The Genealogy Roadshow Austin experience

Genealogy Roadshow

Denise Garza is one of six people featured in the Austin episode of Genealogy Roadshow airing October 14th on PBS stations across the nation. Denise provided this story about her experience on the show.  PHOTO: Denise Garza getting final instructions from the Genealogy Roadshow production team before she tapes her segment at the Driskill Hotel on June 23.


My trip on the Genealogy Roadshow has been fast, furious and fantastic! Little did I know when I answered the call for entry, I would be pulled in a wonderful whirlwind of excitement.

KLRU ran an ad looking for Austin participants just after Antiques Roadshow in late April. My father, Joe, has been researching our family history for years. He formed many assumptions about our family’s long lineage but lacked conclusive evidence. I saw the ad and thought, “What the heck!” and submitted my questions.

The questions were:
1. Do I qualify as a Daughter of the Republic of Texas?
2. Are we related to Jews who came to the Americas to escape the Spanish Inquisition?

Just a few days after the online submission, I received a phone call from the show’s casting department. I spoke with the casting agent and he recommended that we do a Skype call the next day. I made my case on Skype which was recorded and presented to the GRS producers. They liked me and I was in!

Over the next few days, I emailed all the family research I had done on my own. The Genealogy Roadshow production team sent me a DNA test kit that same weekend. It took a half an hour to fill the DNA test tube with saliva. It was kind of gross. I sent the DNA kit back immediately.

About three weeks went by without a word, and then I received a call from Jeff with the show’s production team. He wanted to do a special taping session with just me! We settled on filming in my home and at Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park in Austin. Exhilarating, but a little stressful!

The small film crew arrived in my home on Monday, June 17, to film. My husband, Ian, and I were nervous and excited. The crew set-up in my little living room and we filmed the interview segment. The head of the crew, Chad, was very professional and patient as I sat for his questions. After the shoot at home, we spent an about an hour in the park filming more reflective segments.

Sunday, June 23, we were called to the Driskill Hotel to film the big reveal. Chad asked me to bring as many family members as I could. My parents, my sisters and their families met my husband in the lobby of the hotel. Unfortunately, my brother was working out of state and could not join us. Including myself, I brought a family of eleven! The production team was happy to see such a big family turnout!

Our call time for filming the reveal was at noon. However, the production fell behind schedule and we had to wait, nervously, for two hours. While waiting, we got to see another participant film their reveal and watch Earl Campbell greet fans.

Finally, we were called to the set to film the big reveal. Of course, I can’t say too much about they found, but I can say there were lots of tears and lots of laughter! The family was able to walk a little taller when we left the hotel.

I had a wonderful time on the roadshow and I hope that my story, along with the stories of the other families on the show, can inspire you to explore your own past and find your own place in history.

In The Studio: Lethem, Alter, Aslan, Leibovich tape Overheard 10/26

Overheard taping announcement

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for interviews during the Texas Book Festival. Tapings for Sunday, October 27th, have been cancelled. 

DATE: October 26th
TIME: Doors open at 11:45 pm. Tapings take place at 12:05 pm, 1:15 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm
LOCATION: KLRU’s Studio 6A (map).  Please see note about construction.
RSVP: RSVP Now … One RSVP gets you access to all three tapings. You are welcome to come to only one, but please wait for the taping to finish before leaving the studio. RSVP now

JJonathan Lethem at noon
Jonathan Lethem is an American novelist and former MacArthur Fellow. In 1994 he published his first novel Gun, with Occasional Music.  He has also been published in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and The New York Times. Lethem’s most recent novel, released in September, is Dissident Gardens.




AlterJonathan_credit Kristopher LongJonathan Alter starts at 1:15 pm
Jonathan Alter is an author and journalist. He began his career as a media critic for Newsweek before becoming columnist and editor. He has written three New York Times best-sellers about American presidents. Alter has appeared as a correspondent on several NBC news networks and has written for The New York Times and Vanity Fair. Alter’s most recent book is The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. He is the current executive producer for the political comedy Alpha House.



