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Heather Claborn

News Director

Heather Claborn joined KACU as news director in January 2018.  She oversees daily newscast and feature reporting and works with KACU’s news anchors to develop newscasts.  She also conducts two-way interviews, reports for newscast and feature stories and maintains the station’s social media and website content.

Claborn began working in public radio in 1998 as a fill-in "All Things Considered" host at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts. She then accepted a position with Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR) in Hartford, Connecticut as the "Morning Edition" host. Over the years, Claborn assumed more responsibility and shifted roles to become the daily news editor. She also continued reporting, filing feature stories for NPR news programs and contributing regularly to NPR’s business and hourly newscasts. During her time with with the Harford station, Claborn produced television news reports for CPTV, and served as a panelist on CPTV’s election debates. Heather Claborn won awards from the Associated Press and the Society for Professional Journalists in Connecticut.

After moving to Illinois in 2006, Claborn taught Radio News and Interviewing and other journalism and communications classes at Olivet Nazarene University.  Kankakee Community College began operation of public radio station WKCC in 2007, and the fledgling station added Claborn to its staff soon after. She hosted the daily morning news programming and produced two-way interviews and feature reports for the station. She also contributed reports to the statewide collaborative of pubic radio stations.

Claborn earned her BA at the University of North Texas, majoring in Radio, TV and Film and Political Science. During her college years, she worked for the short-lived KEWS, all-news, FM radio station in Dallas, and the USA Radio Network.  She also interned for KDFW FOX 4 news in the Fort Worth office.

 Claborn returned to central Texas in 2017 with her husband, David and children Cal and Molly. She enjoys the landscape and scenery that is unique to this part of the state, and is acclimating to the difference in the weather.

Ways to Connect

Heather Claborn / KACU


The state of Texas has been working to correct serious problems in special education highlighted by an investigative report by the Houston Chronicle in 2016.  The series of reports shined a spotlight on how Texas was shortchanging special education for more than a decade.  When federal education officials did their own investigation, they estimated that over 13 years, 32,000 students missed out on services they should have gotten. 


Heather Claborn / KACU

The Eighth Annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival is underway in downtown Abilene.  Organizers kicked off the three-day event with the costume contest and Storybook parade.  

“These are my grandchildren.  I invited them to come from Ft. Worth and they are here for the CALF festival”

This is the second year Twana Willis has brought her granddaughters in to attend the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival.  They were also part of last year’s record breaking crowds of more than 5,100 attendees.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Even as new storms made their way toward Abilene, volunteers picked up the pieces left behind by the tornado that plowed through four neighborhoods in Abilene early Saturday morning.  Storms brought as many as 50 tornadoes through the plains states from Friday through Sunday.  The one that left a path of destruction through parts of Abilene was determined to be an EF2, meaning winds reached speeds between 111 and 135 MPH.

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna says this is not the kind of weather event that Abilene expects, even when severe storms head toward the city.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Abilene City Council Place 6 candidate Ron Konstantin is no newcomer to Abilene’s political scene.  He’s run campaigns for mayor and for various seats on Abilene’s City Council for more than a decade.  Last year Konstantin completed probation related to charges stemming from paperwork filed for a 2010 political run. 

Konstantin has been involved in broadcasting for years and on his filing for the current election, listed his occupation as “disabled minister and poet”.  

Matthew Thompson / KACU

Early voting now underway for the May 4th City and School Board Elections.  In Abilene, the race for Place 6 on the city council is heavily contested with five candidates vying for the spot.  Charles Byrn, a customer service representative at SignTEX, was the fourth person to file to run for the seat left open by Steve Savage.  Byrn favors a limited role for government, and is tackling the political world for the first time.   

Heather Claborn / KACU

Early voting is underway for City Council and School Board elections.  This week we’ll continue our series of interviews with candidates for Abilene’s City Council.  We heard from Place 5 candidates last week. 

Today we begin bringing you conversations with candidates for Place 6.

Five Candidates are running for the open Plac 6 seat on Abilene’s City Council.  The seat is currently held by Steve Savage, who did not seek reelection.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Place 5 City Councilman Kyle McAlister is running for a third term on Abilene’s City Council.  In his second term, McAlister has weathered community criticism and calls for him to step down from his seat.  His critics, led by the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, provided local media with a collection of nearly a decade of Facebook posts that they say cross the line into racism.  The outcry lead to a number of organizations, including KACU, to sever ties with McAlister.  

Heather Claborn / KACU

The Hispanic Leadership Council held its second forum featuring candidates for Abilene City Council Thursday night.  Several of the questions centered on how the candidates would represent various minority communities around the city.  Four of the five candidates vying for the open Place Six seat attended the forum and answered questions about everything from the behavior of city council members to economic development, crime, and affordable housing.

Heather Claborn / KACU

“The Whole Damn Cheese” tells the story of Maggie Smith, a pioneer woman who grew up in the early 20th century, ranching and learning to make a life along the border between Mexico and Texas.  For her it wasn’t much of a border.  Fluent in Spanish, Maggie Smith lived on either side of the dividing line between the U.S. and Mexico at various points in her life.  She served both communities as a healer, entrepreneur, and negotiator; and she delved into a few more nefarious business ventures. 

Big Country Snake Removal

In March, Big Country Snake Removal responded to a call in Albany.  It was a windy day, and the homeowner was having trouble with his cable.  He had started to get under his house to fix the problem, but he didn't get very far before deciding to call Nathan Hawkins.  He told Hawkins he’d seen a few snakes and wanted them removed.  Those few turned out to be 45.  The video Nathan Hawkins and Maxwell Hicks recorded, documenting the day’s work, went viral.  The video posted on Facebook has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Congress to Campus, a program from the Stennis Center for Public Service, has brought two former congressmen to Abilene.  The  program aims to educate young people on the legislative process, giving them a bit of a behind the scenes look at Congress.  Former Congressmen Jason Lewis and Nick Lampson talked yesterday with students at Abilene Christian University, and the pair will meet today with Abilene High School students.

Levi McKay / Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church met in St. Louis, Missouri, for its General Conference.  It's a time when the denomination brings together delegates from churches around the world to discuss and vote on proposed changes to church policy.  This year’s meeting was highly anticipated because of the vote on issues affecting Methodists in the LGBTQ  community.  Reverand Amy Wilson Feltz, Associate Pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Abilene, attended as an alternate delegate, and describes her experience and her hopes for the church's response to the controversial vote.

Community Solutions

Abilene tackled veteran homelessness as part of a nationwide challenge to mayors.  Organizers announced that they had successfully reached the campaign’s goals.

Over a 100 day period, Abilene met criteria set by Community Solutions and the Built for Zero Campaign for Ending Veteran Homelessness, making it the ninth city in the U.S. to do so.

Heather Claborn / KACU

In his State of the City address, Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams highlighted progress and economic growth.  But Williams didn’t shy away from the difficulties he and the city council have faced in recent months.

Mayor Williams started by praising the city council, his department leaders, local religious and community leaders who he says are making big things happen in Abilene.  He pointed to economic development and opportunities for area residents, noting $14,000 of growth in the average household income over four years.

Diocese of San Angleo

Catholic diocese around Texas are publishing lists of priests that investigations prove were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.  Of the 445 priests and 147 permanent deacons who have served in the San Angelo Diocese since its inception in 1961, officials compiled a list of 13 clerics who had credible accusations against them.  The 13 include four priests of the Diocese of San Angelo, eight priests from other diocese who served in the region, and one permanent deacon. The list details the cleric's names, where they held assignments and their status.