This week on Overheard: Novelist Jonathan Lethem

On this episode of Overheard, Jonathan Lethem discusses his writing process. Lethem is an award winning, best-selling novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His most recent novel, released in September, is Dissident Gardens.

Jonathan Lethem explains how he drew from his real life in order to create the setting and characters for his most recent novel. He explains how his grandmother and mother inspired the way his characters act and think. His characters in Dissident Gardens, he explains,”are passionate believers that they are on some kind of committed course the change the world.”

He also discuss modern publishing, how technology is changing publishing and the new idea of marketing yourself. Plus, he tells Evan what’s next in his career.

Tune in November 21 at 7 p.m. to see Jonathan Lethem on Overheard with Evan Smith. Watch the video above for an excerpt from our interview.

This week on Overheard: Author & Commentator Jonathan Alter

In this episode of Overheard with Evan Smith Jonathan Alter discusses his new book The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. Alter previously worked for Newsweek for close to three decades. He’s written three New York Times best sellers on American presidents.

Alter tells Evan how he must get inside of the minds of leaders in order to write. He also touches on the Obama “haters” who took part in the so-called Birther Movement as well as the haters of former presidents. Alter explains how Obama is often criticized for not accomplishing what he said he would.

But, not all of his comments about the president are negative. He also explains the legacy Obama will leave behind with healthcare. He says while many people are unhappy with it now in 2016 it will be something celebrated by future candidates. Alter explains, although people were scared of what the healthcare reform would do that “America is not Texas and is not going to be Texas anytime soon,” citing the state’s decision not to implement parts of the law.

Alter gives insight to the government shutdown. He explains the “effort by the Tea party, essentially, to put a gun to the head of the government and of the global economy” which he notes was “utterly defeated.” He explains that the party failed and Ted Cruz himself had to acknowledge he was “defeated.”

Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. to see Jonathan Atler on Overheard with Evan Smith. You can see a preview in the video above.

Overheard with Evan Smith: Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist. He writes for The Washington Post and appears as a panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press. His 2008 coverage of the election of the first African American president earned him the Pulitzer.

In this episode, Robinson give us his take on the “broken government” and how the United States should focus on moving forward with the economy. Robinson also explains how the Tea Party has influenced the government.

The subject of race comes up as Robinson address Obama and how the race factor affects the people’s view of him. He explains that race plays an important part of how the Obama administration and it’s decisions are viewed. He also contrasts how different racial issues are currently compared to when he was growing up.

Robinson gives insight to government issues and compares them to the issues of past administrations, including the Clinton era. He explains how President Obama can look back on what mistakes he has made and how the president has transformed while in office.

Evan and Robinson also discuss his career at The Washington Post and his reaction to Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the paper. He shares his hopes for how technology can transform newsrooms.

Don’t miss this informative and timely episode of Overheard airing November 7th at 7:00 p.m. on KLRU.

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.

After Newtown Specials Feb. 18-22

PBS and KLRU will air a week-long series of programming on school violence, mental illness and security issues on Feb. 18-22. PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, Frontline, Nova and other PBS shows will include special coverage on these topics.  KLRU will feature an interview with members of Austin’s National Alliance on Mental Illness during Need To Know on Feb. 22. Need To Know airs at 7:30 pm Fridays and the complete local interview will be featured online.

Other special After Newtown coverage includes:



After Newtown: Guns In America at 8 pm Feb. 19
AFTER NEWTOWN: GUNS IN AMERICA is an unprecedented exploration of America’s enduring relationship with firearms. From the first European settlements in the New World to frontier justice; from 19th-century immigrant riots to gangland violence in the Roaring Twenties; from the Civil War to civil rights, guns have been at center of our national narrative. Americans have relied on guns to sustain communities, challenge authority and keep the peace. Efforts to curtail their distribution and ownership have triggered epic political battles. This program traces the evolution of guns in America, their frequent link to violence and the clash of cultures that reflect competing visions of our national identity.

Frontline: Raising Adam Lanza at 9 pm Feb. 19
In the wake of the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, FRONTLINE investigates a young man and the town he changed forever. Adam Lanza left behind a trail of death and destruction, but little else. He left no known friends, no diary. He destroyed his computer and any evidence it might have provided. His motives, and his life, remain largely a mystery. In collaboration with The Hartford Courant, FRONTLINE looks for answers to the central-and so far elusive-question: who was Adam Lanza? Also this hour: In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Obama called for a national conversation about guns in America. Nowhere is that conversation more intense than in Newtown, where FRONTLINE finds a town divided and explores how those closest to the tragedy are now wrestling with our nation’s gun culture and laws.


NOVA: Mind of a Rampage Killer at 8 pm Feb. 20th
What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit the most inhuman of crimes? Can science in any way help us understand these horrific events and provide clues as to how to prevent them in the future? As the nation tries to understand the tragic events at Newtown, NOVA correspondent Miles O’Brien separates fact from fiction, investigating new theories that the most destructive rampage killers are driven most of all, not by the urge to kill, but the wish to die. Could suicide and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory be the main motivation? How much can science tell us about a brain at risk for violence? Most importantly, can we recognize dangerous minds in time — and stop the next Newtown?

