Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin Give Gift to KLRU

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, announces that Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin have made a significant donation in honor of three key individuals who have tirelessly supported public broadcasting in Central Texas for more than 40 years:  Lady Bird Johnson, Sandy Youman and Catherine Robb.

“As a child of the LBJ administration, PBS is family for us.” said Luci Baines Johnson. “So it just seems right to make a gift in its honor, and to honor its dearest friends and ours: my mother Lady Bird, my niece Catherine, and our friend Sandy. We had intended to do this in our will, but decided we wanted to enjoy our station and celebrate our loved ones during our lifetime.”

The gift honors three notable women while extending the impact of public broadcasting in Central Texas:

Lady Bird Johnson served as First Lady when her husband, President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 into law; she remained an avid viewer, supporter and friend of PBS throughout her lifetime.

Johnson family friend Sandy Youman has been associated with KLRU for over 20 years.  Retired from KLRU in 2005 after a career at the station spanning two decades, Youman was instrumental in building membership, increasing major donors and in creating the Producers Circle.  She continues to actively support KLRU’s work in the community.

Catherine Robb, granddaughter of Lady Bird and Lyndon B. Johnson and niece to Luci Baines Johnson, currently serves as Chair of the KLRU Board of Directors, following many years of advocacy and volunteer service.

The Johnson-Turpin gift will support several key objectives at KLRU, strengthening the organization’s future and advancing innovative new projects.  Johnson also expressed the hope that this gift will serve as inspiration for the public to join her in giving generously to KLRU.

“We are so grateful to Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin for their generosity to KLRU with this gift.” said Bill Stotesbery, KLRU CEO and General Manager. “And we are even more pleased that it recognizes three women who have worked so tirelessly on behalf of public broadcasting to ensure that President Johnson’s vision continues for many more decades to come.”

Bill Arhos, 1934-2015



November 3, 1934 – April 11, 2015

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS and the family of Bill Arhos are sad to announce the passing of the longtime station executive, who most regard as the father of Austin City Limits. Arhos died Saturday, April 11th, at the age of 80. His life’s work was devoted to KLRU, public media and music. He served in many positions during his nearly 40-year career at KLRU, joining in 1961 to help launch the public television station. Over the years, Arhos served as Producer, Program Director, Vice President of Programming, Executive Producer of Austin City Limits (1975-1999), and President/General Manager from 1986 until his retirement in 1999.  He also served on the boards of PBS and the Country Music Association.  Arhos was a proud graduate of Rice University, graduating in 1957. Rice honored Arhos in 2007 with the Association of Rice Alumni’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Arhos will always be remembered best for his vision and passion that drove Austin City Limits to become the longest-running music series in American television history.   In 1974, KLRU (then KLRN) hatched the idea to create a music performance show. The pilot was shot on October 14, 1974, starring up and coming singer-songwriter Willie Nelson and the rest is history.

“I’ve never met anyone like Bill Arhos,” says ACL Executive Producer and longtime colleague Terry Lickona. “He was a real character, known and loved not just in Austin but throughout the PBS system. The idea for Austin City Limits was not just his alone, but he brought it to life, and he kept the show going and growing through some difficult times. Whether they know it or not, millions of music fans, artists and PBS viewers owe a debt to him for his enormous contribution to what’s become a cultural institution.”

Called the “spirit” of the show, Arhos was inducted into the Austin City Limits Inaugural Hall of Fame last year, honored for his vision, passion and dedication.  In accepting the award Arhos’ trademark wit was evident when he said: “It’s a little intimidating to be in a class of the first inductees, and three of the four have bronze statues around town.”

KLRU’s current general manager Bill Stotesbery says, “Bill Arhos was a legend in public media, respected for his creativity, energy, and persistence. From day one, he dedicated himself to building a station that was a national leader in production, and he set a standard that others seek to achieve.  He will be missed greatly.”

Arhos will be buried in a private ceremony at the Texas State Cemetery alongside other Texas legends. Details about his service and a celebration of his life will be forthcoming.