REZA ASLAN author photo (Credit Malin Fezehai)Immediately following at 2pm Evan will sit down with Reza Aslan. 
Reza Aslan is a religious scholar and author of the New York Times best-seller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of California, Riverside. Aslan established, an online journal for news in the Middle East and the world. His first book No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam was named one of the most important books of our decade and was translated into thirteen languages.


Mark Leibovich_credit Ralph Alswang PhotographyImmediately following at 3pm Evan will sit down with Mark Leibovich. 
Mark Leibovich is a political correspondent for The New York Times. He previously wrote for The Washington Post. He has won several journalism awards including the 2011 National Magazine Award for a profile of Politico’s Mike Allen. Leibovich’s most recent book is This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America’s Gilded Capital.



The event is free but an RSVP is required. Please complete the form to the left to RSVP. The audience is welcome to stay in their seats between breaks, but will also be permitted to come and go between interviews.

We hope you’ll be there as Overheard with Evan Smith begins a fourth season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor.  The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS viewers from California to Florida.  We’d love to see you in the studio for the interview, and for a chance to join the audience Q&A after the interview. Watch past episodes and audience Q&As at

PLEASE NOTE: The KLRU lobby on the 3rd floor of the University of Texas CMB building will be closed due to construction. Please enter the building through the ground level alley and take elevator to 6th floor. Those with accessibility needs — including people with difficulty walking down steep inclines — should call 512-471-4811 for additional information. Please leave a message if no one answers so KLRU can call you back.

In The Studio: Wolffe Overheard 10/27 cancelled

Overheard taping announcement

The taping with Richard Wolffe has been cancelled. All Texas Book Festival tapings will now take place on Saturday. RSVP for Saturday’s tapings now


Richard Wolffe_Credit Charles OmmanneyMSNBCRichard Wolffe at 9:15 am
Richard Wolffe is an author and Executive Editor of His most recent book is Revial: The Struggle for Survival. inside the Obama White House. Wolffe graduated from Oxford University and wrote for the Financial Times before moving to Newsweek magazine where he served as senior White House correspondent. He traveled with Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign for Newsweek. He has appeared on MSNBC as a political analyst and has made appearances on several international media television programs.

Mapping History 10/14 on KLRU-Q

On Monday October 14th, KLRU-Q features a special program about Christopher Columbus.

9:55 pm  – Christopher Columbus’ Maps 
Christopher Columbus’ Maps provides the backdrop to one of the greatest adventures of all time. Offering a comprehensive history of what led Columbus to attempt his explorations, the biography reveals how Columbus sought to prove the world was round and find a western passage to Asia – even though experts of the age felt he would perish in his attempt.

Q Night at the Movies 10/12

KLRU Q - Night at the Movies

KLRU-Q’s Saturday Night at the Movies presents a full-length feature film every Saturday night, plus extra content that gives the evening an exciting spin. Each film explores the work of legendary actors and actresses through many important films from their careers. Here is a peek of what this Saturday has in store:

Just Seen It Episode #313 at 7:00 pm
We take on a big rock and roll show in our review of METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER, and see if ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is able to scare up some frights in, of all places, Disney World. Then we look back at the birth of the beat generation with KILL YOUR DARLINGS, and finally disclose some secrets in our take on the story about the founders of WikiLeaks, THE FIFTH ESTATE.

On Story Creators at 7:30 pm
On the next On Story, Bones creator Hart Hanson and Veronica Mars and Party Down creator Rob Thomas discuss the creation of a successful TV series. Followed by the short films “0507” by Ben and Chris Blaine and “Smile” by Lauren Elmer.

Feature Film: Splendor In The Grass at 8:00 pm
In 1925 Kansas, a teenage girl (Natalie Wood) suffers an emotional breakdown following a platonic love affair. Beatty’s film debut.

