Nathan Bernier

Host, All Things Considered

Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008. 

Nathan has won numerous journalism awards including a National Edward R. Murrow Award, Texas Associated Press Awards, Lonestar Awards from the Houston Press Club, and various other awards and recognitions.  Nathan's hobbies outside work include producing music and enjoying Austin's many food and drink establishments.

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Austin
12:23 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Housing Prices are Rising Faster than Wages in Austin, But Maybe Not for Long

flickr.com/gjmj

Austin home values are going up much faster than wages, according to a new report. But experts say it likely won’t continue that way for long.

If you own a home in the Austin-Rock Rock area, it's probably worth a lot more now than it was two years ago: Median home prices here have gone up by almost 23 percent over the last two years, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm based in California. 

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KUT Weekend
12:11 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

KUT Weekend brings you our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays!

MUSIC
6:09 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Live Music in Austin for the Weekend of March 20-21

Gang of Four is among the bands playing in Austin this weekend.
Matt Karp https://flic.kr/p/2jgnD

It’s the busiest weekend of the year for live music in Austin, and trying to look at the listings is like drinking from a fire hose. We spoke with KUTX program director Matt Reilly about a free concert for locals, a mini-fest at a boutique hotel on South Congress and a family friendly music experience in North Austin.

SXSW 2015
3:02 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

South by Couch West: Watch SXSW From Home

Master control for the Fader Fort live stream
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Maybe you didn't RSVP to the events, or maybe you didn't buy an $895 music badge or a $189 wristband, or maybe you hate lines, but you still want a taste of Austin's largest annual assembly of live music? There are options.

Fader Fort is livestreaming four days of live music performances in ultrahigh definition. Dell is organizing the technology and says it's the first time a concert has been livestreamed online in 4K.

"You're going from HD to basically four HD-sized screens, so you're quadrupling the detail," Dell's Scott Hamilton says of 4K technology. "This just takes it to the next level."

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Austin
4:40 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

Council Member Wants Limits on Barbecue Smoke Near Homes

An employee at La Barbecue slices brisket. A proposal by an Austin city council member could lead to limits on smoke emissions by some barbecue restaurants and trailers.
Joshua Bousel https://flic.kr/p/e4mVLA

Austin has experienced a barbecue renaissance over the last five years with national accolades pouring on the likes of Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co. Now some people living near the smoke pits are complaining about the smell.

District Three City Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria wants the city manager to come up with rules to clamp down on barbecue trailers and restaurants located near residential areas. 

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Music
6:59 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Remembering Kent Finlay, 'A Stealth Legend of Texas Music'

Kent Finlay in 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotosbyjimbo/6859126234

He was a songwriter who nurtured Texas music for decades from his honky tonk in San Marcos. Kent Finlay lost a battle to cancer Monday at the age of 77. He passed away at home. 

In 1974, Finlay opened the Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos and hosted performances by artists such as Willie Nelson, Towns van Zandt, Guy Clark, George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

"Kent is one of the stealth legends of Texas music," Texas music writer Joe Nick Patoski says. "As an arts patron, I don't think I've ever met anyone better." 

Listen to our conversation with Patoski about Finlay's life and legacy.

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Politics
8:01 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz Smoked Marijuana as a Teenager

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at Governor Greg Abbott's election night party on November 4, 2014. Cruz says through a spokesperson that he smoked pot as a teenager but considers it a mistake.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

As he ramps up a possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has revealed through a spokesperson that he "foolishly experimented with marijuana" once as a teenager, but feels it was a mistake and has never tried it since. 

An unnamed Cruz spokesperson made the revelation to the UK paper The Daily Mail. The Cruz campaign confirmed to KUT News that the report is accurate. 

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Transportation
4:00 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Elon Musk Announces Texas Hyperloop Plans

Model of the Hyperloop system as described by Elon Musk.
wikimedia commons

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced today that he plans to build a test version of his Hyperloop transit system, and that test loop will likely be built in Texas.

Musk announced plans for a Hyperloop in California in 2013. The high-speed transit system would move at rates up to 800 miles per hour, potentially cutting the five-plus hour drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles down to about an hour.

The test track potentially in the works for Texas would be a five-mile loop, Musk said. One trip around that loop would take about 22.5 seconds.

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Life & Arts
7:16 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Public Art Program Seeking Artists For Hire

"Your Essential Magnificence" is a sculpture created by James Edward Talbot at 2204 S. Congress Ave. It was a project of the city's Art in Public Places program, which is hoping to recruit artists to its pool of pre-qualified talent.
Photo by Philip Rogers philiprogersphotography.com

If you are a visual artist or know of any who want to get paid for their work, the City of Austin is looking for people to add to a pool of artists they call upon to create works of public art. We were curious about this, so we called the city's Art in Public Places program administrator Meghan Wells to ask some questions about it.

KUT: What kind of artists are you looking for exactly?

Meghan Wells: We're looking for qualifications from artists who are interested in being commissioned for public art projects through the program in a streamlined way. In essence, we're looking for a way to create a pool of artists we can pull from to expedite the selection project for various public art projects that are coming along.

KUT: How much money could an artist expect to earn? 

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Politics
2:27 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Checking the Facts: Is Greg Abbott's Wife Really Texas' First Hispanic First Lady?

Gov. Greg Abbott on NBC's Meet the Press in December.

The next Texas governor said his wife is making history as the “first Hispanic first lady of Texas.” The Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas fact-checking team was on the case, digging up ancestry research to assess the validity of Abbott’s claim.

Abbott made the declaration in early December on an episode of Meet the Press.

