“KLRU is a community in the virtual space.”

Amy Wong Mok of the Asian American Cultural Center believes that media doesn’t have to be divisive. As a KLRU board member, she’s proud to support programming that lives up to her values.

“I like to use [as an] acronym: the Chinese chi,” she says. “Throughout KLRU or PBS programming, they have these three characters, civility, humanity and integrity.”

In fact, the need for civil, trustworthy reporting led to the creation of KLRU’s Decibel earlier this year. In addition to national PBS news and public affairs programs, KLRU knows local audiences also want to watch local stories.

Hosted by Judy Maggio, Decibel produces television specials and short videos that help connect viewers to complex local issues while highlighting the real people whose lives are impacted by current events.

Amy says this kind of reporting can actually help strengthen rather than divide—because the community can’t grow until people really see, hear and feel the things that lead others to think differently.

“I think diversity can only enrich our life,” Amy says. “[KLRU] is a community in the virtual space, and I think it’s very important.”

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Do you value KLRU? Find out how to help. http://www.klru.org/value/

We’d love to hear from you! Follow the link and let us know what #YourKLRU and PBS stories are. You might just be our next featured viewer.

Decibel: Do cars get hot enough to bake cookies?

If you’ve ever gotten into your car after it’s been sitting out on a hot and sunny Central Texas day, you know it can feel like an oven in there. But, does it get hot enough for you to bake cookies in there? KLRU’s Decibel went out and put it to the test.

Watch the video below and let us know in the comments whether you’d give car cookies a try.

Make sure to like Decibel’s Facebook page to join in on the conversation and to be the first to know when new content is released.

Immigrant families help shape Austin through the generations

Austin Revealed is an oral history project sharing the stories of Austin’s past and present to encourage discussion and thought around the city’s future. In this series Pioneers From the East, KLRU profiles three of the first families of Chinese origin to settle in the Austin area – the Lung family, the Sing family and the Wong family. Each family has been in Austin for multiple generations.

The Lung Family
As an employee at the Texas Capitol Gift Shop, Joe Michael Lung meets visitors from around the globe. But for him, none of those places compare to Texas. In this documentary, Joe and his sister Meiling Lung tell stories of their grandfather, Joe Lung, and their father, Sam P. Lung — beloved restaurateurs in the community and members of one of the first families of Chinese descent in Austin.

 

The Sing Family
Mary Frances Aguallo and her grandson Raul Aguallo Hernandez always knew they were of Chinese descent, but the fragments of their history finally began to come together with the discovery of a lost box in an attic. In this documentary, the two explore their dual identity as Mexican American and Chinese American as part of the Sing family, one of the first families of Chinese origin to settle in Austin.

 

The Wong Family
Growing up as part of one of the first families of Chinese descent in Austin, Dr. Mitchel Wong “wasn’t looking for prejudice, wasn’t looking for any animosity, and didn’t see any animosity.” In this documentary, Wong recounts his family’s immigrant history as a member of the “Pershing Chinese” and his personal journey from grocery boy to ophthalmologist.

 

Tim Tsai

We sat down with filmmaker Tim Tsai, who partnered with KLRU on the project, to talk about his passion for Asian American history, why it’s important to Austin and why he got involved with this project. Read the interview

Decibel: Under Construction

When I moved into my office at KLRU, I was greeted by the constant hum of construction noises in the courtyard outside.  Crews were pouring sidewalks, planting trees and giving the place a much-needed facelift. At first, I was annoyed. It was a distraction to write and edit with a bulldozer below my window.

Construction workers on the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe.

I quickly considered my position here and smiled. I’m heading up a whole new journalism and public affairs initiative. We are “under construction”; building new ways to cover our community and engage our viewers. Reporting and investigating issues that truly matter is rarely quiet and calm. News is noisy, necessary work.

We are calling KLRU’s news and public affairs commitment, Decibel. Decibel will amplify stories and issues important to Austin by listening to the community and encouraging dynamic discussions.

Right now, the integrity and authenticity of journalism is under fire. As someone who has been part of this profession for 35 years, I’m incredibly troubled by the term “ fake news” and the attempts to de-legitimize the vital role a free press plays in a democracy. It’s not a perfect profession, but solid journalists search out the truth. That’s our job. That’s what we will continue to do, every single day.