Path To Violence at 9 pm Feb. 20th
Ever since the wake-up call that was Columbine, schools and law enforcement have developed multiple strategies to prevent attacks. Indeed, the horror of Newtown needs to be seen in a context that’s not defined by defeat. Remarkably, more than 120 school assaults have been thwarted in the past ten years. But, while security hardware and physical barriers can play a deterrent role, it’s been psychologists working hand in hand with law enforcement officers who have come up with the most helpful tools to prevent violent attacks. The Path to Violence tells the story of a powerfully effective Secret Service program – the Safe School Initiative – that’s helped schools detect problem behavior in advance. Yet, despite the progress made, recent attacks reveal a gaping hole in our safety net. Shooters like Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner and James Holmes all executed their attacks after they’d left their respective schools. In such cases, parents may be the first and only line of defense parents who are terrified of their own children and who receive inadequate help from the mental health and legal systems. Can the hard-won gains made by social psychologists and law enforcement be extended to encompass the parents and families of some of the nation’s most violent individuals? Further, is the country ready to have a national conversation about the balance between school safety and civil liberties that any such interventions – including gun control – require?

PBS Newshour selects UT students to cover inauguration

Instead of merely watching the Inauguration on Jan. 21, two graduate students and a senior lecturer from the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin will be running through Washington, D.C., covering the event for PBS NewsHour. The school is part of the College of Communication.

They will participate in a PBS NewsHour multimedia short course, which will take place Jan. 18-22 in Washington, D.C. The goals of the course are to give rising journalism stars an opportunity to be a part of history and collaborate with their peers from across the country, said PBS NewsHour Extra director Imani Cheers.

Second-year graduate students David Barer and Efren Salinas are among 14 student-reporters selected from a nationwide search. After being nominated by a professor, applicants were each asked to submit a cover letter, résumé, references, letter of recommendation, short biography, news clips and three story pitches.

“It was a great feeling to be selected for this short course,” Salinas said. “I’ve been working very hard since arriving at the School of Journalism, and I feel this is not only a validation of my hard work but an excellent opportunity.”

After visiting one of senior lecturer Kate Dawson’s classes in 2012, PBS’s Cheers invited Dawson to help lead the short course.

Instructors and student-reporters will arrive at the PBS NewsHour headquarters Jan. 18.

“It will be hectic,” Dawson said. “We’ll watch the show live on Friday, have a working dinner and then it’s a litany of 12- to 14-hour days.”

Barer will serve on a print team, writing stories about corporate donations and how the Obama administration plans to respond to environmental issues.

Salinas will serve on a film team led by Dawson. He will work on a video piece about the Hispanic vote, with a focus on the Dream Act and “Dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

To follow the multimedia short course blog, visit inaugblog.com. On Twitter, student-reporters will post under #newshouru and #inaugblog.

“Going through this boot camp will be tough but really rewarding,” Dawson said. “We’re working on some really innovative ways to tell stories, including some amazing shooting techniques. This will be like a mini multimedia course for students — a semester rolled into six days. We’ll just need some rest when it’s done!”

Watch 2010 interview with the new Commissioner for Texas Education Agency

This week brings a new school year for millions of Texas students, and a new commissioner for the Texas Education Agency.  This afternoon, Governor Rick Perry announced the appointment of Michael Williams to the TEA, effective September 1.  Williams served as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights under President George W. Bush and later led the Texas Railroad Commission.  He has been involved in Republican politics in Texas for many years, serving as general counsel to the Republican Party of Texas and seeking Republican nominations for a U.S. Senate seat and a spot in the U.S. House.  During that time, he’s earned a reputation as a reliable conservative and a name to watch in many circles.

Watch Williams’ 2010 interview with Evan. They discuss Williams’ politics, his interest in Kay Bailey Hutchison’s U.S. Senate seat, healthcare reform, climate change, being both African American and a conservative Republican, and growing up in Midland with parents who taught school and coached high school football.

Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams from Texas Monthly Talks on Vimeo.

For more about Williams and his new role, you can read a press release from
the Governor’s office
, an article from The Texas Tribune and an article from the Austin American-Statesman

A Capitol Fourth Celebration!

America’s biggest and brightest birthday party, A Capitol Fourth, features unrivaled musical performances by some of the country’s best known and award-winning musicians. Jimmy Smith hosts with performances by Steve Martin, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison, Jordin Sparks, Little Richard with the Broadway Cast of Million Dollar Quartet, Kelli O’Hara and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The celebration is broadcast live from the West Lawn of the United States Capitol before an audience of hundreds of thousands of people with millions more at home, and around the world to our troops on the American Forces Network.

Bringing viewers the most spectacular fireworks display anywhere in the nation, the annual broadcast of A Capitol Fourth captures the pyrotechnics from every vantage point with 20 television cameras stationed around the city — including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Washington Monument and across the Potomac River. In tribute to America’s birthday, the show is capped off with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with live cannon fire provided by the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery.

A Capitol Fourth airs on Independence Day – July 4 – at 1 p.m.

Redford, Woodward, Berstein in KLRU's studio

Watch the full episode. See more KLRU Specials.

Robert Redford, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein gathered at The University of Texas at Austin with a group of College of Communications students in KLRU-TV’s Studio 6A on April 21, 2011 to answer questions about All The President’s Men and the Watergate cover-ups that formed the real-life basis for the film.  The question and answer session was moderated by Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin and by Paul Stekler, Department of Radio-Television-Film Chair.