Tag: KXAN-TV Austin

Amy Anderson

2022 Jason Hightower Award for Broadcast Excellence

(Published August 2022)

(Former TAB Chairman Brian Jones wrote and presented the following remarks as part of the awards presentation during the TAB2022 Convention & Trade Show, Aug. 3-4, 2022)

Amy Anderson

Good evening.  I’m deeply honored to have this opportunity to pay tribute to the late, great Jason Hightower by way of recognizing two rising young professionals who are blazing new trails in the industry as Jason did.

As the esteemed Ben Downs shared with us last year in the inaugural presentation of these awards, Jason was “the person we all wanted to be when we grew up” – with a loving family, the respect of all who knew him and a powerhouse station that enjoyed the rabid loyalty of his community.

Jason would understand that, as a proud Longhorn, I do not concur with Ben’s suggestion then that what everyone secretly wants to own is an Aggie ring.

He also wouldn’t hold it against me and would, in fact, expect me to keep that good-natured rivalry going…which is just one reason Jason was so admired.

I had the privilege of serving on the TAB Board with Jason, first as a director and then as an officer.

I had just joined the Executive Committee when we lost Jason to brain cancer in 2009 – only 11 years after he and his wife, Ingrid, purchased KMOO-FM Mineola.

In that short time, he had built an amazing, successful brand, become chairman of the largest state broadcast association in the country, and was readily acknowledged as a legendary broadcaster – all by age 37.

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.

And it is for that reason that TAB established the Jason Hightower Awards for Broadcast Excellence intended for people who have been in the business for 10 years and have already changed it for the better.  

Folks who are advancing their companies, their communities, their fellow citizens.

It is imperative that we honor our colleagues who do these things, or we risk losing the tradition of service that is our industry’s greatest legacy.

And, of course, our greatest promise lies in those younger broadcasters who will shape and lead our industry’s future.

Amy Anderson

Amy Anderson has been at KXAN-TV Austin for more than 12 years – being one of the first Digital Sales Managers to climb the ranks in Nexstar to become a General Sales Manager.

Since taking the reins, she has led her team to record-breaking years and produced some of the best ad campaigns KXAN has ever seen.

Amy believes in equal opportunity, collaboration, hard work – and having fun doing it.

Her team has remarkably low turnover and several team members who leave actually end up returning – a true testament to what it’s like to work for her.

She is at the forefront of developing sponsorship opportunities for local businesses that tie them into the community.

Go Green…Clear the Shelters…First Warning Weather University…Simple Health…she’s led the way on all these broadcast-based community initiatives.

Amy has such a gift of drive, management, compassion, empathy and motivation.

Her staff works hard because their leader works hard, and the station would not be what it is today without her influence.

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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.

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