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A special broadcast from the Houston Rodeo

It’s considered by many to be the hub of Texas’ official sport. And no, you don’t need knowledge of football. We’re live from Rodeo Houston.

In a state known for doing things big, there’s no bigger rodeo in Texas than the one we’re at. This hour we’ll be rounding up the stories and sounds of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo which is kicking off this week in Texas’ biggest city – an event that’s seen as something of a centerpiece in the sport of rodeo.

It’s rich in Texas traditions and history and considered an A-list event in the Lone Star State each year. Why its drawing in millions, what accounts for its continued appeal, and what its popularity says about Texas today.

A small Texas town is holding a big Leap Year celebration

One person has died in the Smokehouse Creek Fire in the Panhandle, which is now the largest wildfire in state history at an estimated 1,075,000 acres. We’ll get the latest update on the blaze.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are making simultaneous trips to the Texas-Mexico border today, a few days before Super Tuesday.

There are traditions associated with Leap Day in different cultures – and as it turns out, Texas has some of its own. The Standard’s Sarah Asch dives in.

And: There is a high-stakes global hunt for new places to mine lithium, and some investors have tabbed East Texas as one of the element’s potential hot spots.

A New Hope: Austin FC’s season opener w/ goalie Brad Stuver and singer Mélat

Austin FC goalie Brad Stuver talks to hosts Jimmy Maas and Juan Garcia about his pre-game ritual, his favorite date night spot in Austin, and how he makes sure that what happens on the field stays on the field.

Austin musician Mélat explains what it’s like to sing the national anthem at the season kickoff game — she’s done it three times! Plus she explains how she manifested a professional soccer team for our city.

Juan tells you why Austin FC is paying tribute to the Armadillo World Headquarters on their new away jersey.

And Jeremiah Bentley and Landon Cotham from the Moontower Soccer podcast talk about off-season trades and signings.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 27, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 27, 2024. Local activists are asking the Department of Justice to investigate APD. Austin’s budget troubles. Latest plans for the downtown Health South development site. Dairy plant development lawsuit. Texas anti-abortion activists consider pushing for changes to the state’s IVF laws.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for February 22, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 22, 2024. Reactions from the AT&T outage. The City of Austin will not move forward with a plan to conduct a comprehensive review of its homeless services and programs. New water rules to fight drought conditions. Sarkisian gets a raise.

Coral samples in Galveston could be key to keeping the species alive

On the eve of early voting, Alexandra Samuels of Texas Monthly and Mark Jones of the Baker Institute at Rice University share a closer look at some of the big contests Texas voters will see on their primary ballots.

We’ll hear about what happened when reporters for the Houston Chronicle began mapping where tickets are being issued to people experiencing homelessness there.

Amid mounting threats from climate change, scientists at Moody Gardens in Galveston are caring for 150 coral fragments from five species to keep them alive.

Anyone up for barbecue – for breakfast? BBQ journalist Daniel Vaughn has some prime tips.

New music exhibit features iconic items owned by Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift and more

A new law making it a state crime for migrants to enter Texas without authorization faces a major test in a federal courtroom. We’ll hear the latest.

In Houston ISD, the biggest school district in the state, officials appointed by the state are getting pushback over plans to expand school reforms.

A Texas presidential museum turns a spotlight on Taylor Swift’s guitar, Willie Nelson’s boots and hundreds of other artifacts to help tell the story of American music.

Plus: The week in politics with The Texas Tribune.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for February 15, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 15, 2024. A petition to incorporate parts of Williamson County into a groundwater conservation district based out of Bell County fails. The City of Austin will spend more than $700 thousand to finalize a labor contract with Austin Police. The Austin City Council adopted a resolution to address climate change, sustainability and resiliency. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is nearing the end of a process to re-determine Medicaid eligibility. The Pflugerville Independent School District is in the market for a new superintendent.

Trailer: ¡Vamos Verde!

¡Vamos Verde! is a podcast that looks at the intersection of Austin FC and the community that surrounds it. Hosts Jimmy Maas and Juan Garcia talk to players, staff, fans, musicians, and artists to bring you an inside look at the culture of Austin’s only professional sports team. 

The first episode comes out on Feb 29th, with episodes coming out every other Thursday through the end of the season.

