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  • Writer's pictureNeal Spelce

Neal Spelce in Austin American Statesman

Excellent History Feature on Neal Spelce in the February 5, 2022 Austin American Statesman, interview with Michael Barnes.

Neal's interview in Austin 360 On the Scene

Excerpt from the interview:

In one way or another, Neal Spelce has been involved in TV news almost since the birth of TV news.

He started working for the family of future President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson at Austin's KTBC in 1956, just 16 years after Lowell Thomas hosted the first-ever, regularly scheduled news broadcast on television in 1940.

The Johnson-owned KTBC, founded in 1952, remained the only VHF TV channel in Austin until 1965. Its program director, late humorist Cactus Pryor, cherry-picked the best shows from the national networks — CBS, ABC, NBC and, before 1956, the now-gone Dumont Television Network.

Born in 1936, Spelce is perhaps best known as the newsman who broadcast live on the scene as Charles Whitman shot anyone who moved from his roost atop the University of Texas Tower on Aug. 1, 1966. His voice was heard across America as the first mass shooting on a college campus exploded all around him.Spelce also enjoyed a long career as a TV news anchor and a media consultant. Along the way, he met the famous and the infamous, sweetening each encounter with a bit of his Arkansas country charm.

Tower Books, UT Press and the Briscoe Center for American History recently joined forces to publish his lively memoir, "With the Bark Off," a phrase that LBJ used when he opened the LBJ Presidential Library in 1971 as he promised a "warts and all" access to history.

I interviewed Spelce as soon as I finished the last page of this intriguing set of yarns that is also filled with crucial Texas, Austin and American history.

Read the entire article here:

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