At Decibel, we will not take your trust for granted. We have the honor of being part of PBS, an already trusted news institution. We hope you will follow our Facebook page, where we’ll share our stories, our interviews and our diverse community conversations. It’s where much of that interaction and engagement will take place.

As always, we welcome and invite your comments and thoughts. We want our work to reflect the issues in this community that you care about.

Thank you for starting this journey with us and stay tuned…

Judy Maggio   

Editorial Director, News & Public Affairs, KLRU-TV

 

Independent Lens – Tower airs 2/17

On what seemed like a typical summer day, August 1, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Using a unique blend of historical archival footage, interviews and rotoscope animation, TOWER reveals the action-packed, untold stories of the witnesses, heroes, and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others. TOWER steps out of the shadow of history to reveal the subjects as they are in the present day, exploring the legacy of the shooting through the eyes of the survivors of a story they’ll never forget, but in some cases had not talked about for decades. Watch this episode of Independent Lens Tuesday, February 14 at 9:00 pm, and again on Friday, February 17 at 8:00 pm.

Talk: Race In America airs 2/20

The Talk – Race in America is a two-hour documentary about the increasingly common conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police. The Talk airs Monday, February 20 at 8:00 pm.

In many homes, “the talk,” as it is called, usually contains phrases like this … If you are stopped by the police: Always answer “yes sir, no sir”; never talk back; don’t make any sudden movements; don’t put your hands in your pockets; obey all commands; if you think you are falsely accused, save it for the police station. I would rather pick you up at the station than the morgue …

The film will present six personal stories to illustrate the issue from multiple points of view: parent, child, the police and the community. Filmed across the country, in communities including Long Beach, California; Oakland, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Richland County, South Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; and Cleveland, Ohio, the stories will include interviews with academics, police force members, community activists and family members.

Austin Revealed: Food As Community

Food brings people and communities together and as part of a new Austin Revealed series, we set out to bring you the stories behind some Austin immigrants and how they have built unconventional families and communities using cuisine from their homeland.

Taste of Ethiopia

Woinee always wanted to open up a restaurant, but she had no idea it would be in Texas, or that it would end up serving a host of local families who have adopted children from Ethiopia. Now Woinee’s dream is helping dozens of children discover—and taste—their heritage and culture.

In this explainer, learn about injera—a staple item of Ethiopian cuisine—and how to make it.

Peace Bakery & Deli

Nuha says that while she was never treated differently in her small east Texas town, she felt wearing her hijab set her apart, making her stand out. But after opening her first restaurant, her culture has only helped her connect with more and more people from a variety of backgrounds.

Tropicana Cuban Cafe

Enrique Reyes spent his childhood helping in his family’s bakeries and restaurants in Miami, so it’s little wonder he set up shop when he moved to Texas. What is surprising is what happens when the kitchen closes and the floor opens up. Tropicana transforms into a dance hall, where a particular Cuban style of salsa is taught—after some Cuban coffee, of course.

Get a little boost with this explainer on Cuban cafécitos, a caffeinated treat that’s different from your regular espresso shot.

Little Mama’s Authentic Filipino Cuisine

Nita and Joanna have always been close, but after opening up a restaurant featuring food from her mom’s home country, the two have become even tighter knit. It’s become a way to share a future together and reflect on a past that stretches back to Spanish colonization.

You’ve probably never had dessert like this before! In this explainer learn about some of the most popular Filipino desserts.

Mister Tramps Sports Pub and Cafe

With start times as early as 6 a.m., it’s hard to be a soccer fan living in central time zone. So what is it that pulls these fans out of bed and into the pub? A sense of community. Owner Alfredo Cedrone modeled the bar off locations in his native Scotland, where pubs aren’t just where you watch the match—it’s where the local community gathers.

Roland’s Soul Food & Fish

Austin Revealed went live on Facebook for lunch from Roland’s Soul Food & Fish. We tried different dishes from pork chops to fried catfish and bbq to oxtails. Experience it with us in the video below.

What restaurants make you feel like you’re home?