Jimmy Maas, KUT

Host and Reporter

I grew up in Austin and studied journalism at the University of Texas.  I began my radio career making fun of headlines on Austin sports and news-talk shows. I moved to New York City to be a comic. Found some pretty good "day jobs” managing a daily news radio show for the Wall Street Journal and later, producing business news for Bloomberg Television.  Now I bring you sports, business and oddball stories from around town, host afternoons and help with special projects. 

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Jimmy Maas/KUT

South By Southwest has been around for more than three decades. It's grown from a small music festival into a business behemoth celebrating tech, music, film and most things creative. But every year there are always people who come to the festival for the first time.    

Jimmy Maas / KUT

It's not uncommon for cities, states – even countries – to highlight their workforce, investment opportunities, or visitor and tourism offerings at South By Southwest.

There are booths for places like Mexico, Ireland ... and Bastrop.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State-sponsored film incentives are a big driver of the entertainment industry these days. States like Georgia and Louisiana have beefed up their programs, luring big projects away from states that have curbed their programs – like Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Four candidates emerged Tuesday from a field of 22 to face off in runoff elections to replace U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith in Congress.

Joseph Kopser and Mary Wilson will compete in the Democratic runoff, while Chip Roy and Matt McCall will vie for the Republican nomination. The runoff elections are scheduled for May 22.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

To the casual observer or those watching intently from afar – like, say, Columbus, Ohio – you might be a little confused by the signals "the city" is sending about a proposed soccer stadium in Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

The Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau has a message for you: The city and its beaches are open for business.

Hurricane Harvey walloped the area just six months ago, so why the rush?

TxDOT

The biggest roundabout in Austin will open at the intersection of the southbound frontage of I-35 and 51st Street on Sunday. But first TxDOT will have to close it completely for a few days to put the finishing touches on it – which means getting rid some of the intersection’s main features.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The University of Texas at Austin is moving forward with its plan to replace the Frank Erwin Center, but with a twist. The university is seeking bids for a private company to build and operate an arena and training facility. It would, theoretically, be done with “minimal financial outlay” from UT.

The new arena would be home to the Longhorn basketball teams, but would also host concerts and events, as the Erwin Center does now.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin could be home to a Major League Soccer team soon. The owners of the Columbus Crew are actively pursuing a move. But one fairly large hurdle to overcome is where they would build a stadium.

Among the potential sites are McKalla Place near the Domain, Roy Guerrero Park in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and the old Home Depot property at St. Johns Avenue.

KUT Morning Edition host Jennifer Stayton spoke with reporter Jimmy Maas to get a sense of where things stand with the Crew.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

Today marks five months since Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, and while there's been real progress on the cleanup, the island town still has a ways to go.

Sean Murphy for KUT

Today is officially “Hi, How Are You Day” in Austin – a holiday that both honors onetime Austinite Daniel Johnston and hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Interstate Highway 35 is many things to many people. It is a vital thoroughfare for commerce and shipping. It is also an economic and social barrier through much of Austin. And nearly from its construction, it has been a source of frustration for drivers stuck in its traffic. I-35 has inspired a number of questions and even legends about its design and those who made it.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

It’s been seven weeks since Harvey hit the Texas coast, and the small inland town of Refugio is still in recovery mode. The process has been slower than residents would like, but spirits are still high.

“It’s been rough,” said Mary Rushing. “Of course, we closed down for two to three weeks, you know, mold and stinky and stuff like that.”

Rushing is a florist and owns a Nona’s Flower Box in Refugio. She’s lived in the town for 17 years. She says it’s starting to look like the community she knows.

Austin Price for KUT

Refugio head football Coach Jason Herring spent all summer planning for this week, the Texas Class 2A State Championship game. He would have no idea how far he would have to veer from that plan to get to this point.

Precourt Sports Ventures

The owners of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew have released artist renderings of a potential stadium in Austin.

Precourt Sports Ventures, which owns the team, hired local firm Armbrust & Brown to help with site selection. It landed on Lady Bird Lake, between South Lamar and Barton Creek. The team might face several hurdles to locate there; the first being that it is city parkland, part of Butler Shores, just off the Hike and Bike Trail.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

We are in the midst of a real Christmas tree problem: Nationally, we have fewer trees this season. The good news is you can still find plenty in Central Texas.

The bad news is it may be harder to find than in Christmases past and will likely be shorter and more expensive. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Frank Erwin Center opened its doors to the public on this night in 1977. In the 40 years since, the building has churned out basketball games, concerts, monster truck shows, circuses and memories. More than 30 million people have crossed through the doors for a wide variety of acts.

As the building enters its twilight years, it’s doing its best to not show its age.

In its earliest days in the late 1970s, the Special Events Center, as it was known, was another sign of the city’s growth. (It was renamed in 1980 after UT regent Frank Erwin.) 

Crew SC Communications

The Columbus Crew is in the midst of a playoff run that could land the team in the Major League Soccer Cup. But rather than enjoy a great season, Ohio’s capital city and the Crew's ownership are at an impasse that could mean the team moves to Austin. That would be a dream for one fanbase and a nightmare for another.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

GOP lawmakers have proposed a tax overhaul that could double the standard deduction for taxpayers in an effort to simplify the filing process. But a simpler tax form could hurt a number of local nonprofits.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

The Refugio High School Bobcats are a powerhouse in Texas high school football. The program has just 13 losses in 11 years. They regularly shutout opponents, running up the score to double-digit differentials.

Oksana Malysheva
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

New incubators and accelerators are moving into Austin, and, perhaps surprisingly, the new competition doesn’t have any of the more established programs too worried.

Jordan Stead/Amazon

While Amazon has been very public about its process of finding a location for a second headquarters, it has asked Austin and the other 100-plus bidders to keep quiet about their proposals.

Amazon.com screenshot

Austin is officially in the race for perhaps the biggest corporate prize ever.

“This afternoon, we formally submitted the Austin-region bid for Amazon HQ2,” Mike Berman, senior vice president at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, said.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

A Major League Soccer team could be on its way to Austin. Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt announced this morning that he plans to pursue the move if a deal for a new stadium in downtown Columbus doesn’t pan out.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

It’s been seven weeks since Harvey hit the Texas coast, and the small inland town of Refugio is still in recovery mode. The process has been slower than residents would like, but spirits are high.

“It’s been rough,” said florist Mary Rushing. “Of course, we closed down for two to three weeks, you know, mold and stinky and stuff like that.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Car2go is dropping the signature blue and white, logoed Smart cars from its fleet. Customers in Austin will be able to rent only Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs when using the service in December.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Let’s get this out of the way: Amazon’s second headquarters is not coming here – yet. But the prospect of the e-commerce giant's "HQ2" coming to Austin has invited more than enough speculation.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Harvey was a big storm, but what if it's judged by the amount of trash?

“This is, by far, the largest disaster we’ve seen,” said Kurt Thormahlen, general manager of DRC Emergency Services. “I was talking to one of our subcontractors. He’s been in the business since 1972, and he’s never seen anything like this.”

Jimmy Maas/KUT

The last Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas is happening tomorrow – but there's a chance it could return in 2019.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

When big storms hit, familiar relief organizations like the Red Cross step in to help people in need. But there’s one local group trying to break the mold when it comes to relief.

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