The family requests donations to the Bill Arhos Fund at KLRU in lieu of flowers.

KLRU invites you to attend Mariachi High

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, KLRU will present a special screening of the acclaimed film Mariachi High at Crockett High School on Thursday, September 13 at 7 p.m.  Crockett High School’s own Mariachi de Oro will perform and Kelly Sheehan, Executive Producer of Mariachi High, will be in attendance. Mariachi del Sur from Bedichek Middle School will also perform. The screening is free and light refreshments will be served.

Mariachi High presents a year in the life of top-ranked members of Zapata High School’s championship ensemble Mariachi Halcon in the South Texas border town.   This is an exuberant coming-of-age documentary about the brightest, most driven and talented Mexican American teenagers never seen on screen. At a time when the Latino dropout rate is the highest nationwide, intolerance towards immigrants is growing and public school funding is being cut, Mariachi High turns a much-needed affirmative lens on teens who are pursuing excellence through a connection to their cultural heritage.

Mariachi De Oro, made up of students from Crockett High School, is a nine-member band and will perform at the screening.  Led by Joseph Baird, the group has performed at Gov. Rick Perry’s inauguration, at the University of Texas and for Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

KLRU shines spotlight on Austin leaders

KLRU to share 8 more stories of local women making a difference
in the 2012/13 Women and Girls Lead: Austin project

Last night in Studio 6A, KLRU together with ITVS announced the next group of women and girls to be profiled for Women and Girls Lead: Austin.  Nationally, Women and Girls Lead is a public media campaign spearheaded by ITVS that uses the power of storytelling to spark conversation, debate and action on the challenges faced by women and girls in the 21st century.  KLRU’s digital shorts shine a light on stories profiling local women and girls who serve as models of leadership in their communities.

The women to be featured in 2012-2013 are:

    Katherine Craft
    Julieta Garibay
    Rina Hartline
    Peggy Kelsey
    Amy Koch
    Esther Reyes
    Ndeye Boury Silla
    Marissa Vogel

Complete bios below.

Special thanks to everyone who attended KLRU’s announcement event.


Austin High School students meet Jim Lehrer at Overheard taping

Jim Lehrer from PBS NewsHour with Austin High School students

Guest blog by Laura Laufer
media arts student at Austin High School

Having been involved with the PBS Student Reporting Labs for the last year as a junior, it was a real treat to be able to tour the KLRU studio and view one of the tapings for Overheard with Evan Smith with Jim Lehrer as the guest. It was only a year ago when my teacher was showing me a video clip of Mr. Lehrer addressing me and my classmates about the journey we were about to take working with the PBS NewsHour Extra website. Having only seen a high school media studio it was mind blowing to walk around the maze of KLRU’s office to see studios the size of our classroom and a control board that looked like something off of a spaceship. It was not only the size that was impressive, but the staff of KLRU is truly amazing; being able to watch them in their element was enjoyable and enlightening. (See photos from this taping on KLRU’s Flickr page)

The taping was my favorite part, listening to Jim Lehrer crack jokes about all of the politicians he’s interviewed was the highlight of my day. My parents were also jealous that I got to sit in on such an influential political figurehead which made the gloating that much more enjoyable. It was a learning experience as well. Being the youngest crowd there Overheard gave insight to the class about the inner workings of political interviews, a process that had never been explained to us. more

KLRU donates Library Corner to Sí Se Puede Learning Center

PBS Kids Raising Readers Library Corner at Si Se Puede Learning Center

Sí Se Puede Learning Center, an organization dedicated to providing a nurturing environment in which young kids and their parents gain the knowledge and skills to succeed, is partnering with KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, to launch the center’s first PBS Kids Raising Readers Library Corner. Located in a corner of the on-site computer lab, the cozy library is stock full of engaging children’s reading and activity books, as well as computer games to foster literacy and learning.

