Jimmy Maas / KUT-Austin | KERA News

Jimmy Maas / KUT-Austin

I grew up in Austin and studied journalism at the University of Texas. 
 
I began my radio career making fun of headlines on local sports and news talk shows. I moved to New York City to be a comic. Found some pretty good "day jobs” managing a daily news radio show for the Wall Street Journal and later, producing business news for Bloomberg Television. 
 
Upon returning to Austin, I dabbled in many things, including hosting nights and weekends on KUT and producing nightly TV news. 
 
Now I’m waking up early to make Morning Edition on KUT even better than it already is.

Robert F. Smith’s speech at Sunday’s Morehouse College graduation ceremony started like most. The billionaire entrepreneur and Austin resident extolled the virtues of hard work and the benefits of a college education, then the speech took a turn. 

“This is my class, 2019,” Smith said. "And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

Kim Roxie was a student when she first realized there was a problem.

“It was working at a makeup counter while I was in college and coming in contact with so many women who were tired of the way beauty was being done,” she says. “A lot of beige and not enough brown in the cosmetic department.”

Texans would be able to take home beer directly from local breweries if a bipartisan bill before the Texas Legislature becomes law. 

Austin is enjoying a robust economy. The city boasts monthly job numbers that are at or near what economists consider full employment; that is, almost everyone who can work is working. But the tighter job market is putting the squeeze on restaurants.

One of the first bills to make a splash this legislative session is one that would force the University of Texas and Texas A&M to renew their football rivalry. The bill likely would have stalled just after making headlines — as it has in other legislative sessions — but this time around it could be a little different.

Texas’ oil and gas industry is seeing a boom — thanks in large part to the relatively new oil-drilling method called fracking. Late last year, Texas oil helped push the country to become the largest producer of crude in the world. Around the same time, however, the boom came to an end for one town in the Hill Country.

Way before the prospect of professional soccer in Austin, the tract of land near Burnet Road and Braker Lane where a stadium is planned was sort of an anything-goes, edge-of-town industrial area.

The City of Austin received a petition Thursday essentially seeking to bring the Major League Soccer stadium deal to a public vote.  

The University of Texas Board of Regents on Thursday officially approved a new arena for UT Austin. The new building will replace the 41-year-old Frank Erwin Center. 

Regents also named Matthew McConaughey the "Minister of Culture" for the arena.

Precourt Sports Ventures signed a lease with the City of Austin today for 24 acres in North Austin to build a Major League Soccer stadium.

Williamson County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an incentive package for Apple to develop 133 acres of ranch land into an office complex.

Apple announced plans last week to invest $1 billion to build a third complex in the Austin area; this would be the first in Williamson County.

Last week in Waco, two teams met to play for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ (TAPPS) six-man football division final. The paths they took to get there couldn't be more different.

Dockless electric scooters have been for rent on Austin streets legally since May. Love them or hate them, they present some interesting legal questions for city officials, police and insurance companies.


After more than a year of lists and speculation, Austin's bid to secure Amazon's second headquarters is over. According to NPR, Austin joins a long list of more than 230 cities that competed in the race for an unheard-of prize: the promise of 50,000 jobs from the ecommerce juggernaut.

That prize has now been split in two – between Arlington, Va., and a neighborhood just across the East River from Manhattan. So what’s to come for Austin and the scores of other cities that didn't get a call from Amazon?

The University of Texas and the University of Southern California football teams face each other over the weekend. The two schools have played some important games through the years, like the 2005 national championship game. But the biggest game may have occurred 62 years ago on the Trojans first trip to Austin.

Port Aransas was built on a carefree lifestyle – the idea that you could leave the daily grind behind for the island life. Hurricane Harvey washed away that image for those who live and work there. Carefree days turned into a grind of insurance entanglements, contractor delays, ferry lines and worry after worry.

But with every storm there's opportunity.

Hurricane Harvey took a big whack to the shrimp industry's bottom line in Texas, but the storm's legacy may be what it did to the smallest shrimpers on the Coastal Bend.

When it comes to tariffs, the Texas economy has a lot at stake.

“Texas clearly is the No. 1 exporting state in America, so we really have ostensibly the most to lose,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.

Moseley said he's worried about the potential effects of tit-for-tat tariffs from China.

The Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau has a message for you: The city and its beaches are open for business.

Hurricane Harvey walloped the area just six months ago, so why the rush?

Refugio head football Coach Jason Herring spent all summer planning for this week, the Texas Class 2A State Championship game. He would have no idea how far he would have to veer from that plan to get to this point.

When storms hit a community, it’s up to a select group of people to stay at work.

First responders might come to mind. But there are also the folks who keep the lights on as long as they can, and then fix them once they’re down. Those workers need food, and many in and around Corpus Christi were able to find it from a familiar place just after the storm.

Port Aransas residents are just beginning to get a firsthand look at what happened to their homes and businesses after Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday.

The special session of the Texas Legislature began with an announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, pushing — among other priorities — property tax reform. But that call to action fell short of producing a bill in the 30-day session. And no change in property tax law might be OK, because Texans may not be as overburdened by property taxes as they believe.

Retired Texas teachers are closer to seeing some relief from higher health care deductibles, and current teachers may be seeing more money in the near future, too. But some teacher groups are worried the push to help teachers is more political than substantive.

With just days left in the Texas 2017 regular legislative session, the fate of a so-called “bathroom bill” is still uncertain.

Just after 1 a.m., state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) attached an amendment to a House bill in an effort to extend the life of the Senate’s controversial proposal.

Tyrone Swoopes scored on a 6-yard touchdown run in the second overtime, clinching a 50-47 win for Texas over 10th-ranked Notre Dame late Sunday night. Freshman Shane Buechele started at quarterback over Swoopes, but the senior played a huge role in Texas' running game with three scores – two of those in the overtime possessions.

UPDATE: Michelle Carter won gold in Rio Friday, making her the first American woman to win a gold medal in that event.

ORIGINAL STORY: It took Michelle Carter’s best throw of the year to win the Olympic shot put trials last month. The former Texas Longhorn All-American, NCAA champion and U.S. National champion qualified for her third Olympics and is looking to improve upon a fifth-place finish in London in 2012.

While Carter isn’t the only former Longhorns competing in various sports in Rio – there are 20 in total, with 13 competing for the United States – she is uniquely positioned to make U.S. Olympic history.  

For weeks now, hordes of the young and young-at-heart have been wandering the streets looking for Pokémon. Some have wandered onto private property, raising concerns about what is legal and illegal in the new world of augmented reality.


David Bowie’s passing has stirred many memories. For most of us, we’re left with how his music made us feel. But for one Austinite, Bowie left a different impression — one shaped like boxing gloves.


The Beer Mile World Championships were held this week just off the shores of Lady Bird Lake. One Austin company is hoping to parlay the beer mile into bigger and better things.

I am attempting to run only a mile, in a contest of fitness and guts – beer guts. But before I finish, let’s go to where it all started.


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