KXAN’s hour-long noon newscast will be cut to 30 minutes to make way for “Studio 512,” which has been slotted for 12:30 p.m. weekdays. An exact start date hasn’t been announced, but the station says it’ll be sometime in August.
“Central Texas has so much to offer its residents that it’s challenging to know all the incredible things to do out there,” said Eric Lassberg, president and general manager of KXAN and sister stations KBVO and KNVA. “This show will help with that. Watch this show and you will gain ideas on local things of interest and adventure.”
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She told media writer Gary Dinges of Austin360.com she wants to spend more time with her family and “breathe a bit” before looking for a new job with more family friendly hours.
“I need a better work-life balance,” Rhode said. “That’s what this all comes down to. I have a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old and I want to see them more. Right now, I drop them off at school in the morning, then I don’t get to see them again until the next morning.”
“Leslie will be greatly missed,” said KXAN president and general manager Eric Lassberg. “From the bottom of our hearts, all of us at KXAN thank her for the many years of great work.”
Rhode is in her second go round at KXAN. She first started at KXAN in 1995 and worked there until 2003. She came back in 2008 after working at WJLA in Washington, D.C.
It’s not quite on the level of the NFL’s “Heidi Game,” but viewers of Austin, TX, NBC affiliate KXAN missed the winning overtime goal deciding game four of the Stanley Cup Finals because the station cut to commercial seconds before it happened.
The game was tied up at five and in overtime. With the Chicago Blackhawks on the attack against the Boston Bruins and with the puck almost on the stick of the man who scored the decider, the station cut away to a morning news promo and a car commercial. When the station cut back, the Blackhawks were coming off the bench to celebrate.
KXAN apologized to fans following the game. Ironically, the “sorry” came right after a package about hockey in Texas. “We unexpectedly and accidentally went to commercial break during overtime in tonight’s game,” said anchor Leslie Rhode. “It was, admittedly, the worst possible time to do that. We are so sorry. We apologize for that error.” Read more
Earlier this week, news broke that news director Michael Fabac had abruptly departed KXAN after five years with the Austin NBC-affiliate. Now, Austin360 reports that the station is facing a pair of lawsuits: one for racial discrimination and one for libel.
The libel suit was filed by a producer of the Austin Women’s Expo over a KXAN investigative report that alleged that the expo bilked sponsors out of promised advertising opportunities. Read more
Although KXAN general manager Eric Lassberg was not immediately available for comment, Austin360 confirmed with newsroom staffers today that Fabac’s five-year tenure as the NBC-affiliate’s news director has come to an end.
Fabac’s departure comes a month after Austin media blogger Jim McNabb reported that newsroom morale was slipping amid the departures of a handful of reporters.
A tipster emailed this afternoon to report that “many in the newsroom are headed for celebratory drinks this evening.” Read more
Austin NBC-affiliate KXAN debuted a new, expanded morning newscast today with a 4:30 a.m. start time.
Stepping in front of the cameras a half hour earlier is KXAN’s established morning team of anchors Chris Willis and Sally Hernandez (right), weathercaster Shawn Rutherford, and traffic reporter Debra Wynn.
“Our expanded morning show with our entire morning team will be poised and ready at 4:30 a.m. to provide our viewers the best in local news every morning,” said Eric Lassberg, KXAN’s president and general manager.
In Austin, KXAN follows ABC-affiliate KVUE and Fox O&O KTBC in expanding to 4:30.