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Community, General, KERA News, KERA Radio, KERA TV, News Releases 139


DALLAS/FORT WORTH – KERA, the public broadcasting station of North Texas, will host a debate between the Republican and Democratic nominees for U.S. Senate. In The Texas Debates: Race for U.S. Senate, Republican Ted Cruz, former Texas Solicitor General, and Democratic candidate and former state representative Paul Sadler will square off in a one-hour televised debate that will be broadcast live on KERA-TV Channel 13 at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, October 19, with encore broadcasts at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 20 and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 21. The debate will air on KERA 90.1 FM at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, October 19, with an encore broadcast at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 21. The debate will be offered at no charge to all television and radio stations in Texas and will air at various times (check local listings). It will be streamed live and archived for on-demand viewing at

English and Spanish language translation of the debate will be streamed online after broadcast at and will air on Texas Univision TV at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Saturday, October 20, and on Univision Radio at 7:30 a.m. CDT on Saturday, October 20.

The debate will be moderated by KERA managing editor Shelley Kofler. Questions will be posed by Peggy Fikac, Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle; Ross Ramsey, executive editor of The Texas Tribune and Pedro Rojas, news reporter for Houston’s Univision station, KXLN-Channel 45. To find out more information about the programs and the candidates, go to

The Texas Debates is produced by KERA in partnership with Univision Texas, The Texas Tribune, San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle, Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB), Texas State Networks and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

The Texas Debates will originate from the studios of KERA TV Channel 13 in Dallas. (Due to space limitations, the debates are not open to the public.) KERA considered every candidate on the ballot, and measured each against the station’s long-established, viewpoint-neutral debate criteria. The program will be distributed free of charge to commercial and public radio and television stations statewide as a public service, courtesy of the Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB). Stations have the option of taking the broadcast live or delaying it. The television broadcast will be available in English and Spanish and will be closed captioned. The television broadcast can be heard in Spanish on the SAP channel of the debate feed. Real-time translation and closed captioning are also provided by TAB, a service it has contributed for broadcast debates since 1998.


KERA managing editor and debate moderator Shelley Kofler is an award-winning broadcast journalist and television producer with expertise covering public policy issues, statewide elections and presidential primaries for KXAS-TV/NBC-5, WFAA-TV/ABC and KERA.

Pedro Rojas has been a news anchor and reporter at KXLN 45 Houston since December 2004. Before joining KXLN, he was the executive producer and news anchor for the Independent News Network in Davenport, Iowa, where he carried out the newscasts for Univision affiliates in Salt Lake City, Utah; Amarillo, Texas; and Little Rock, Ark.

Peggy Fikac is the Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle, covering government and politics. She previously was deputy bureau chief for the newspapers, which merged their Austin bureaus in 2006, when she was Express-News bureau chief. She has been a reporter for the Associated Press and Austin correspondent for three Rio Grande Valley newspapers.

Ross Ramsey is executive editor of The Texas Tribune and continues as editor of Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter on government and politics in the Lone Star State, a role he’s had since September 1998. Before joining Texas Weekly, Ramsey spent 17 years in journalism, reporting for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper’s Austin bureau chief.


Sylvia Komatsu, executive-in-charge, is executive vice president and chief content officer for KERA/KXT. She conceived and developed the national Emmy Award-winning series, The U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848). Among her many national public television credits as program executive are JFK: Breaking the News, Matisse & Picasso and After Goodbye: An AIDS Story.

Rick Holter, executive producer and vice president for news, is an award-winning digital, radio and newspaper journalist who recently joined KERA from NPR in Washington, D.C. Before that, he was an editor with the Dallas Morning News, the Tampa Bay Times and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

Shelley Kofler, managing editor and moderator, is managing editor for KERA News and an award-winning broadcast journalist and television producer with expertise covering public policy issues, statewide elections and presidential primaries for KXAS-TV/NBC-5, WFAA-TV/ABC and KERA.

Alexis Yancey, producer, is an independent producer and owner of Alexis Yancey Productions. An award-winning network news producer, her credits include contributions to the CBS Weekend News, Sunday Morning, Street Stories with Ed Bradley, 20th Century with Mike Wallace, America Tonight and CBS News This Morning, and additional experience with WFAA-TV in Dallas, WBZ-TV in Boston and WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.


KERA is a not-for-profit public media organization that serves the people of North Texas. The station broadcasts to the fourth-largest population area in the United States. KERA produces original multimedia content, carries the best in national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources at KERA-TV broadcasts on Channel 13.1. KERA-FM broadcasts on 90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 88.3 in Wichita Falls, 100.1 in Tyler and 99.3 in Sherman.

Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) is the leading media company serving Hispanic America. Among many assets, UCI includes Univision Network, one of the top five networks in the U.S. regardless of language, and the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast television network in the country, reaching 97% of U.S. Hispanic households; and Univision Television Group, which owns and/or operates 62 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico.  Online at

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit and nonpartisan news source founded in 2009 that aims to improve civic engagement in Texas, to serve the journalism community as a source of innovation and to encourage disclosure on public policy, politics and government.  Online at

The San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle are two of the largest news organizations in Texas.  With a long history of aggressive coverage of state government and politics, the two Hearst newspapers are dedicated to providing news and information across multiple platforms – print and digital. Online at and

The Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) is a non-profit, professional trade organization representing the interests of Texas radio and television stations. TAB promotes and protects a favorable climate for free, over-the-air broadcasting and educates its members and the public about opportunities and advances possible through broadcast operations. TAB is dedicated to the preservation of rights granted to the news media and individuals under the Texas Constitution and First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Online at

Texas State Networks is the oldest and largest state radio network in the country with more than 200 news affiliates in Texas. A member of the National Association of State Radio Networks, TSN provides hourly newscasts, long-form and short-form news, sports and talk radio programs. NASRN affiliates include Texas State News Network, Texas Agribusiness Network and the Texas Rangers Radio Network. Online at

Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is a nonprofit resource that encourages, sponsors and facilitates a greater appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment. Working since 1978 to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public, the FOIFT’s mission is to protect and preserve the state’s open meetings and open records laws. Details are available at



Republican Ted Cruz

Democrat Paul Sadler

KERA's The Texas Debates: Ted Cruz vs. Paul Sadler