Debbie Hiott, who most recently served as editor of the Austin American-Statesman for seven years, has been selected to lead KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, and KUTX 98.9, The Austin Music Experience, as their next general manager and the executive director of media operations for the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin.
As editor, Hiott led the Austin American-Statesman to three Texas Newspaper of the Year awards, while also enhancing its award-winning digital products.
Hiott served the American-Statesman in numerous capacities during a decorated 26-year career. She began as a reporter and ascended through various editing positions, including state editor and managing editor, before taking over the lead newsroom role as editor in September 2011.
“KUT and KUTX are great public assets, and I look forward to helping the talented staff there bring more local news and entertainment to the Austin area,” said Hiott. “The stations, along with Texas Student Media, play important roles for their communities, and I’m honored and excited to have a role in that critical mission.”
KUT and KUTX are community-supported public media that fuel Austin’s love of discovery. KUT 90.5 uses the highest editorial standards to report the stories that matter to Austin, and KUTX 98.9 enriches listeners’ lives with the music and experiences that reflect the spirit of Austin. Texas Student Media, which will also report to Hiott, includes The Daily Texan newspaper, KVRX radio, the satirical newspaper Texas Travesty, Texas Student Television, Cactus Yearbook, Burnt X, and Longhorn Life.
“Debbie is a respected leader who brings outstanding experience, knowledge and character to KUT, KUTX and Texas Student Media,” said Jay Bernhardt, dean of the Moody College of Communication. “She is exceptionally well suited to help guide these outstanding public media stations and student media platforms to even greater levels of community reach and impact.”
Hiott was selected after a comprehensive, national search, supported by the professional search firm Opus Partners. She will assume her new role Jan. 14. Klee Kleber, chairperson of the KUT advisory board, co-chaired the search committee with Karin Wilkins, associate dean of Moody College.
“We are confident Debbie Hiott has the experience and expertise to provide a steady hand at the helm of KUT and KUTX,” Kleber said. “Our community relies heavily on KUT and KUTX, and they can trust that Debbie will strongly support the needs and interests of the listeners and supporters.”