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Now you can hear Dave Ward's life story from the Houston legend himself

Houston news anchor Dave Ward, who reads his 13-hour audiobook with a level of emotion not normally found in such recordings. Photo courtesy of Dave Ward

As America and, indeed, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, focus in Houston turns to legendary local news anchor Dave Ward.

"I was blessed to cover launches from Gemini Titan 3 all the way through the Apollo program, all the way to the shuttle program," he says. Ward recalls seeing the first and last shuttle launches "and a few in between," he says wryly.

No presence could have guided Houstonians through the space program with more authority than Ward, who over his career became known as the "most trusted voice in Houston." Ward waves off the title and instead looks back at the joy of covering the space program.

"It meant a lot more to us in Houston, since the space center was here," he says. "There were hundreds, thousands, of people who did all the work."

Ward's daily welcome, "Good evening, friends," resonates deeply for millions of Houstonians, having provided a comforting, familial presence in our homes for decades.

Earlier this year Ward gathered memories from his nearly 60 years in the industry and put pen to paper. Good Evening, Friends: A Broadcaster Shares His Life chronicles his history, from the son of an East Texas pastor to the Guinness World Record-holder for longest running local TV/news anchor at the same TV station in a major market.

And today we can welcome his voice back into our homes with the release of his new audio book, read by Dave Ward and produced by Gow Media. The book, co-written with Jim McGrath and with a foreword by President George H. W. Bush, touches on the people, places, and events that make Houston so special, including the rise of the U.S. space program. And thanks to being read by Ward himself, the 13-hour journey also offers an added layer of emotion not normally found in an audiobook.

Also detailed is Ward's vital role in establishing Houston Crime Stoppers — in fact, in 2017 the organization opened a three-story, 28,000-square-foot building named after Ward.

Earlier this year, CultureMap's own Ken Hoffman sat down with Ward and discussed several of the book's most memorable sections, including professional highlights and personal missteps. The book is an extraordinary telling of the life of a Houston icon, and the Houstonian broadcaster most compared to the legendary Walter Cronkite.

"I always tried to get the facts straight and get both sides of any issue," Ward says of any similarities between himself and Cronkite. "Let the viewers decide what's important."

In all, Good Evening, Friends is more than just a story of story of a local TV legend. It is, in many ways, a stirring love letter to the Bayou City.

"I grew up in Texas — I'm a native Texan," Ward says with a swell of pride. "And when I got a chance to move to Houston in 1962, I felt like I was coming home, I really did. This is my home."

Ward covering the Gemini 3 Mission in March, 1965, on KNUZ radio. It was only the ninth manned spaceflight in U.S. history. Photo courtesy of Dave Ward

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Good Evening, Friends is available in print, digital, and audio book here.

Dave Ward will also be a featured author at this year's Texas Book Festival (October 26-27), as well as at the Galveston Island Book Festival (October 12) and Kinkaid Book Fair (November 11).

Three panelists representing the real estate, banking, and health care industries weighed in on innovation in Houston. Photo via Greater Houston Partnership/Facebook

Something has shifted in Houston, and businesses across industries — whether it be real estate, health care, or energy — are focused on innovation, emerging technologies, and the role of startups within the business community.

At the Greater Houston Partnership's annual Economic Outlook on December 5, three panelists from various industries gathered to discuss some of the biggest issues in Houston — from the multifamily real estate market to what the local workforce needs. The panel was moderated by Eddie Robinson, the morning news anchor for Houston Public Radio, and the panelists did weigh in a few issues affecting innovation.

Missed the talk? Here are a few overheard moments from the discussion.

"Houston allows you to do what you do. And you don't get that in other places."

Photo via Greater Houston Partnership/Facebook

Bradley R. Freels, chairman of Midway Cos. Freels says, while the city's been overshadowed by other Texas cities for innovation and tech — and even by its large oil and gas industry presence, the city is becoming a great place for startups. "This is a great place to do business because it's easy to get started in business here. I think it's just over shadowed to some degree," he says, adding later that, "the initiative around the innovation corridor is real."

"Houston is unique, in my opinion, in how open and welcoming it is."

Photo via Greater Houston Partnership/Facebook

— David Milich, CEO of UnitedHealthcare - Texas & Oklahoma. Building off the panelists point that Houston is a spirited, can-do city, Milich specifies that it's the collaboration between people in Houston that sets the city apart. "When we present ourselves with something to get done, we generally get it down."

"We're realizing that the economy is shifting. As we move forward in the 21st century, our entire workforce needs to be tech fluent."

Photo via Greater Houston Partnership/Facebook

Nataly Marks, managing director and region manager at JPMorgan Chase. When asked about jobs needed in Houston, Marks specified technology positions. Moreover, JPMorgan Chase is emphasizing getting the entire staff proficient in the latest tech resources.