UT football legend Ricky Williams to appear on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

Ricky Williams (Rodolfo Gonzalez photo)
Ricky Williams (Rodolfo Gonzalez photo)

Presidential contender Donald Trump is out and Arnold Schwarzenegger is in as host of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

But the bigger news, for University of Texas football fans at least, is that this season’s competitors will include Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, NBC said Thursday.

He’ll be up against actress Brooke Burke-Charvet, “America Ninja Warrior” host Matt Iseman, boxer Laila Ali, Carson Kressley of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame, comedian Jon Lovitz, ex-“Big Morning Buzz Live” host Carrie Keagan, mixed martial arts pro Chael Sonnen, Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil, musicians Boy George and Carnie Wilson, NFL alum Eric Dickerson, Olympian Lisa Leslie and “Real Housewives” stars Kyle Richards and Porsha Williams.

This will be the eighth season for “Celebrity Apprentice.” NBC has yet to say when the show will premiere.

Texas firm buys 3 Austin TV stations as part of $4.6B deal

kxanThree Austin TV stations are in line to get a new owner — and it’s not the company everyone was expecting.

Virginia-based Media General, which operates NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO, is being acquired by Irving-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group in a deal valued at $4.6 billion in cash and stock, according to an announcement made Wednesday.

The new company will be named Nexstar Media Group and will have 171 full-power TV stations in 100 U.S. TV markets.

Last year, Media General had agreed to merge with Iowa-based Meredith Corp. That deal almost immediately hit a series of roadblocks when Nexstar executives made a counteroffer. They were rebuffed initially, but criticism from key Media General stockholders steadily grew.

The breakup up with Meredith will cost Media General $60 million. Meredith will also get first dibs on buying any stations Nexstar is required to sell off in markets where it overlaps with Media General. TVSpy.com reports those markets will likely include Roanoke, Va; Green Bay, Wis.; Davenport, Iowa; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lafayette, La.; and Terre Haute, Ind.

“Together with Nexstar, we can deliver a more comprehensive, integrated and competitive offering across all markets for the benefit of our advertisers and brands,” Media General president and CEO Vincent Sadusky said in a written statement. “I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of our talented employees, and I’m confident they will continue to make many valuable contributions as part of a larger and stronger organization. I look forward to working closely with the Nexstar team to bring our companies together to realize the power of this compelling combination and ensure a smooth transition.”

In Texas, KXAN, KNVA and KBVO are Media General’s only stations. Nexstar, however, owns several more, including ones in Abilene, Amarillo, College Station, El Paso, Harlingen, Lufkin, Midland, San Angelo, Tyler, Waco and Wichita Falls.

Through a contract with Four Points Media Group, Nexstar briefly operated Austin CBS affiliate KEYE beginning in 2009. That deal ended, though, when Four Points was sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group, KEYE’s current owner, in 2011.

“The acquisition of Media General’s broadcasting and digital media assets represent a transformational growth opportunity for Nexstar and is strategically and financially compelling,” Nexstar president and CEO Perry Sook said in a written statement. “The transaction increases Nexstar’s broadcast portfolio by approximately two thirds with very limited overlap with our existing properties, more than doubles our audience reach, provides entrée to 15 new top-50 (markets) and offers synergies related to the increased scale of the combined digital media operations.”

Austin represents one of those new top-50 markets Sook mentioned, ranking 39th in the nation, according to Nielsen, with 745,640 TV households.

The Media General deal is expected to close in either the third or fourth quarter of this year, Nexstar said.


KVUE reporter leaving town for Dallas TV gig

Shannon Murray (Mike Wenglar photo / KVUE)
Shannon Murray (Mike Wenglar photo / KVUE)

Another Austin TV news reporter is leaving town, en route to the Big D.

KVUE’s Shannon Murray signed off for the last time Wednesday night, wrapping up a three-year stint at the city’s ABC affiliate.

Her next stop is KDFW, the Fox-owned station in Dallas. There she’ll join another recent Austin transplant, former KEYE reporter Alex Boyer, who started at Fox 4 earlier this month.

“I grew up in Dallas, so I can’t wait to cover the news in my hometown,” Murray said. “I’m honored to be part of the top-rated station and to work alongside the experienced staff at KDFW.”

New Austin radio station targets area’s LGBT community

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 9.09.42 AMA new radio station targeting Austin’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is set to launch Tuesday.

When 97.5 Pride Radio Austin signs on at noon, it will become the second LGBT-focused station in the nation to be operated by San Antonio-based iHeartMedia. The other is in Minneapolis.

Other iHeartMedia stations in Austin include 96.7 Kiss FM, 98.1 KVET-FM, KASE 101, 102.3 The Beat, 103.1 iHeartAustin and AM 1300 The Zone.

Pride Radio Austin is modeled after iHeartMedia’s popular Pride Radio channel on the iHeartRadio app. It will kick off commercial free, playing 10,000 songs in a row from artists such as David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Nick Jonas, Katy Perry and Rihanna.

The new station will also feature news and contests of interest to the Austin LGBT community, iHeartMedia said.

“As we look at Austin’s progressive community, there is no better time to launch a radio station for LGBT listeners and allies,” said Patrick Davis, iHeartMedia senior vice president of programming for Austin and Dallas. “We are very excited to bring 97.5 Pride Radio’s unique programming to a city that thrives on being different.”

In addition to the 97.5 FM frequency, Pride Radio will be available on the HD2 subchannel of 100.7 FM, as well as online at 975PrideAustin.com and via the iHeartRadio app.

“Austin has one of the most active LGBT communities in the nation, and 97.5 Pride Radio will fit right in with the community,” said Don Parker, Pride Radio brand manager and senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia. “Through our iHeartRadio digital platform, Pride Radio forms deep connections with listeners across the country through relatable programming and entertaining news content, and we look forward to creating a new bond between 97.5 Pride Radio and local listeners through Austin’s very own customized version of Pride Radio.”