CSN Houston Signs Off

I have had the privilege of calling Houston home for entire working life. I’ve had lots of jobs over the last two decades and worked at a lot of great places for a lot of great people and with some tremendous people. The one constant is I’ve worked in sports.

I’ve worked in radio. I’ve worked in print. I’ve worked in television. And in each of those cases, I worked in all those arenas a second time or even a third. I’ve even worked for a couple of the teams that called Houston home.

My latest endeavor brought me to CSN Houston as the Houston Rockets insider for csnhouston.com. I cranked out stories, videos and had an on-air role in the game broadcast. As my time there continued, it evolved into a full-fledged TV reporter and TV analyst role. The opportunities afforded me there have been unforgettable and I am truly grateful for all the people that helped make that happen, most specifically Doug Brown, Greg Schultheis and Murphy Brown.

But enough about me, the experience at CSN Houston was great because of the people there. All the people there were excited to be delivering our product to the Houston fans, yes, whichever fans were lucky enough to have the network.

Allow me the courtesy to make mention of them here.

The anchors and reporters could not have been more helpful and accommodating both to me and to everyone that came through CSN Houston to work with us.

Let me start with the two individuals I worked side-by-side with the most.

I’ve known Bart Enis a long time, as have most of you in Houston. Working Rockets broadcasts with him and covering the Rockets-Blazers series in Portland with him was just simply the best. even the final 0.9 seconds of the series. As I’ve said before, I was there watching that final play unfold – and the shot looked good from the moment the ball left Lillard’s hand. Crushing. It was great getting to know Bart and hope to work with him again in the future.

Leila Rahimi – you name it, she’s done it…and done it well. Anchoring Sports Net Central or High School Sports Central, smooth and easy for Leila. Sideline reporting for Rockets. No problem. Roaming the stands and ducking post-game Gatorade baths from the Astros, consider it done. Whatever the job to be done, she couldn’t have looked more comfortable doing it. It’s been great working with you.

Steve Bunin – fantastic, polished anchor and brought the My Life series to life with long-form interviews with Carl Lewis, John Lucas and others. Made the three-piece suit seem almost comfortable – almost.

Cory Hepola – An exceptionally creative and fun story teller. Good at the desk, good in the field. Flawless sock game.

Bill Doleman – Handled Rockets studio hosting duties splendidly. Always made it seem like a great time with Calvin Murphy & that’s because it was. Great duo talking Rockets hoops.

Kelli Johnson – One of the few out-of-towners I’d met before her arrival in Houston. Versatile anchor, helped make Sports Net Central Football Focus one of the best sports programs this city has ever seen.

Kevin Eschenfelder – Talking sports is supposed to be fun. It always was with Kevin on Sports Talk Live.

Marius Payton – Big smile on this guy. Always in a good mood, made it fun to be on set.

Tiffany Blackmon – Handled the Rice beat and brought you Rockets all-access beautifully. If any of you follow her on Instagram, I’ll bet you know she has a great, fun-loving dog.

Julia Morales – Baseball season can be a grind, but you would never have guessed that, watching her bring sunshine and fun to every Astros game, no matter the location, game situation, weather, or even if she was accidentally too close for a post-game dousing. Even the intentional ones too – those darn players!

Sebastian Salazar – I’m not sure if anyone dove in any harder on their beats than he did on the Dynamo beat. Not only covering the team, but also working as the sideline reporter at the games, in addition to working the Rice beat, too. As evidenced by the big, fat smooch that outgoing Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear put on him during their final interview together, a great guy to work with.

Howard Chen – Howard Chen you are our Memorial Hermann Sports Institute Sports Reporter of the Week! I’ve been in Houston covering sports, including high school, for a long time. I have never seen anyone so quickly get accepted and respected in the high school sports community like Howard did. Howard handled Rockets duties, college football duties and killed on the high school sports coverage.

James Palmer – An outstanding addition to the Texans coverage in the city for the last two years. Despite his undying love for the Buckeyes, he was simply nails when it came to covering the team.

You will see them all again, I have no doubt about that. Simply an incredibly talented group of people.

My specific duties had me working with the digital staff on a daily basis and like myself, the people there were all pulling double duty – if not more than that. In addition to making the csnhouston.com website the most comprehensive and informative Houston-centric website the city has seen, John Kelly helped drive the high school sports coverage, Sara Eckert cranked out the college sports stories and Dave Zangaro was on the Texans beat.

I’ve covered the Texans since the city was holding parties downtown because NFL football was coming back and proudly wearing Houston 32 t-shirts, for the as-yet unnamed team. My time these past two years covering the Texans alongside James and Dave, was by far the most rewarding. These are two guys who truly busted it to break news, give strong insight and I learned more about story-telling and writing from Dave than anyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years.

Those are many of the people that you might know, whether from their great work on-air or online. Or even from twitter.

There are so many others, you probably don’t know that made everyone at CSN Houston so proud of the product that we put together, because literally they were the ones putting it together.

The directors, producers, editors, photographers, managers and everyone on the floor in studio do so much of the heavy lifting, it’s really incredible. I could name them all, but inevitably, I’d forget some one and that would render this whole letter-writing exercise futile. So you know who you are and you know the great, time-consuming, back-breaking work you did. There is no CSN Houston without you.

I just wanted to say thanks to all the people that put everything they had into making CSN Houston great. That’s exactly what it was – great.

Hoping for wonderful things in the future for all involved.

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2 thoughts on “CSN Houston Signs Off

  1. So glad you wrote this, Wex.As a fan, I’ve enjoyed almost every single thing and person you just named. Sad for today. I’ll watch the last live broadcast tonight just as I watched the sign-on not that long ago. Thanks again!

  2. Wex You nailed it. I just want to echo that in my 20 plus years of workig in broadcast, I have never been in such a great working environment in our business! A great team of leaders from Murphy, Doug and Leslie that created an amazing atmosphere to actually inspire their reporters to do great work. Normaly it is do this or hit the door! It showed me that the business can be run correctly if the right people were in place and allowed to do it.
    You know I think the world of you and I thought you did a tremendous job there. I wish everyone the best. Hope to see you soon.
    Jorge Vargas

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