Civic Summit: Healthcare Reform and You

Open enrollment in the nation’s new health insurance Marketplace started two weeks ago, and many are still confused by what is offered, who is covered and how they can sign up. Civic Summit: Healthcare Reform & You is aimed at clearing up some of that confusion. Watch Thursday night at 9pm on KLRU for an in depth discussion about the law with our panel of experts. Panelists will answer viewer questions and explain some of the misconceptions about how the law is being implemented in Texas.

Our discussion is moderated by Dr. James Rohack, Chief Health Policy Officer at Baylor Scott & White Health. Our panel is comprised of Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Tom Banning, Executive Director of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, which is the state’s largest medical specialty organization, with close to 6-thousand member doctors, and Mimi Garcia, Texas State director for Enroll America, a non-partisan, non-profit group which has been working to educate and enroll uninsured Americans.

Civic Summit: Healthcare Reform & You airs Thursday, October 17 at 9pm on KLRU. 

KLRU responds to Citizen Koch documentary controversy

Many of you know about the controversy surrounding the “Citizen Koch” documentary. (If not, please read the included links to news articles on the subject.) We have read the emails, petitions and comments from our community with interest and appreciate the opportunity to clarify a few matters regarding “Citizen Koch.”

The public television system includes a wide array of organizations, from producers and local stations to distributors like PBS.  Each entity is independently owned and operated.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS), which funds, presents and promotes documentaries and dramas for public television and cable networks, was the organization that was in discussion with the makers of the film “Citizen Koch.” ITVS did not submit the film to PBS, or any public television station, for consideration.

To the best of our knowledge, the filmmakers have not yet made “Citizen Koch” available for broadcast. Right now, it seems that the filmmakers are presenting the film at festivals and screenings.   If the film does become available to PBS stations, we will review it and consider airing it just as we would any similar submission.

If you would like more information on this subject, the PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler, has written a column on this which you might find informative.

You might also be interested in a film presented earlier by PBS through ITVS and  INDEPENDENT LENS series entitled “Park Avenue.” This examination of the widening gap between America’s wealthy and rest of the nation by Alex Gibney (Academy Award-winning filmmaker of Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) was aired by public television stations across the nation, including KLRU,  and can be seen via free streaming on

We appreciate your feelings on this matter, and we share your concern for open and honest information.  KLRU appreciates and seeks out input from our community.  We will watch for a program offer that will allow us to consider “Citizen Koch.”


Recent articles about the film and PBS:

The New Yorker, May 27, 2013
A Word From Our Sponsor – Public television’s attempts to placate David Koch
By Jane Mayer, May 28, 2013
ITVS Responds to The New Yorker article on Park Avenue and Citizen Koch

The PBS Ombudsmen, May 25, 2013
David Koch and PBS: The Odd Couple
By Michael Getler, May 20, 2013
Was resignation of billionaire Koch from WNET Board related to controversial doc?
By Dru Sefton, May 23, 2013
Why ITVS should be held accountable and “Citizen Koch” should be called “Citizen Corp”
By Anthony Kaufman


Overheard with Evan Smith: Joyce Banda

This week on Overheard, Evan Smith sits down with President Joyce Banda of Malawi. Joyce Banda is the fourth President of Malawi and the first woman to hold the office. She previously served as Vice President as well as the Minter of Foreign Affairs.

In this episode, Banda gives insight to what her childhood was like, from growing up in a tribe to attending school when others could not. Full of passion, Banda explains the experience that lead her to fight for women’s rights and how it shaped her mission to keep children in school.

President Banda explains in detail how she is transforming the country’s traditional tribal views of her childhood. She also explores her ideas to tackle Malawi’s population growth and the country’s issues with HIV/AIDS.

In a very candid portion of the interview, Evan and the Malawi president discuss the relationship between the United States and Malawi. Banda explains her country’s views on Western aid to Africa as well ways to improve relations between the U.S. and Malawi.

Make sure to catch this unique episode of Overheard with Evan Smith tonight (10/3) at 7:00 pm on KLRU. The show also airs Sunday (10/6) at 12:30 pm.

50th Anniversary of March on Washington

KLRU and PBS have a special night of programs on August 27th celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement that helped usher in sweeping civil rights legislation and a sea change in public opinion. In addition to the evening of programs,  PBS Black Culture Connection will debut The March @50, a provocative five-part web series exploring whether America has delivered on the promises of the March. Watch The March @50 now

In Performance at the White House at 7 pm
Hosted by President and Mrs. Obama in the East Room of the White House, featuring popular musicians performing contemporary arrangements of music that galvanized the U.S. civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s.

The March at 8 pm
Unprecedented in size, the August 28, 1963 massive demonstration for racial and economic equality issued a clarion call for racial justice that would help usher in sweeping civil rights legislation and a sea change in public opinion. The event, which will forever be remembered for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech, endures today as a symbol of unity and monumental impact.

Independent Lens “The Powerbroker” at 9 pm
Whitney M. Young Jr. was one of the most celebrated — and controversial — leaders of the civil rights era. This documentary follows his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, he took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents.

American Masters “James Baldwin” at 10 pm
Using archival material that reflects author James Baldwin worldwide influence and appeal, the film includes interviews with family members, friends and notable colleagues, including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, William Styron, Amiri Baraka, Richard Avedon, and Bobby Short, among others.


The Texas Rundown: Now Online

Last week was an historic week in Texas: an 11-hour filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis drew national attention, and two Supreme Court cases with deep ties to Texas were decided. In light of the recent news, KLRU aired a special thirty minute news and analysis program Friday evening called The Texas Rundown. The program was aired statewide, in cooperation with Texas PBS.

