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Whiteaker, Former KXAN News Director and TAB Newsroom Legislative Committee Member, Passes

Bruce Whiteaker, a former news director at KXAN-TV Austin from 1995 to 2005, passed away Saturday in Lubbock at age 72.

During his tenure at KXAN, the station’s newscasts rose in the Austin Nielsen ratings, notching number one status on several occasions in various time periods.

Whiteaker served on TAB’s newsroom legislative committee in the 2001, 2003 and 2005 sessions of the Texas Legislature.

“Bruce was instrumental in TAB’s efforts to protect the public’s right to know through his work on the Texas Public Information Act,” said Michael Schneider, TAB V.P. for legislative and regulatory affairs.

“He was a ‘Big J’ guy who cared deeply about the quality of broadcast news and its ability to inform the audience.”

Whiteaker worked briefly for TAB in 2006 on EAS issues before he returned to his home state of Tennessee for a job with the Knox County Clerk’s Office.

He also served on the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters board from 1998 to 2004.

Whiteaker was previously news director at WMC-TV in Memphis, TN and in Saginaw, MI during a 30+ year career as a broadcast journalist.

He was an Air Force veteran and 1975 graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Whiteaker is preceded in death by his parents and his son, Nathaniel Bruce Whiteaker.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley Shelton Whiteaker; sister, Cynthia Messick; brother, Scott Whiteaker, and two aunts, Mary Helen Saunders and Bettye Sue Saunders.

Whiteaker also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews & cousins.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to his beloved church, St Mark UMC, 7001 S Northshore Dr SW, Knoxville, TN. 37919-8530, or to any charity helping people who have suffered any kind of loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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