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The Texas Debates: The Race for Governor

General, KERA News, KERA Radio, KERA TV, News Releases 299


DALLAS/FORT WORTH – KERA, the North Texas public television and radio stations, will host Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Senator Wendy Davis in The Texas Debates: The Race for Governor. The live, one-hour debate is a co-production with NBC 5/KXAS-TV and Telemundo39/KXTX-TV, The Dallas Morning News and Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB). Sponsored by AARP, the program will be broadcast on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. CT on television, radio and online.

The debate will be moderated by KERA managing editor Shelley Kofler. Questions will be posed by a panel of journalists:

  • Brian Curtis, NBC 5/KXAS-TV
  • Peggy Fikac, San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle
  • Norma García, Telemundo39/KXTX-TV
  • Gromer Jeffers, The Dallas Morning News

Voters also have a voice in the debate: They can submit questions for the candidates via Twitter to @keranews using #texasdebates. All submissions will be reviewed by the editorial staff before the debate.

The Texas Debates will air live on KERA-TV Channel 13, KERA FM (90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 99.3 in Sherman, 101.1 in Tyler and 88.3 in Wichita Falls), COZI-TV Channel 5.2 and other radio and television stations around the state, and will be streamed live online at, and Spanish-language viewers can watch the debate in Spanish at

The television program will re-air on Wednesday, October 1, at 11:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 5, at 4:00 p.m. on KERA TV. KERA 90.1 FM will rebroadcast the debate on Friday, October 3, at 1:00 p.m. Telemundo39/KXTX-TV will re-air the debate in Spanish on Sunday, October 4 at 9:00 a.m. Video of the debate will be available for on-demand viewing at at the debate’s conclusion.

 The Texas Debates is produced by KERA in partnership with NBC 5/KXAS-TV, Telemundo39/KXTX-TV, The Dallas Morning News, Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB), San Antonio Express-News/Houston-Chronicle, Texas State Networks, Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (FOIFT) and Texas public broadcasting stations.

The Texas Debates will originate from the studios of KERA-TV in Dallas. (Because of space limitations, the debate is 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 Texas Association of Broadcasters is funding the satellite distribution of the program to commercial and public radio and television stations statewide as a public service to media outlets in Texas. Stations have the option of taking the broadcast live or delaying it. The 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 provided by TAB, a service it has contributed for broadcast debates since 1998.


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

Brian Curtis anchors NBC 5 News at 6 and 10 p.m., and he’s covered politics at the local, state and national levels throughout his 25 years in broadcast journalism.  He led NBC 5’s team coverage of the 2012 Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, focusing on the Texans in the race — Governor Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

Peggy Fikac is the Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express-News, covering politics and government. Her work also appears in the Houston Chronicle, which has a joint Capitol bureau with the Express-News. She previously was a reporter for the Associated Press and Austin correspondent for three Rio Grande Valley newspapers.

Norma García is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience in television news.  She is a co-anchor for Noticiero 39 at 5 and 10 p.m., and the host of Enfoque Dallas, a political news magazine featuring in-depth analysis of current affairs with a specific focus on the Hispanic community. She also produces and reports the special series Prevenir es Vivir, which provides health and well-being tips for the Hispanic community.

 Gromer Jeffers is a political writer for The Dallas Morning News, covering city, state and national politics with a weekly column. He also is a co-host of Lone Star Politics, which airs Sundays on KXAS/NBC 5.


KERAis 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 and news, carries national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources at and 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.

NBC 5 / KXAS-TV is the award-winning NBCUniversal-owned Television Station serving the communities of North Texas with quality news and entertainment programming on NBC 5, COZI TV (Digital 5.2) and online at

Telemundo39/KXTX-TV is Telemundo’s local television station serving the Spanish-speaking community throughout North Texas. Owned by NBCUniversal, Telemundo39 delivers award-winning local breaking news, weather, entertainment and sports programming across a variety of platforms, including on air, online at and via mobile and social media channels.

The Dallas Morning News, established in 1885, is Texas’ leading newspaper and the flagship newspaper subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation. It has received nine Pulitzer Prizes since 1986, as well as numerous other industry awards recognizing the quality of its investigative and feature journalism, design and photojournalism. Its portfolio of print and digital products reaches an average daily audience of more than 1.1 million people and includes online news and information sites; iPhone, Android and iPad apps; Al Día (, the leading Spanish-language publication in North Texas; neighborsgo (, a consumer-generated community news outlet; and Briefing, the free, home-delivered quick-read.

The Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 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.

 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. and

 Texas State Networksis the oldest and largest state radio network in the country with 138 affiliates in Texas. TSN is a satellite and online content distributor with programming that includes hourly newscasts, sports updates, weather, agribusiness, travel and talk radio programming. TSN also provides uplinks for college and professional sports.

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.