Charlie Fern's Ink

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Name: Charlie Fern
Location: San Diego-Austin-Washington-London

Charlie Fern is a former White House speechwriter who runs a full-scale communications consulting, PR and speechwriting firm. Ms. Fern is also an adjunct professor who teaches public relations at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I love Austin, Texas: Local Artists, Local News, and Local South by Southwest (SXSW)

Austin's News 8 highlighted musician Suzanna Choffel this morning as part of the station's regular "On the Rooftop" live music series. Suzanna played an acoustic version of her song "Hold of the Night", which is a lovely song. If you're in Austin for SXSW, I believe you can catch her on Saturday night at Momo's around 10 p.m. 

Unfortunately, it looks like you can't purchase this song or her latest release on iTunes, but you'll find her previous work, Shudders and Rings, there.  You can listen to more of her music on Suzanna's MySpace Music page.  And, you can also watch the video below (live at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar), but you'll hear some guy talking during part of the performance.

News 8 is a quirky all-news channel (very Austin) run by Time Warner Cable. The 24-hour news channel boasts a terrific little team of creative professionals who are willing to bend the rules of traditional reporting to bring viewers entertaining (often funny), upbeat and positive Central Texas news. Rarely do you find a 24-hour news channel that delivers child-friendly news a majority of the time, and that appeals to News 8's target market (think me). Yet their reporters aren't afraid to get down and dirty with investigative work, either.

Other things that make News 8 cool? For starters, their chief meteorologist, Burton Fitzsimmons, is one most cheerful weather guys I think I've ever seen. One of my favorite reporters, though, is Bob Robuck, who was an anchor in Dallas years ago before changing careers. Last year during an interview (he interviewed me, but I, a former journalist, had to interview him, too), Mr. Robuck told me that he realized during his news hiatus that his heart was in broadcast journalism, so he moved to Austin and joined the News 8 team. They're lucky to have him.

Check out News 8's Rooftop Music series -- lots of familiar names on the list, and the links should take you to short clips of live, single-song performances by the artists.

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