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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

Jones County Commissioners are considering an offer from ICE to put immigrant detainees in cells. 

Right now the Texas/Midwest Jones County “Bluebonnet” Detention Facility has a thick layer of dust on the brand new desks, chairs and structures added to cells a decade ago.  

Used with permission of the Texas Water Development Board

The state of Texas wants local communities to help develop new plans to manage flooding risks to life and property.  A team from the Texas Water Development Board has been traveling the state on a listening tour. 

On Thursday, TWDB representatives presented proposed flood control projects and strategies.  And they collected informal feedback from the 25 people who attended the meeting at the Abilene Convention Center.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Turnout was disappointing at the Community Conversation, organized by the Abilene Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit, to educat parents about cyber threats to kids.  But officials will keep trying to engage parents in protecting their kids online.

Abilene Police Department

Over two days at the end of June, Abilene police partnered with other law enforcement to arrest 13 people who had online interactions that were sexual in nature with people they thought were minors. Some of the suspects were arrested as they traveled to an arranged meeting with the supposed child.  The sting was the result of a collaboration between the Abilene Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit and the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Ernesto Guajardo / KACU

The Abilene Police department is responding to numerous calls of concern for a homeless man in a wheelchair collecting donations at Highway 83/84 and FM 707.  Police are trying to educate the public on the details and the big picture of the situation.  

Heather Claborn / KACU

Texas legislators checked large items off their to-do list during the 86th Legislative Session.  State Rep. Stan Lambert says from the beginning his second legislative session had a different feel.  He credits strong leadership and a strong economy for progress in education funding, property tax relief and pension funding.  Looking ahead, Lambert says the biggest thing looming on the horizon for state lawmakers is redistricting.  

Haley Remenar / KACU

19thDistrict Congressman Jodey Arrington is co-chairing a task force aimed at finding solutions for serious issues for rural healthcare institutions.  "Healthcare in the United States is sick," Arrington says.  "But healthcare in rural America is in the ICU."  More than 90 rural hospitals, including two in Arrington’s congressional district, have closed in recent years.  Arrington says part of what’s driving the rural healthcare crisis is onerous regulation, such as one requiring hospitals to provide in patient care.

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.