October 13 – 19

KLRU Highlights

Dr. Heather Pleasants and Dana Salter present their findings on digital media youth and the creation of new narratives on Blackademics TV  Sunday at 1:30 pm.

Join Kevin Cokley on Blackademics TV  as he discusses the academic achievement of black students and students of Dr. Gloria Quinlan perform as she explains the work of teaching voice at Historically Black Universities Sunday at 2 pm.

In Performance At The White House presents Musica Latina Sunday at 2:30 pm. Gloria Estefan and Arturo Sandoval join President and Mrs. Obama as they welcome a host of today’s most celebrated Latino American performers.

Join Masterpiece for The Paradise, Part Two on Sunday at 8 pm. Follow the life of Denise Lovett who lands a job as a shop girl and finds herself facing a future filled with never-before-imagined-opportunities.

Masterpiece presents Downton Abbey, Series II – Part One Sunday at 9 pm. Two years into World War I, Downton Abbey is in turmoil, as Matthew and other young men go to war – or avoid it.

Antiques Roadshow continues in Harford, Connecticut Monday at 7 pm and find a sign of the times at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Genealogy Roadshow heads to Austin Monday at 8 pm and finds secrets involving football, politics, and home-state pride.

56 Up premiers on POV on Monday at 9 pm. Director Michael Apted returns to film the same subjects after their last meeting seven years ago.

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle presents Truth, Justice, And The American Way  Tuesday at 7 pm. Explore the popularity of dozens of superhero characters that opened the door for a new generation of artists and writers during the Depression.

Discover the essential role of rice in Southern cuisine as The Mind of a Chef presents Rice Tuesday at 10 pm.

Re-Imagining The Classics explores how writers keep stories fresh while remaining faithful to the original version at Tuesday at 10:30 pm on On Story.

Follow the story of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 501st attempt to save an orphan otter as Nature presents Saving Otter 501 Wednesday at 7 pm.

NOVA follows David Pogue as he begins the quest for ultimate speed in Making Stuff Faster Wednesday at 8 pm.

Raw To Ready presents Komatsu, the story of a giant 232-ton, two-story-tall dump truck that is used to extract precious metals found beneath the earth on Wednesday at 9 pm.

New York staff writer CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins Overheard with Evan Smith Thursday at 7 pm to talk about his book, The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court.

Marching To Nowhere premieres on Arts In Context Thursday at 7:30 pm. The film follows a low-income high school marching band and explores the financial challenges that face all music programs in the state.

San Marcos, Texas gets a visit from The Daytripper Thursday at 8:30 pm. Explore with Chet the history of Aquarena Springs and take a stab at whitewater rafting.

Civic Summit presents Healthcare Reform and You Thursday at 9 pm to clear up the confusion surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Plainspirits premiers Thursday at 9:30 pm features the first-hand paranormal experiences of dozens of Kansans.

Join Great Performances for their 40th Anniversary Celebration Friday at 9 pm.  A stellar roster of diverse alumni share their personal stories at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

Rick Steves’ Europe presents European Travel Skills, Part II Saturday at 10:30 am. The second episode continues Rick’s tips on planning an itinerary, hurdling the language barrier, and everything you need to enjoy the best possible experience.

Central Texas Gardener presents Brent Heath’s Naturalizing Bulbs Saturday at noon & 4 pm. Visit an old garden makeover that peps up its look with water conservation and wildlife plants.

The Lumineers and Shovels & Rope bring the best in Americana to the Austin City Limits stage Saturday at 7 pm.

Science Night 10/16

Nature Saving Otter 501 at 7 pm
On a typical late summer day a baby sea otter washes up on the beach in Monterey, California — hungry, lost, injured. It’s a tragic event, but not surprising. California sea otters are struggling. For decades marine biologist Karl Mayer and his small staff have worked unceasingly — one otter at a time — to bring this “keystone” species back from the brink of extinction so it can play its important role in the local marine environment. But the effort has stalled, and no one knows why. This is the story of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 501st attempt to save an orphan otter. From her discovery as a stranded newborn pup crying on the beach through her rehabilitation in secret roof tanks atop the Aquarium, we follow as Otter 501 learns how to dive, hunt, eat, and fend for herself in the wild, where survival is a long shot at best.

