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Houston

Sportscaster Simone Eli Joins KPRC

simone eliSimone Eli started this week at KPRC, the NBC affiliate in Houston, Mike McGuff reports. She will be the station’s weekend sports anchor and reporter.

Eli comes from WALA, the Fox affiliate in Mobile, where she has been a sports director and anchor since May 2013.

“We’re really excited that we got her out of Mobile and we think she will be a great asset,” KPRC senior executive producer Rick McFarland told McGuff. “Not only does she have great sportscasting experience, but I think people are going to be interested in watching her.”

KPRC Names Rhonda Errer LaVelle News Director

kprc lavelleKPRC has named Rhonda Errer LaVelle as news director.

LaVelle had been acting news director at the Houston NBC affiliate since Deborah Collura was named GM of WCNC in Charlotte.

Before joining KPRC in March, LaVelle was an executive producer at WDIV in Detroit where she had worked for 16 years.

[Mike McGuff]

Courtney Zubowski Will Sign Off From KHOU

courtney zubowskiCourtney Zubowski is leaving Houston CBS affiliate KHOU, Houston media blogger Mike McGuff reports.

“We’ve loved having her in our newsroom and on our air—Courtney’s a game changer. Very sorry to lose her day to day, and she knows this. But Courtney also knows she has all our support and best wishes for whatever comes next,” KHOU executive news director Philip Bruce wrote in a note to staff.

Zubowski tells McGuff she will “pursue new and exciting opportunities” after she signs off later this month.

Katherine Whaley Leaving KHOU

katherine whaleyAs Darby Douglas returns to KHOU as morning traffic reporter, Katherine Whaley — who has been in that role since 2009 — is leaving the Houston CBS affiliate. The Houston Chronicle has details:

Whaley, a graduate of Memorial High School and Rice University who joined Channel 11 in 2009, said she was offered a reporting position with the station that she said she “ultimately determined was not the right fit for me.”

She said she will continue with Channel 11 through most of August and is “engaged in conversations for upcoming opportunities.”

Houston media blogger Mike McGuff, who first reported the story, also talks to Whaley about what’s next.

Former KHOU Reporter Brad Woodard Dies

Former KHOU reporter Brad Woodard was found dead in his Houston home last week.

According to KHOU, authorities found his body Wednesday morning. He hadn’t returned several phone calls from relatives prompting them to ask police to check on him. No foul play was suspected.

He worked at Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE from 1990 until 2006, before leaving for Houston CBS affiliate KHOU. Both stations remembered Woodard for being an “old school” journalist and award-winning writer.

We’ll forever remember Brad as a kind man with a soft heart.  He had two great passions—storytelling and animals.  Frequently, Brad turned a light on those who abused or neglected innocent creatures and his work on animal abuse—and many other topics—won him multiple local, regional and national honors.   One standout series was his investigative look exposing cruelty to animals used in research to produce pharmaceuticals.   He won a highly-coveted Sigma Delta Chi Award for his feature on the death of the family farm.  And he received the National Epilepsy Foundation Distinguished Journalism Award for his work providing an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a teenage boy living with epilepsy. Read more

Mary Benton Leaving KPRC

benton kprcMary Benton is leaving Houston NBC affiliate KPRC after 20 years, reports Houston media blogger Mike McGuff.

“It is certainly with mixed emotions at I am leaving,” Benton told McGuff. “I think what I will miss most is being a voice in the newsroom and represent those that did not have a voice in the media.”

Benton’s facebook page is filled with people wishing her well. One commenter wrote, “You have been a inspiration and provided a wonderful service to the communities you’ve served. May you be blessed Mary!!” Read more

Lauren Talarico Joins KHOU From WLTX

lauren talaricoLauren Talarico is joining Houston CBS affiliate KHOU as a multimedia journalist, Houston media blogger Mike McGuff reports. Talarico joins KHOU from WLTX, the CBS affiliate in Columbia, S.C.

“Although I am really going to miss my current station WLTX in Columbia, SC, I am thrilled to be staying with Gannett and joining KHOU,” Talarico told McGuff. “I know that with this company I am able to tell good stories about good people who don’t always get the recognition that they should.”

Talarico started at WLTX as a producer and assignment editor in 2008. In her six years at the station, she worked her way up to morning anchor.

Darby Douglas to Return to Houston’s KHOU

douglas khouDarby Douglas will make his return to KHOU as morning traffic reporter in early July.

Douglas last worked at the Houston CBS affiliate from 1996 until 2009. Most recently, he was the assistant director of operations in Houston for Total Traffic Network. He can also be heard on any one of Houston’s nine Clear Channel radio stations.

“Darby’s a storyteller. He loves weaving a personal yarn or two as he shares his wisdom on how to beat the latest freeway mess,” KHOU executive news director Phil Bruce said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to having him back in the KHOU Family.”

KRIV Points Out Maya Angelou Won’t Be Appearing in Houston This Week

KRIV maya angelou

Fox-owned KRIV in Houston is taking some heat on social media after the station announced Maya Angelou‘s death with a lower-third pointing out that the literary and civil rights icon had canceled a scheduled appearance in Houston this week (photo above).

For context: Angelou’s appearance in Houston was canceled on May 23, five days before she died. [h/t @SlowSlownews]

Syan Rhodes to Join KPRC in Houston

Syan Rhodes is leaving WESH in Orlando for Houston NBC affiliate KPRC.

Rhodes told Orlando Sentinel media writer Hal Boedeker, “There was never a dull moment during my six and a half years here! It’s been an honor to cover the news here as part of the WESH team. Central Floridians really embraced me from the moment I got here, and I’m forever grateful for their love and support.”

She started at WESH in November 2007. She also worked at WMC in Memphis, TN, WBIR in Knoxville, TN and KETK in Tyler, TX.

KPRC confirmed she starts July 7 as a general assignment reporter.

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