50 years 'on the air'
Andy Andersen has many talents, including acting, riding and training horses, and forecasting the weather. He is celebrating a milestone.
Andy Andersen, KCEN’s chief meteorologist, surveys the sky after last night’s 6 p.m. newscast. Check out Andy’s mutton-chop sideburns — he will be portraying General Sam Houston during a weekend re-enactment of the Battle of San Jacinto at the historic battleground in southeast Texas. Andy also is a cowboy, an actor in Western movies and the horse-riding mascot of the San Antonio Gunslingers arena football team. David Stone photo
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Andy Andersen’s big passions in life are weather and horses — and both have provided worlds of opportunity.
“My fascination with weather started when I was 5, watching Hurricane Carla roll onto the Texas coast,” Andersen said Thursday night, just minutes after finishing the 6 p.m. newscast. “My family had a bay house in Karankawa, and it was flattened.”
“Weather was a big part of my life as a youngster. Growing up on the farm, I would watch the thunderheads grow each afternoon from my seat on a tractor.”
While Hurricane Carla ignited his fascination for weather, that passion didn’t kick in right away. First he would pay his “on-air” dues in radio.
“I got my first radio job when I was going into my sophomore year at El Campo High School,” Andersen said. “I started at a local station — KULP-AM — and I worked my way through high school and college at Wharton County Junior College.”
That first “on air” job started in 1972. Now, as a meteorologist at KCEN, he has been in broadcasting for 50 years.
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After his junior college days, Andersen went radio full time.
“I was doing drive-time shows in and around Houston,” he recalled. “I bounced around a lot — after three to six months at a station, I’d get an offer for more money. That was common — I climbed the ladder to bigger and better radio jobs.”
Andersen was working a drive-time show in Beaumont when a part-time weather position opened up at a local television station. He decided to toss his hat into the ring.
“I was a DJ, and I wasn’t making enough money to put curtains in my windows,” he said with a chuckle. “I jumped at the opportunity to work an extra job with TV.”
Andersen recalls the day when he walked into the Beaumont TV station to apply for the weatherman job.
“You have to remember, this was the late ‘70s,” he said. “I looked like I should be on tour with Cheech & Chong — long hair, bushy porn-star mustache. But I got the job.”
“I was working part-time as a weatherman, and I realized I knew nothing about weather,” Andersen admitted. “Back then, stations had weathermen, not meteorologists. I decided I wanted to know more about what I was talking about.”
To further his education, Andersen enrolled in an off-campus program through Mississippi State.
“I got a box full of videos in August, and I worked through them,” he said. “I was able to keep working while going to school.”
Andersen graduated with a degree in broadcast meteorology.
He spent the bulk of the 1980s forecasting weather at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi and also did stints in Brownsville and Houston.
“I stayed in Texas because of my mom,” he said. “She was getting older, and I wanted to stay close. She had been diagnosed with cancer and was still in El Campo, so I went to work at KRIV-TV in Houston — not far away.”
Unfortunately, cancer won that battle, and for a change of scenery Andersen took a job in Georgia. He stayed two years.
“I’m very much a Texan,” he explained. “I was in Georgia, but I wore my hat and boots, and I really got into horses. One day after work, I stopped at a store and they had Lone Star beer. I took that as a sign to come back home.”
Andy Andersen arrived at KCEN in 1998. At the time, the station was located just off I-35 in Eddy.
“I was about 42 when I came back to Texas, and I fell in love with this area,” he said. “I knew this was going to be my home — the place where I would make my mark. I was close to family, KCEN was a good station, and Central Texas was a good place for a guy with horses.”
Andersen now lives in Stampede, a small community near Moody.
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Like the weather, Andersen developed a love for horses at a young age.
“I grew up watching Roy Rogers and Saturday morning westerns,” he said. “Horses have always been a part of my life.”
“In my spare time, I’m a cowboy. I break and train horses, and I have two antique horse-drawn carriages. I also ride and compete in a shooting sport.”
That sport is called Cowboy Mounted Shooting, and it combines shooting skills with horsemanship.
“I was looking for something to do with my horses,” he said. “I thought about roping, but as a weatherman my evenings are full. So, I found an event that’s held on weekends.”
“Cowboy Mounted Shooting is a speed event,” he explained. “Competitors all use the same ammo and the same guns — the Colt 45. The object is to shoot 10 bullets — five from each gun — and pop 10 balloons. If you miss a balloon, five seconds is added to your time.”
Andersen’s horsemanship skills haven’t gone unnoticed. His ability to ride has opened many doors. He routinely participates in historical re-enactments, an interest that started about 12 years ago.
“I’ve always loved Texas history, and I’ve done re-enactments of historical events in Gonzales, San Antonio and San Jacinto.”
Speaking of San Jacinto, Andersen will be at the site of the decisive battle in the Texas Revolution this weekend, portraying none other than Gen. Sam Houston. He has even grown Houston’s trademark mutton chops to prepare for the role. Two weeks ago, he portrayed Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
Andersen’s ability to ride and act has caught the attention of Hollywood filmmakers. He has performed in about three Westerns a year for the past five years.
“These aren’t big blockbusters,” he said. “They pretty much go straight to DVD and onto the shelves at Walmart.”