All materials have been donated by KLRU-TV, whose dedication to fostering a love for reading among children comes to life in the materials it publishes and television shows it produces. Christina Collazo, Executive Director at Sí Se Puede, views this commitment as being closely aligned with her organization’s efforts to promote reading and English-language learning in school and at home. “Given that most of our young students don’t speak English at home, we have the opportunity to give children a head-start in the language before they enter kindergarten,” says Collazo. “A library with engaging books in both English and Spanish is a great way to get our kids excited about bilingual reading and learning.”

Benjamin Kramer, Director of Education for KLRU-TV, echoes Ms. Collazo’s enthusiasm. “When centers like Sí Se Puede and initiatives like the Library Corners come together, we create opportunities for young children to develop from their first days as bilingual speakers, readers, and writers, and as sophisticated readers and viewers of television and other media.” Kramer added, “Multilingual literacy and smart viewing practices are great attributes to have, but of course, they need to be nurtured. Here is a shining example of just that.”

Children and parents will be able to spend time together at the library during the center’s “Mommy and Me” time, as well as check out materials to take home. Reading while relaxing on the inviting cushions, surrounded by Dr. Seuss and The Hungry Caterpillar decor, will also serve as an incentive for students to record the number of minutes they spend reading at home. By incorporating the enjoyment of reading into every-day learning, Sí Se Puede hopes to engage young minds in discovering their potential, reaching their goals, and imagining future possibilities.

Benjamin Kramer Named Director of Education

Former principal, teacher, and professor to direct station’s education initiatives

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, announces Ben Kramer has joined the station as the Director of Education. Kramer has 20 years as a professional educator, from early childhood to doctoral studies, with his most recent role as Principal for The University of Texas Elementary Charter School. In his position as KLRU’s Director of Education, Kramer will be responsible for providing vision and leadership for the PBS station’s community educational initiatives by engaging educators, parents and students in pre-K through 12 and higher education in a manner that builds skills and a commitment to learning.

“We’re excited for Ben to help us shape the future of KLRU’s educational services,” said Bill Stotesbery, KLRU CEO and General Manager. “During his career, Ben has shown that he strives to bring quality instruction and intellectually stimulating curriculum to all students, particularly those who depend upon resources outside of the home for their access, and recognizes the importance and power of using multimedia technologies for learning. This philosophy fits perfectly with KLRU’s mission to provide livelong learning opportunities to the Austin area.”
Kramer holds a Bachelors from Princeton University, a Masters from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been principal or assistant principal at several schools including The University of Texas Elementary Charter School, Austin’s International High School, Mathews Elementary School and Hill Elementary School. He has also taught at Texas State University in the Masters program in education and community leadership.

In addition to more than 11 hours of curriculum-based kid’s programming daily, including Vme’s Spanish-language children’s programing, KLRU’s current educational services include conducting workshops to help parents provide early learning skill development in their children, providing materials to teachers to help them gain additional knowledge for the classroom, and distributing books to families that could not otherwise afford them. KLRU participates in numerous national PBS initiatives that help strengthen the station’s educational role in the community and under Kramer’s leadership, the station will find additional ways to help build a stronger educational foundation for the future of Austin.

About KLRU:
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, presents quality multimedia content that engages people in the thoughtful exchange of ideas, the expression of the arts, and enjoyable lifelong learning opportunities, resulting in a more vibrant community and a higher quality of life. In addition to providing locally produced and quality national television programming, KLRU is also a non-profit organization helping to build a stronger community through educational workshops, community engagement projects and public events. Known as the producing station of the longest-running live music television show AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, KLRU has also worked on several other national productions including OVERHEAD WITH EVAN SMITH and documentaries like CITIZEN ARCHITECT and LAST BEST HOPE. Get more information about KLRU at

Screening: When the Bough Breaks 10/17

Child abuse is the subject of a new national documentary debuting in Austin on Monday, October 17th. The documentary, When the Bough Breaks is an unprecedented vehicle that can change how society looks at child abuse. Shot at the Center for Child Protection here in Austin, this documentary takes viewers behind-the-scenes for a never-before-seen glimpse into a child abuse investigation utilizing the children’s advocacy center model. Last year almost 40,000 child victims received critical services at a children’s advocacy center in Texas.

