOLE owner of her hometown station – KLVT-AM Levelland,” said TAB Chairman Sarah Frazier

Tania Moody started in broadcasting in 2006 as a rookie sales rep for the High Plains Radio Network.

She had no broadcast experience, but she took the opportunity and ran with it.

In two years, she advanced to sales manager and became the station manager in 2010.

She started her own LMA in 2012 and went into business for herself – purchasing KLVT-AM just one year later.

In just three short years, Moody’s Cute Boots Broadcasting had paid for the station.

“Here’s someone with no industry interest (other than needing a job), who took an opening and turned it into an opportunity to own and operate a successful business…and it happens to be in our broadcast Industry,” said Monte Spearman, President High Plains Radio Network.

Moody not only manages her broadcast team of three, but also handles more than 50% of the sales for the station, performs day-to-day administrative duties and hosts/produces a very successful morning show.

Moody and her team recently launched the “Good Morning Texas Show” via Facebook Live and on a media streamer to the KLVT webpage.  The 90-minute program airs every Monday-Friday.

“I have been in the Radio business nearly 20 years and I have never worked for somebody as plugged in to her business, her community and her employees like Tania,” said Michael Wiiest, KLVT Station Manager/Sports Director.

“She is amazing in every way and truly embodies what Small Market Radio does for small communities. With her it is all about her listeners, her clients, and her community.”

Involvement in her community is an understatement.  

Moody serves as Board President of the Levelland ISD Board of Trustees and President of the Wallace Theater Foundation (in efforts to restore an old theater in downtown Levelland).

She also has served as President of the Hockley County Foundation, the Levelland Marigolds, Levelland Main Street Program, and has served on the Levelland Chamber of Commerce.

“Tania is a great example of a local business owner who is truly invested in their community. Her biggest asset is she’s an ACTIVE member of these organizations and giver her time and resources, whether or not she is in a leadership role,” said DeEtte Edens, Levelland ISD School Board.

“In this industry, we hire people constantly and hope they will learn the business, like the business and stay in the business.

“I will always argue that Small Market Radio is the hardest level there is to operate Radio stations to the point of not just paying the bills, but also being profitable and growing a real business,” Spearman said.

Through her accomplishments, business growth efforts, attitude, commitment to her station and community and her diligence – Tania Moody continues to be a shining example of what it means to be a local, Texas broadcaster.

Return to Previous Winners

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

All content Copyright © 2024 Texas Association of Broadcasters