¡Vamos Verde! is a production of KUT and KUTX Studios in collaboration with Austin FC.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for January 23, 2024

Central Texas top stories for January 23, 2024. Acevedo decides against joining the City of Austin. The City of Austin issues an apology to sexual assault victims for the mishandling of cases by the Austin Police Department. Light rail update. Central Health announces a new clinic. Carmen Llanes Pulido announces her mayoral run. Kyle eclipse preparations. Longhorns basketball.

Children at Risk’s annual ranking of Texas schools is out

Texas officials say they’re reassigning workers to deal with an ongoing problem of providing care for foster kids without placement.

The 2022-2023 school ratings report from Houston-based nonprofit Children at Risk sheds light on progress and problems that districts are facing statewide.

Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who also had a short stint in Houston, will soon take on a new position overseeing Austin’s police department.

And a giraffe in a park in Juárez, who made headlines last year, is getting a new home.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for January 16, 2024

Central Texas top stories for January 16, 2024. Hard freeze warning. State of the power grid. City of Austin’s response to this year’s freeze and past events. Austin Travis County EMS hypothermia calls. Longhorns Basketball.

KUT Morning Newscast for January 11, 2024

Central Texas top stories for January 11, 2024. Grid outlook ahead of cold snap. Austin-Bergstrom’s new concourse plan. Austin-Bergstrom flight cancellations due to grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. The City of Austin is trying to crack down on unauthorized short-term rentals. Healthcare enrollment stats.

What we know about the hotel explosion in Fort Worth

Investigators are still on the scene of a hotel explosion in Fort Worth as some ask if this is part of a larger trend spotted nationwide.

A special election to fill an open Texas House seat – and a race seen as a proxy for an intraparty fight within the Texas GOP.

A community like few others: Why an experiment outside Austin to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness is being seen as a potential model for other cities.

Plus: Could 3D-printed homes help with a housing shortage?

A look ahead to the new year in Texas, from politics to entertainment

Two experts weigh in on the Texas political landscape and the stakes as we head into a major general election year amid growing rifts among Texas Republicans. Could the new year mark a tipping point for Texas Democrats?

Tech expert Omar Gallaga and the Standard’s own Shelly Brisbin look at what’s buzzing on the technology front.

Plus: coming attractions at the theater and some of the most anticipated book releases of 2024.

A look back at the year in review

It was a year like few others in modern memory at the Texas Capitol, with four special sessions on top of a regular session, a historic impeachment trial of the state attorney general and more.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the most seminal Texas music moments ever committed to vinyl: Viva Terlingua!

All about Texas cryptids

Most Texans have heard their names, and quite a few grew up hearing their stories: Bigfoot, jackalope, goatman, La Lechuza, chupacabra, just for starters. Scientists question whether they’re real, but the space they occupy in Texas folklore is very real indeed.

Today we’re sharing the results of a month-long effort to track down the origin stories of Texas cryptids – and discover why they have such a hold on Texas mythology and imagination.

The best of the year in arts & culture

Today we’re turning our attention to the world of arts and culture, from a riveting film featuring the audio diaries of Lady Bird Johnson, to the startling impact of a singer named Taylor Swift.

What if it is your first rodeo? We’ve got you covered there with what to do – and what not to.

And Austin-born actor Gabriel Luna talks about his role in the hit HBO series “The Last of Us.”

Our staff favorites of the year

Texas Standard producers have made their lists and checked ‘em twice – or more – selecting some of our most memorable conversations with fascinating Texans over the past 12 months.

This hour, we invite you to sit back and enjoy our staff favorites from the past year, including honky tonk heroines, birders in cemeteries, bears making a comeback and a whole lot more.

How ‘The Iron Claw’ filmmakers achieved authenticity inside the ring

Amid a shortage of ADHD medication, concerns grow about adulterated formulations at pharmacies in Mexico.

As Houston is about to get a new mayor, a look back at the tenure of the term-limited incumbent, Sylvester Turner.

Making history at the Capitol: The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán talks to the two women who are the first to hold the top law enforcement offices in the House of Representatives.

A new film about a wrestling dynasty built by a Texas family – and why “The Iron Claw” is winning over critics who couldn’t care less about wrestling.

Plus, the week in politics with The Texas Tribune.