NOVA Making Stuff Faster at 8 pm
Are there physical limits to how fast humans can go? David Pogue wants to find out how much we can tweak physiology and engineering to move humans and machines even faster. He investigates everything from lightning-fast electric muscle cars to ultra-sleek sailboats to ultra-fast cameras and quantum teleportation. But faster is also about efficiency and the science of optimization: getting things done in less time. From the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to UPS headquarters and inside a packed 737, Pogue’s quest for ultimate speed limits takes him to unexpected places where he comes face-to-face with the final frontiers of speed. NOVA also explores important questions: Is it possible to go too fast? Have we hit a point where innovation outpaces our ability to keep up?

Raw To Ready Komatsu at 9 pm
To extract precious metals found beneath the earth requires a massive 232-ton, two-story-tall dump truck with a load capacity of 320 tons – a giant earth-mover like the Komatsu 930-E. This amazing engineering achievement is made possible by five essential raw ingredients: coal, chromium, mineral oil, latex rubber and sulphuric acid, an electron superhighway that generates massive power.

Exploring Extraordinary Animals

KLRU Q Featured

On October 11, 2013 KLRU-Q features two special programs about the lives of rare species.

8:00 pm –  Decade of Discovery
In the last decade scientists and explorers have discovered a staggering quarter of a million new species, and this celebratory program showcases the most extraordinary in a special top ten. These are the creatures no one dreamed even existed, the ones which have the scientists in a spin and caused the text books to be re-written. From the world’s longest insect – almost as long as a human arm, to one of the rarest mammals on Earth – the pygmy three-toed sloth – filmed for the first time swimming in the waters of the Caribbean, and the carnivorous pitcher plant big enough for a human fist to fit inside, these stories prove Earth can still surprise us.

9:05 pm  – Wild! Africa’s Secret Seven
In this film we see the behavior of the serval, aardvark, pangolin, genet, african wildcat, civet and porcupine – as they furtively go about their top-secret activities. Each story introduces us to one of these animals, gives us a privileged glimpse into their extremely private lives and their particular adaptations for life in the dangerous wilderness, where they battle against tremendous odds. We witness how each one cunningly outwits the super-predators in its own special way, with extra-sharp senses and other strategies for survival.

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


Blackademics TV

Top Black Studies scholars engage with projects and research focused on education, performance and youth empowerment. Blackademics TV airs Sunday October 13th.

10/13 – 1:30 pm
Dr. Heather Pleasants and Dana Salter present their findings on digital media, youth and the creation of new narratives; Dr. Amy Brown describes how urban fiction can be used as a teaching tool.

10/13 – 2 pm
Dr. Kevin Cokley discusses the academic achievement of black students; Students of Dr. Gloria Quinlan perform as she explains the work of teaching voice at Historically Black Universities.

10/20 – 1:30 pm
In his presentation, Dr. Kevin Michael Foster advocates for community-engaged scholarship. Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig offers a community grounded vision for accountability in schools.

10/20 – 2 pm
Dr. Omi Jones discusses the experience of being a black female professor; Former Ailey dancer Dr. Aimee Cox discusses women’s empowerment and dance.

10/27 – 1:30 pm
Dr. Leonard Moore discusses the surprising intellectual aspects of elite football; Baritone Sax musician Fred Ho performs and talks about jazz as black vanguard music.

10/27 – 2 pm
Husband and wife team, Drs. Keffrelyn Brown and Anthony Brown, discuss how race is avoided in classrooms and textbooks. Dr. Kevin Michael Foster discusses the challenges parents face in choosing schools for their kids.