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Real Estate
7:37 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Sales Are Up For Homes Above $1 Million

This four-bedroom home on Hughes Park Road is currently selling for just under $2.5 million.
http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/12700-Hughes-Park-Rd_Austin_TX_78732_M80803-44996

Homes worth more than $1 million sold at a faster pace last year in the Austin-area than they did 2013. In a new report, the Texas Association of Realtors says "luxury home sales" were up by 9 percent between January and October. That amounted to 479 homes sold. 

Those homes make up a small fraction of the overall housing market, just two percent of the 23,700 places sold over the time period. Homes over $1 million are also taking longer to sell -- five months, on average -- compared to an average of 40 days for the Austin market as a whole.

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MUSIC
6:53 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Cactus Cafe Celebrates 35 Years

Dale Watson performing with his band at the Cactus Cafe in 2011
KUT

A legendary Austin music venue, the Cactus Café, celebrated its 35th anniversary this year. For the past few years, the Cactus has been operated by KUT. But the famous listening room at the University of Texas at Austin got its start in February 1979.

In the beginning, the venue mostly hosted student bands playing a lot of cover songs. But over the years, the Cactus Café became known as a place where you could hear some of the biggest names in Texas music such as Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

"It became sort of the premier place for the singer-songwriter," Gilmore says. 

But everyone I spoke to for this story says the Cactus was only able to gain its status because of the die-hard Texas music fan who started booking bands there in the 1980s: Griff Luneburg.

Listen to the full story here: 

Austin
7:46 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Gay Rights Group Gives Austin Policies Top Score

A banner at the city-owned Long Center welcomes people celebrating gay pride in 2010.
Austin Chronicle https://flic.kr/p/88nevS

Austin received the highest possible score in a new report card measuring city policies toward lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) scored 353 cities nationwide, including 22 in Texas, and gave Austin a score of 100 out of 100.

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Politics
6:35 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Are Wendy Davis' Book Sales That Bad?

State Sen. Wendy Davis released her book Sept. 9.
Texas Tribune

Democrat for Texas Governor Wendy Davis sold at least 4,450 hard copies of her memoir Forgetting to Be Afraid since it was published on September 9th, Nielsen BookScan reports. Conservatives have bashed the number as dismal, but some independent book industry veterans say the sales figure is actually respectable.

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Ebola
5:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Nurse Who Treated Ebola Patients Agrees to Self-Quarantine in Texas

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Oct. 29, 2014.
Image courtesy Dave Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this morning.

The nurse has no symptoms of the disease, but has agreed to a request from Gov. Rick Perry to self-quarantine at home for 21 days. In a statement, Gov. Perry called her a "health care hero" and said the state will check in on her twice a day, but she was not forced to quarantine.

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Business
7:03 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Legal Marijuana Businesses Tap Texas Investors

https://flic.kr/p/aQtkzi

Investors who want to buy into the legal marijuana industry are gathering this weekend in Houston. Organizers say it's the first marijuana investor conference in Texas. 

Even though marijuana is illegal in Texas, it's not necessarily against the law to invest in aspects of the business in one of the 23 states that have permitted it for medical or recreational use.

"If you are touching the plant, and you're in Texas, you may have a problem," organizer Doug Leighton says. "If you're doing the ancillary businesses and products, then I think you have a clear pathway to invest."

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Texas
7:16 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Allegations of Sexual Abuse at Immigrant Detention Center

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants are detained at the Karnes County Residential Center in South Texas
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Immigration advocates say whistleblowers are reporting sexual assault by guards at a privately run immigrant detention center in South Texas. The Karnes County Residential Center is run by GEO Group.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and attorneys at the University of Texas School of Law have filed a complaint with the federal government. It comes on the heels of a separate complaint last week alleging detainees have inadequate access to food, telephones and appropriate conditions to care for their children. 

In the latest complaint, MALDEF and the attorneys allege GEO guards are having sex with detainees, groping them in front of children, and calling the women detainees their "girlfriends." 

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Austin
7:36 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Muslim Group's Adopt-A-Highway Sign Vandalized

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Adopt-A-Highway sign was vandalized over the weekend. It's in Round Rock on A.W. Grimes Boulevard between Old Settlers and University Boulevards.
Yasir Mirza

An Austin-area Muslim community that helps maintain a stretch of road in Round Rock had its official Adopt-A-Highway sign vandalized. The sign is on A.W. Grimes Boulevard between Old Settlers and University Boulevards. 

Someone over the weekend sprayed black paint over the part of the sign that said "Ahmadiyya Muslim," the name of the community that cleans litter from the stretch of highway every three months or so.

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Texas
7:30 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

You Can Buy One of the Rifles Used in UT-Austin's Mass Shooting Online

The seller of this rifle says it was used in the UT tower shootings in 1966.
TexasGunTrader.com

Someone is selling a rifle they say was used in a mass shooting at the University of Texas campus almost 50 years ago. Charles Whitman killed 16 people on August 1, 1966 and wasn't stopped until Austin police officer Houston McCoy shot him at the top of the UT tower.

A listing on the Texas Gun Trader website shows a starting bid of $25,000 for the Remington 700 ADL with Lupold scope. Donald Weiss says he's selling it for a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.

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Crime & Justice
8:06 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Houston Man Executed For Double-Murder in 1993

Death row prisoners in Texas are strapped to this gurney in Huntsville before they are executed.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

A Houston man was executed tonight for murdering two people in 1993. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the execution drug pentobarbital was administered to Willie Trottie at 6:13 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m. 

In 1993, Trottie burst into the family home of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Canada and shot her to death. He also killed her brother execution-style and wounded Canada's mother and sister, according to the TDCJ's offender information.  

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