Coffee with the Candidates: #ARElections Day on Today’s THV This Morning

Your Vote 2010

Your Vote 2010

We’ve got what’s shaping up to be an unpredictable — but fun! — Tuesday morning on “Today’s THV This Morning” tomorrow, Election Day.

Hosts Alyson Courtney and Tom Brannon will be live at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock throughout the show. I’ll be there too, and we’ll chat with some of the state’s candidates for Congressional and state offices, as well as give some final info on all the races and what to watch for on Election Night.

So who exactly’s gonna show up early? “Today’s THV This Morning” Producer Matthew Carroll says he’s called just about everybody — particularly in the U.S. House and Senate races, along with those for the state’s Constitutional offices — and most have agreed to pop in for a final informal chat over some hot coffee and pastries. Elections and eclairs! Should be hoot.

Check it out tomorrow starting at 5 a.m. on Today’s THV to see who shows.


And Now, Our Obligatory Frolic-in-the Snow Video

Above, snow falls on Today’s THV’s Weather Garden, and Tom Brannon shoots a weather update.

After the jump, another 40-sec shot of snow falling downtown, including over the Arkansas River.

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Happy Retirement, BJ!

BJ Sam's final gift: A photo of Tom Brannon.

BJ Sam's final gift: A photo of Tom Brannon.

Much more: Photos | Videos | Even more

Plus: Watch this morning’s show – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


The Long Goodbye: BJ Sams Says Farewell on Friday

BJ Sams and Tom Brannon say goodbye ahead of Sams' final morning broadcast on Friday. Click for video.

BJ Sams and Tom Brannon say goodbye ahead of Sams' final morning broadcast on Friday. Click for video.

After more than 50 years in broadcasting (“Fifty-six,” he’ll remind you), BJ Sams is signing off tomorrow. His final broadcast of “Today’s THV This Morning” happens Friday.

This morning, before tomorrow’s busy farewell, he spent some final moments with his long-time “This Morning” co-host and sparring partner Tom Brannon, who commissioned a special “long-distance dedication” for his pal. Click here to see video of the segment, and be sure to check out tomorrow’s show for BJ’s final moments on air in Arkansas.

More Video

It’s been a month of tributes. Click for video of BJ with:

Alyson Courtney | Former co-host Robyn Richardson and her surprise | Chris Olsen | The Peabody Hotel | Leslie Heizman | Former co-host Beth Ward | Derrick Rose | Liz Massey | Dawn Scott | His Top 11 Quotes | Arkansas Children’s Hospital | Mark Pryor | KARK | Capital Hotel | Alyson, BJ & Tom at 6:30 p.m

See more on the Official Retirement Page


BJ Sams to retire

BJ Sams honored at Media Fellowship luncheon

Charles Crowson to co-host

Charles Crowson to Anchor ‘Today’s THV This Morning’

The announcement, this morning. Charles gets the big boy chair.

The announcement, this morning. Charles gets the big boy chair.

Congratulations to Charles Crowson, who’ll take over BJ Sams‘ spot on the couch after Sams retires on July 31. The “Today’s THV This Morning” crew made the announcement Thursday morning.

Crowson, a former Stone Ward public relations account executive, has been with THV since January 2007 and, most recently, has been working as a reporter for the morning show. In fact, he was conducting live reports on the manhunt for Todd Bostian early this morning before rushing back to the studio for today’s announcement.

Charles begins anchor duties on Aug. 3 alongside co-anchors Alyson Courtney and Tom Brannon. And congrats to Melissa Dunbar-Gates, who’s also joining the show as its reporter.

Another Arkansas Twitter Update

Just when we thought this thing had peaked, new Twitter users keep piling in. Admittedly, some in the list below have been around for few days, but we’ve not had a chance to call them out yet.

Consider yourselves called.

This week: A preponderance of THV-ers. I guess our quick seminar worked!

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross:

Innovate Arkansas, a program helping Arkansas entrepreneurs bring ideas and products to market:

Jonathan Dismang, state representative:

Werner Trieschmann, former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writer, editor; playright –

Ross Cranford, CJRW ad man, iPhone early adopter:

Tom Brannon, KTHV –

Becca Buerkle, KTHV morning show producer –

Meredith Mitchell, KTHV –

Neil Sommerlatte, KTHV –

Jessica Duff, KTHV Web reporter –

Rob Hatfield, KTHV director –

THV This Morning

And of course, you can see more in our ever-expanding, unwieldy, unorganized Arkansas Twitter Guide.

Robbie Wills on Next Week’s Legislative Session

Wills on Today's THV

Wills on Today's THV

Incoming Speaker of the House Robbie Wills, D-Conway, is making the media rounds, part of preparations for the launch on Monday of the new Arkansas legislative session. Today, he took e-mailed questions from viewers on “Today’s THV at Noon.”

As expected, popular topics from viewers revolved around the governor’s plan to raise the state tax on cigarettes to fund a statewide trauma system and for other purposes, as well as the state lottery. Wills and Senator Pro Tem Bob Johnson, D-Bigelow, meeting with journalists earlier this week, said the lottery was pretty much the main priority for legislators this session. But the cigarette tax figures to be another important issue.

After appearing on-air, I talked to Wills briefly about another topic, one close to the Gov. Mike Beebe’s heart: The grocery tax. Beebe, having already cut the tax in the last session, wants to knock another penny off it during this session, despite an increasingly tight state revenue picture. Wills noted that eliminating the tax, as Beebe has promised to do, had been a goal of his as well. But Wills has said before that he wants to wait until later in the session to take up the grocery tax issue so the state will know more about its financial standing heading into the spring.

And, yes, Wills is giving blogging and Twittering a whirl with his own Web site, He’s already posted video from his Wednesday appearance on “Today’s THV This Morning,” and says he’s going to try his best to keep the site as updated as possible, even as things get busier and busier with the session.


Robbie Wills’ blog

Robbie Wills on Twitter

More on the lottery (

Beebe Hints at Cigarette Tax (