New CBS Austin morning meteorologist starts Thursday

Nicole Hartford (KVII photo)

New CBS Austin morning meteorologist Nicole Hartford starts Thursday.

Hartford arrives from Amarillo’s ABC affiliate, KVII, where she’s spent the past two years.

Both KVII and CBS Austin are owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group.

A University of Miami graduate, Hartford has also worked in Grand Junction, Colo.

At CBS Austin, she replaces Jordan Steele, who left in February to handle weeknight weather duties at KING in Seattle.

“CBS Austin This Morning” airs from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays.

Reality show seeks contestants to ‘fearlessly tackle Austin’

Producers of a new reality show are in search of contestants ready to “fearlessly tackle Austin.”

That could include out-of-towners, they say, or even folks who already live here.

The unnamed show, which is set to air on a “major cable network” says it’s looking to cast “all types”: best friends, couples, families, roommates and even single folks.

Austin Skiyline from the boardwalk south of the lake in 2016. Nell Carroll/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

People selected will live rent-free in “the greatest apartment building in Austin.”

You must be at least 18 and a U.S. citizen to be considered.

Filming is expected to begin in May.

That’s about it in terms of details being provided by the casting company, Lime Pictures.

Interested? Head here to apply.

Texas TV veteran tapped to lead Spectrum News in Austin, San Antonio

Jennifer Dodd (Twitter photo)

There’s a new boss overseeing the Spectrum News operations in Austin and San Antonio.

Jennifer Dodd has been named news director of both cable channels. She’ll be based here in Austin, where both the Austin and San Antonio broadcasts originate.

Dodd replaces longtime news boss Michael Pearson, who left in February. Station management has steadfastly declined to comment on Pearson’s departure.

Most recently, Dodd served as news director at KYTX, the CBS affiliate in Tyler. Earlier in her career she was news director at KAVU in Victoria and assistant news director at KENS in San Antonio.

A Texas State University graduate, she also spent about a dozen years doing on-air reporting for TV stations in Beaumont, San Antonio and Dallas.

“Jennifer brings extensive leadership, newsroom management and journalism experience to Spectrum Networks,” said Alan Mason, group vice president for Spectrum News. “I’m confident her knowledge and track record in several Texas markets will be a great fit with our talented teams in Austin and San Antonio.”

Spectrum News – formerly known as Time Warner Cable News, YNN and, initially, News 8 Austin – delivers round-the-clock news, weather and traffic exclusively to Spectrum cable TV subscribers.

KUTX celebrating Willie Nelson’s birthday by playing 2 straight days of his music

All Willie, all weekend.

That’s what you’ll hear if you tune to 98.9 KUTX-FM April 29-30.

Willie Nelson (Suzanne Cordeiro photo)

In honor of Willie Nelson’s 84th birthday, the radio station will air “wall-to-wall” Willie from 6 a.m. April 29 to 6 p.m. April 30. That’s 36 straight hours of Nelson’s music – everything from the classics we all know to deep album tracks and even two airings of “Amazing Grace: The Story of Willie Nelson,” a documentary.

From a KUTX news release: “Were it not for Nelson, the Austin music scene would not be as vibrant. As Joe Nick Patoski wrote in the ‘Texas Music Almanac,’ ‘… it wasn’t until the night of Aug. 12, 1972, when Willie Nelson walked onto the stage of the Armadillo (World Headquarters) that everything changed. That performance in front of a mixed crowd of hippies and rednecks is recognized as the starting point of the modern Austin music scene.’”

The full schedule:

Saturday, April 29

  • 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Wall-to-wall Willie Nelson
  • 6 to 7 p.m.: “Amazing Grace” documentary
  • 7 to 11 p.m.: Willie Nelson tribute with Rick Daddy

Sunday, April 30

  • 6 to 7 a.m.: “Amazing Grace” documentary
  • 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Gospel/jazz Willie Nelson with Jay Trachtenberg
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Wall-to-wall Willie Nelson

RELATED: Details on the 2017 Willie Nelson’s Picnic


KVUE news director departing after less than a year

Mike Redding

KVUE news director Mike Redding is leaving for a new opportunity within Tegna, the company that owns the TV station, after less than a year on the job here in Austin.

Redding, who joined KVUE in August, will depart in late June. He came from the two Tegna-owned stations in Maine, where he’d been news director for three years.

KVUE didn’t immediately specify where Redding will be transferring.

“We wish Mike all the best and are searching for new leadership to continue our tradition of serving the Austin community,” KVUE president and general manager Kristie Gonzales said in a message sent to staffers.

Redding is out of town until Monday and didn’t immediately respond to a message from the American-Statesman seeking comment.

At KVUE, Redding replaced Frank Volpicella, who spent 16 years leading the ABC affiliate’s newsroom. Volpicella, who is now news director at WGCL in Atlanta, was one of several KVUE employees who took early buyouts offered by Tegna last year.

During his time at KVUE, Redding has worked to fill a number of vacancies, including selecting a new chief meteorologist to replace Mark Murray, who also took a Tegna buyout.

In addition, Redding recently added an in-studio traffic anchor to the station’s morning newscast.