Movie makers aren’t the only ones to admire Andersen’s horsemanship and role-playing abilities. He has donned the appropriate attire as a horse-riding mascot for two San Antonio professional football teams.
He started as the mascot for the Commanders of the now defunct Alliance Football League. Now, he rides for the Gunslingers of the National Arena League.
“With the Alamo and the city’s connection to the military, they picked the Commanders as their identity,” Andersen said of the AFL team. “I would lead the players onto the field while riding a horse and waving a big sword. With the Gunslingers, I lead the team out of the tunnel — again on horseback — and fire six-shooters into the air. I use blanks, of course.”
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As a meteorologist, Andersen has seen his share of bad weather. But, his career has so far been spared from major storms.
“I got to Central Texas the year after the Jarrell tornado,” he said. “I covered a hurricane when I was in Corpus, but last week’s tornado in Salado was one of the bigger storms I’ve had to deal with.”
While Andersen has been in broadcasting for 50 years, his goal remains the same as the day he started.
“The goal is to get it right day after day — I said that when I first arrived at KCEN and it’s still true. We strive to deliver Central Texas’ most accurate forecast.”
Andy Andersen is known for his weather-forecasting skills with KCEN-TV, but he also is the former mascot of the now defunct San Antonio Commanders football team and the current mascot of the San Antonio Gunslingers. Courtesy photo
Academie Musique to hold food-themed dinner theatre featuring 3 choral groups
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Academie Musique’s spring concert is all about food.
Food, Glorious Food: A Choral Dinner Theatre will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5, in the Christ Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 300 N. Main in Temple, and the event will feature dinner, three choirs and lots of food-themed songs.
“Before the pandemic, we consistently had three choirs and we would put on a traditional fall concert and a themed show every spring,” said Shelley Dennis, executive director of Academie Musique. “The spring shows always had a theme — one year it was songs about colors, another year we did Disney songs.”
“We’re bringing it back this year for the first time since COVID,” Dennis said. “We had an abbreviated event last year, mostly with virtual choirs. We did have one group that performed live, but up until that performance they had rehearsed virtually.”
This year, the Choral Dinner Theater will be very live.
“We will have three choirs performing, along with a little choreography and some visual effects,” she said. “Jubilate is our choir for children 8 to 12, and Presto is a mixed teen choir for 13 to 18 year olds. We will also have an adult choir — Adagio. It is an auditioned adult choir, and they sang Christmas songs Downtown during the December First Friday.”
Dennis said the dinner theatre is a fundraiser and an opportunity to showcase Academie’s choirs. Proceeds will go to choral scholarships for next year.
This year’s dinner will be a boxed meal from Jason’s Deli.
“We are still coming out of the pandemic so we are being a little careful,” she said. “At some point we will go back to cooking meals.”
Tickets for Food, Glorious Food are $15 and can be purchased at Academie Musique’s office or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org prior to May 3.
“We will not be selling tickets at the door because we need a meal count,” she said. “You can reserve your spot by email then pay at the door, but we need to know if you are coming.”
For additional information, call Academie Musique at (254) 228-0691.
FRIDAY | APRIL 22, 2022
today’s best bets
Maxx Carter live at Fire Base Brewing 6:30 pm.
Aaron Watson with William Beckmann live at Schoepf’s BBQ. Gates open at 6, show at 7.
Karaoke Night at Corky's. Songs start at 8 p.m.
Foreigner will play their biggest hits at The Bell County Expo Center. Also appearing will be The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Tickets start at $38. Concert starts at 8 p.m.
Royal Street Art Walk in Salado
Temple College Vocal Point, a class that focuses on musical theater, will present The Theory of Relativity on April 22-23 in the Jackson-Graeter Backstage Theatre. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. both nights.The Theory of Relativity is a musical based on a book by Brian Hill with songs and lyrics by Neil Bartram. The show explores how young adults deal with their personal feelings and situations, and how they develop communities based on their shared experiences. Tickets are $5 at the door and students are free.
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
On this day in 1689, Spanish explorer Alonso De León discovered the ruins of a French settlement, Fort St. Louis, on the Texas coast. The fort had been established by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, in the summer of 1685. In February 1685 La Salle, seeking the mouth of the Mississippi River, had landed 280 colonists, including 100 soldiers, at the mouth of Matagorda Bay in Spanish-claimed territory. The explorer made a temporary camp on Matagorda Island while he sought a more secure location farther up the bay. In April he chose a site on an eminence overlooking the "Riviére aux Boeufs." Though disease devastated his men, La Salle saw the building well under way by autumn, when he set out to explore the surrounding country. In January 1687 he departed on his last journey, leaving at the fort scarcely more than 20 men, women, and children in the charge of the Sieur de Barbier. In late 1688 or early 1689 the Karankawa Indians gained entry to the fort under guise of friendship and murdered all the occupants but five children. Meanwhile, news that the French had founded a settlement on the northern Gulf Coast had agitated New Spain in the mid-1680s. As a result, De León led four expeditions between 1686 and 1689 seeking to find and destroy the French installation. The fourth expedition left Coahuila on March 27, 1689, with a force of 114 men, and found the deserted settlement on April 22.