It’s been a wild, wacky year on Austin’s airwaves.
Local TV saw changes aplenty in 2012 – some expected … others, not so much.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggies.
Anchors away: The on-air shakeup at KXAN continued, with Robert Maxwell settling into the morning and midday anchor seat vacated by Chris Willis, who was named the station’s lead investigative reporter. But Maxwell didn’t last long in his new assignment. He’s moving to evenings, the NBC affiliate recently announced, and will soon helm the 9 p.m. newscast on sister station KNVA.
Former sportscaster Brian Sanders, in little time, ascended to an anchor spot on the weekend morning newscasts and, as of this month, moves to the weekday morning editions of "KXAN News Today."
Over at KVUE, weekend anchor Quita Culpepper, a viewer favorite, and longtime reporter Jim Bergamo were named anchors of the ABC affiliate’s 5 p.m. weekday newscast.
The station also welcomed a new morning and midday anchor, Yvonne Nava, a University of Texas graduate who arrived in Austin after a gig in Hartford, Conn. She took over the spot alongside Bryan Mays that was once occupied by Melissa Gale.
And Greg Kerr is the new morning co-anchor at Fox-owned KTBC. He replaced Joe Bickett.
New newscasts: KEYE abandoned its fluffy "We Are Austin Mornings" broadcast, replacing it with a more traditional 5 a.m. newscast. The city’s CBS affiliate also killed its 4 p.m. "We Are Austin Live" program, and reinstated a 5 p.m. newscast.
Watching the weather: KXAN named new weekday morning and weekend morning weathercasters – Mark Monstrola and David Yeomans, respectively – and a new traffic reporter, Amanda Dugan.
At KEYE, chief meteorologist Troy Kimmel will depart at year’s end. The station recently welcomed a new weekend weathercaster, Jordan Steele, as well.
Something to talk about: Fall brought changes to the daytime TV lineups on several local stations. The biggest switch-up happened on KVUE, where "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" slid back an hour to 3 p.m. to make room for "Katie," Katie Couric’s highly anticipated yakfest.
KEYE welcomed a pair of newcomers, Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake, to its afternoon lineup.
And KTBC added "Dish Nation," a celebrity gossip show, to its weekday schedule.
Courtroom drama: KXAN was hit with a pair of lawsuits in May.
One alleges the station aired a libelous story; the other, filed by former meteorologist Rhonda Lee, accuses the NBC affiliate of racial discrimination. Lee made headlines again earlier this month after claiming she lost a TV gig in Shreveport, La., after responding to Facebook posts.
Hook ‘em, ‘Horns: Several new cable providers signed up to carry the elusive Austin-based Longhorn Network, including AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications and Google Fiber.
But Time Warner Cable, the area’s No. 1 provider, has yet to reach a deal with the ESPN-run network. Dish Network and DirecTV also don’t carry LHN.
Ratings race: KVUE is the station to beat at 4:30 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., middays and 10 p.m., according to the latest Nielsen figures.
KXAN, however, is the top dog at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
In primetime, the CBS lineup on KEYE ranks No. 1.
New news bosses: Two Austin stations welcomed new news directors in 2012.
Chad Cross, a UT grad, is the new head honcho at KXAN, while Greg Turchetta is now calling the shots at KEYE. Cross comes from Wichita, Kan., Turchetta, Orlando.
Formula One fever: Austin’s inaugural F1 race was broadcast around the globe, giving Central Texas plenty of exposure.
The Fox-owned Speed channel reported it alone had 500,000-plus viewers who tuned in for the race. Numerous other networks also broadcast the history-making event.
Next year’s Austin F1 race will air on NBC.
Getting real: Reality TV absolutely loves the Austin area.
Fox’s "X Factor" and MTV’s "Real World" were among the shows holding auditions here in 2012.
Spike TV’s "Bar Rescue" just filmed a couple Central Texas episodes, and fire-ravaged Bastrop County was front and center on a pair of super-emotional "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" episodes that aired this month on ABC.
Next week, it’s radio’s turn.
Read my blog at austin360.com/tvblog or follow @gdinges on Twitter to get the latest updates on local radio and TV stations.