Lyda Hill's Giving $1 Million to Public Radio, and KERA Isn't Even Going To Send Her a Coffee Mug
You might not expect the granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, the oil magnate who inspired Larry Hagman's character on Dallas, to be particularly fond of public radio. But as it turns out, Lyda Hill is very fond indeed of her local NPR affiliate, KERA.
The station announced today that Hill's foundation is writing the station a $1 million check to expand local news programming. It was her largesse that has made possible the weekly Health Checkup segment with Sam Baker and two series, Going Green: The Practical Payoffs and Engineering Hope.
KERA spokesman Chris Wagley said that in the wake of those programs KERA conducted a focus group with community leaders on what they wanted from the station.
"The outcome of that was they wanted more local news, and the kind of news that only public media can provide," Wagley said.
So, the station sketched out the rough plan to expand its coverage of local news and presented it to Hill. She was reportedly happy with the outcome of her last gift and agreed to help fund the expansion.
KERA's first move has been to hire Rick Holter as vice president for news. Holter worked for 15 years at the Morning News, mostly as arts editor, before moving on to become an editor at NPR. There will be additional hires, Wagley said, but who they are and what they will do will be determined once Holter is officially on board.
The real question is what sort of KERA swag Hill's getting for the donation. Ten thousand coffee mugs? Carl Kasell's voice on her home answering machine? Nope.
"She does not get anything other than the good feeling of donating to public people knowing she's going to have a positive impact for North Texans," Wagley said.
That seemed a bit stingy. Not even a single coffee mug?
Wagley finally conceded that "If Ms. Hill would like a coffee mug, we are happy to give Ms. Hill a coffee mug."