Cross—KXAN TV’s New News Director
A new news director is headed to KXAN TV (NBC) from an award-winning station in Wichita, Kansas, and he has ties to Austin.
He replaces Michael Fabac who was quickly dismissed in late May during sweeps.
Chad Cross, a University of Texas Broadcast Journalism graduate, is said to be the new leader for Austin’s #2 station. Before going to Kansas, Cross was a producer at KEYE-TV (CBS) here in Austin. He was also a reporter/anchor in Topeka, Kansas.
Chad Cross is used to being #1. Reports say that his station, KWCH TV (CBS) has led the ratings in the Wichita market since 1985!
Cross, KWCH TV’s news director, has been with the station for some ten years. In that time he worked as a producer, reporter, anchor, reporter, and assignment editor. So, it appears that he worked his way up through the ranks. Neither Cross nor KXAN management have responded to inquiries so far.
One thing is certain: As news director he will be younger than many if not most of the people he will manage including his anchors, mid-managers, and reporters. Veteran Jim Swift may be close to twice as old as his new boss!
Apparently, Cross was one of two finalists for the plumb KXAN job. Cross rose above the competition.
“On a 4th grade field trip, Chad Cross toured a television station and watched what happens behind the scenes to produce a live newscast,” according to the KWCH web site. “In awe of it all, he decided on his career that day.”
“It was the ‘magic of TV’ that inspired me then. Now, it’s about the responsibility we have as journalists to ask questions, hold the powerful accountable and use our medium to make a difference in the community,” he said. “It’s also about our service to viewers, relaying vital information for their safety, especially when there’s severe weather in Kansas.”
Those same priorities apply to the Austin market. Wichita is the 68th market. Austin is 44th on the Nielsen list.
KXAN also produces news for the Austin CW station, and Cross is familiar with that arrangement. Sunflower Broadcasting, Inc. owns KWCH and KSCW. So, his department also produces the 9 p.m. news for the local Fox affiliate. Also, in 2011, Cross launched three new newscasts, including one in Spanish for KDCU, a Univision affiliate. The station also has a 24-hour weather channel, four websites and three apps.
Cross was a part of coverage including major events like the tornado that destroyed the town of Greensburg, the capture of Wichita’s “BTK” serial killer, and the Jayhawks’ 2008 national championship. Under his leadership KWCH won national and regional Edward R. Murrow awards, 2011 Kansas Assoc. of Broadcasters' "Station of the Year" and a 2012 Emmy nomination for news excellence.
Cross oversaw all editorial decisions, according to the station’s web site. “I’m fortunate to lead a newsroom that prides itself on thoughtful, ethical decisions about our coverage. Every day we strive for compelling storytelling that focuses on who is directly affected,” he explained.
Cross hales from northern Colorado. He describes himself as a “farm boy.”
© Jim McNabb, 2012