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, the Center for Child Protection, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas and Blue Cross Blue Shield invite the public to attend a special screening of the film before it airs nationally.

To reserve your seat, please email

Screening of When the Bough Breaks
AT&T Conference Center, 1900 University Ave.
Monday, October 17 – reception at 5:30 and screening at 6:30 p.m.

KLRU Elects New Board of Trustees Officers and Members

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, has named new officers for its Board of Directors, along with 11 new Board members.

Austin Attorney Beryl P. Crowley has been elected KLRU Board Chair, replacing Trisa Thompson, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Dell Inc. Ms. Thompson remains on the KLRU Board and assumes leadership of the station’s Board of Trustees Emeritus. Also elected were Vice Chair Catherine Robb, of counsel with Sedgewick LLP, Attorneys at Law, and Secretary Margie Kintz, community volunteer and formerly head of the Intel Foundation.

Eleven individuals were elected to the KLRU Board.

  • Oliver Bell , CEO of Oliver Bell, Inc. and Chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice
  • Laura Beuerlein, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Heritage Title
  • Ken Cho, Co-founder and Chief Straetgy Officer, Spredfast
  • Susie Dudley, Amelia Bullock Realtors
  • Christine Mattsson, President, The Mattsson-McHale Foundation
  • Rodney Gibbs, Founder and CEO, Ricochet Labs
  • Tom Green, actor, investor, and philanthropist
  • Michael D. Marin, Partner, Boulette and Golder, L.L.P.
  • Bettye Nowlin, philanthropist and community volunteer
  • Hector de Jesus Ruiz, CEO of Bull Ventures LLC and former CEO of AMD
  • Bobbi Topfer, philanthropist and development professional

About KLRU:
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, reflects, celebrates and inspires Central Texas through creative excellence, community engagement and lifelong learning. In addition to providing locally produced and quality national television programming, KLRU is also a non-profit organization helping to build a stronger community through educational workshops, community engagement projects and public events. Known as the producing station of the longest-running live music television show AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, KLRU has also worked on several other national productions including the documentaries CITIZEN ARCHITECT and LAST BEST HOPE. Get more information about KLRU at

Celebrate Vme in Austin through Hispanic Heritage Month Activities

This summer, we brought Vme to Austin in an effort to provide rich content and Spanish programming for Hispanics in Central Texas. Now, join KLRU and Vme as we celebrate Latinos’ contributions to American culture during Hispanic Heritage Month at Barton Creek Square Mall.

Enjoy a preview of Vme programming throughout the week and special festivities planned on select weekends beginning Saturday, Sept. 24, through Oct.15. Children and their families are invited to participate in several fun activities, including taking part in arts-and-crafts, learning new songs, meeting popular PBS characters, and joining in on puppet shows, face painting and balloon sculptures.

Schedule of Events

September 24th • 12:30pm-3:30pm

Join Vme and Mexic-Arte in creating Papel Picado, a traditional form of Mexican folk art that children can create and bring home.

September 25th • 1:00pm-2:30pm

Sing and learn Spanish words and songs through “Aprende Cantando” a 45-minute music class hosted by Heartsong Music. Two sessions will be available starting at 1:00pm and 1:45pm.

October 8th • 11:00am-3:00pm

Meet and greet the popular PBS characters Maya and Miguel.

October 15th • 12:00pm-2:00pm

Enjoy a bilingual puppet show, balloon sculpturing & more with Fonzie the Clown.

* All activities will take place at the ground level of Barton Creek Square Mall by the Macy’s entrance.

About Vme:
Vme is the newest Spanish-language addition to Austin’s KLRU lineup and features drama, sports, current affairs, documentary, food, educational preschool content and lifestyle programming. Austin viewers can watch Vme shows on KLRU channel 18.4 and Time Warner Cable channel 610.

For more information about KLRU and Vme, please visit