Five stories that have North Texas talking: Gannett to acquire Belo TV, the Carnival Triumph re-launches in Galveston, Texas grads are making major strides and more.
Dallas-based Belo Corp., owner of 20 major television stations across the country including WFAA, will be sold to Gannett for $1.5 billion. The deal is worth about $2.2 billion when you factor in debt. Belo also owns KHOU in Houston, KENS in San Antonio and KVUE in Austin. According to Bloomberg, the sale will make Gannett the fourth biggest TV station owner in the country.
The Dallas Morning News is not part of the deal; the newspaper side of the company, A.H. Belo Corp. was spun off into a separate firm in 2007. The DMN has posted the full Gannett press release here.
Belo Belo began as a Texas newspaper company in 1842, incorporated in 1882 and started publishing the Dallas Morning News three years later. Belo launched WFAA-AM, one of the first radio stations in the U.S., in the early 1920s. Belo purchased Dallas television station KBTV in 1950 and renamed it WFAA. The station's storied history includes being the first television station to break the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated. The station used to run out of the building that's now KERA's television studio.
- A Triumphant Return To The Seas?: The now infamous Carnival Triumph will sail out of Galveston once again later today. After an engine fire in February knocked out power on the ship and passengers were stuck at sea much longer than expected, complaints of food shortages and out-of-order bathrooms abounded. So can the Triumph bounce back from this past winter’s discontent? A doctoral candidate at Texas Tech says, no way. “Completely overhaul the vessel,” says Lin Humphrey. “Hit the reset button.” But passengers don’t seem deterred so far. Today’s cruise to Mexico is sold-out. [WLRN]
- Eyes On The Horizon, With Grandma’s Help: Kelly Bowdy is a proud middle school graduate. She enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of Morningside Middle School’s ceremony last week, but she’s already looking to the future. Kelly’s biggest educational influence is her grandmother, who has big plans for her sweet, inquisitive granddaughter. Those plans involve college and a challenging, rewarding career, and Kelly says she’s more than game. Hear her story from Bill Zeeble as a part of KERA’s education series, Class of ’17.
- Uniquely Serving Texas Grads: A new report shows the U.S. graduation rate has improved to 75 percent; the highest it’s been since 1973. The Texas graduation rate is just as high, which shows a double-digit increase over the last ten years. In 2010, only 63 percent of students graduated. The Hispanic graduation rate is now just one percentage point below the grad rate for white students, which experts say is very encouraging. Researchers say Texas has some unique practices which may be helping overall. For example, in the Lone Star State, school districts can serve students as old as 26. In other states, the age ceiling is 21. [KUHF]
- ‘Ann’s’ Broadway Term To End Early: The one-woman show about former Texas Governor Ann Richards will close at the end of this month, instead of the end of this summer. According to the New York Times, the final curtain will fall on June 30 instead of Sept.1 thanks to thin crowds and low tickets sales. Holland Taylor was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Richards but lost in the Best Actress category to Cicely Tyson. Ann will have played 132 regular performances and 19 previews when it closes.