Joining us for analysis was Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter, The Texas Tribune. She moderated a discussion with Ben Philpott, host KUT’s Agenda Texas, Dave Mann, editor The Texas Observer, Becca Aaronson, health reporter The Texas Tribune, and Erica Greider, senior editor Texas Monthly.

You can watch the show in the video above.

KLRU news special: The Texas Rundown

The Texas Rundown

Between the end of the Legislative special session and two Supreme Court rulings with major Texas ties, this has been a busy news week.  As your public television station we feel it is our duty to be a source of trust worthy information so we are putting together a special news program called The Texas Rundown that will air Friday 6/28 at 7:30p recapping the news of the week.

Joining us for this analysis will be Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter, The Texas Tribune. She will moderate a discussion with Ben Philpott, host KUT’s Agenda Texas, Dave Mann, the editor The Texas Observer, Becca Aaronson, health reporter The Texas Tribune, and Erica Greider, senior editor Texas Monthly.

This special will preempt Need to Know.

Fisher v. University of Texas Panel Discussion 6/25

Please join KLRU for an important discussion on race and college admissions.

Date: Tuesday, June 25th
Time: 7 pm (Doors open at 6:45 pm)
Location: KLRU’s Studio 6A
RSVP: Event is free but RSVP is required. Please RSVP here

The documentary Admissions On Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education provides background and context to help understand the case of Fisher v University of Texas– what’s being debated, why the case was brought and how universities currently use race in the admissions process.

On Tuesday, June 25th, Evan Smith will lead experts in a discussion revolving around the repercussions of Fisher v. Texas at the University of Texas and across the United States. Featured on the panel will be Justice Steven Wayne Smith. Smith represented Cheryl Hopwood in her successful suit against The University of Texas. Her case led to the Top 10% law and eliminated the use of race in admissions in the Fifth Circuit for nearly a decade. Other panelists include an admissions officer and law professor Gerald Torres, a leading figure in critical race theory.

The panel discussion will take place in KLRU studio 6A at 7pm. RSVP now

Admissions on Trial now online

Sometime before June 30th, the US Supreme Court will issue a decision in a case called Fisher v. University of Texas – one of the most-watched cases of the term.  Interest is high because the case addresses the role of race in university admissions, and has the potential to end affirmative action programs at universities nationwide.

Admissions On Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education provides background and context to help understand the Fisher case – what’s being debated, why the case was brought and how universities currently use race in the admissions process.  Viewers learn about the Fisher case through interviews with key players at the heart of this debate.  And they discover the deep roots of this story, beginning in 1946 – eight years before Brown v. Board of Education – when an early civil rights pioneer named Heman Sweatt began his fight to integrate graduate programs at The University of Texas and at other segregated schools across the South.  Viewers will also trace the story from the 1940s through Fisher, learning about how the university slowly integrated, why the race-neutral Top 10% rule emerged here, why UT began considering race again and what the experience of university officials here might mean for other schools nationwide.

We interviewed activists, lawyers, students, university officials, admissions experts and people who remember segregation in Texas.  We visit a tiny rural school, a Dallas school that began as an African-American school during Jim Crow, and a big suburban school where competition for grades is tough.  We also get an inside look at the holistic review process, as an admissions official from Georgetown University walked us through some applications and discusses how he makes decisions about who to admit.

If you’re still interested in learning more, you can hear the oral arguments in Fisher at here, you can read the Fisher briefs and commentary at here, you can learn about admissions at The University of Texas at here, you can hear from Abigail Fisher on the Project on Fair Representation’s website here, you can learn about some other efforts to end government use of race here, you can see President Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 speech at Howard University here, you can see more film from the 1963 demonstrations in Austin here and you can learn more about Heman Sweatt’s case here and here.

Admissions on Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education 5/30


Admissions on Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education, airing Thursday, May 30th at 9 pm and Sunday, June 2, at 1:30 pm, takes an in-depth look at the debate over how universities choose their students.

For many schools, race is a factor in that process – a “plus” that can help determine who is admitted, and who is rejected.  A Supreme Court case called Fisher v Texas could soon end the use of race in admissions nationwide.  Understanding that issue means understanding the admissions process, and the history behind it.  The story begins in 1946, when The University of Texas was closed to African-Americans.  It continues in the 1990s, when the use of race was banned, and into the past decade, when it returned.  The documentary also looks to the future, where lessons learned at The University of Texas could serve as a model for race-blind admissions nationwide.

Hear from activists, lawyers, university leaders, students, admissions officials and people who fought segregation.  They discuss what diversity means, whether it matters, and how we should – and shouldn’t – be able to seek it.

In the Studio: Civic Summit Austin After 10-1

Civic Summit Taping Announcement

Civic Summit: Why Bother? Austin After 10-1
Date: Tuesday, April 23
Time: taping begins promptly at 7:00pm (Doors at 6:30pm)
Location: KLRU’s Studio 6A (2504-B Whitis Austin, TX 78712 map)
RSVP: Attendance is free, but RSVP is required. RSVP Now

Why Bother? an ongoing dialogue on civic engagement, takes an in-depth look at how the change to Austin City Council’s governing structure will impact voters. Experts and community members from across the city meet to discuss issues that are most important to them, to try to figure out how 10 separate districts will reconcile their differences once the new council is elected.

Sponsored by the Strauss Institute for Civic Life, KLRU, and KUT, this event is part of Why Bother? Engaging Texans in Democracy Today, a news and public dialogue series intended to provoke a conversation among regular people about why Texas has one of the lowest rates of civic engagement in the world, and what we can do about it.

Why Bother?