Bill Zeeble | KERA News

Bill Zeeble


Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues. He’s won numerous awards over the years, with top honors from the Dallas Press Club, Texas Medical Association, the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations, the American Diabetes Association and a national health reporting grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Zeeble was born in Philadelphia, Pa. and grew up in the nearby suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ, where he became an accomplished timpanist and drummer. Heading to college near Chicago on a scholarship, he fell in love with public radio, working at the college classical/NPR station, and he has pursued public radio ever since.

His first real radio gig was with a classical station in Corpus Christi, where the new Texan was dubbed “Billy Ted”; he was also a manager at WWNO-FM in New Orleans. Several stories he covered on television for KERA 13 helped homeowners avoid losing their homes. Zeeble remains dedicated to radio, however, and spends time working with NPR to teach students how to do radio journalism. His radio pieces have aired on nearly every national news show carried on KERA, from NPR and American Public Media to the BBC. He and his wife have 2 dogs and 2 cats, adopted and rescued. His home desk is messy with vintage fountain pens and parts to aid his passion to make them work again.

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Tempers flared red hot at last night’s Dallas school board meeting, where the board president even ordered a speaker removed. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports that despite pleas from parents and students to keep their schools opened, trustees voted to shut eleven campuses down.

The Dallas School Board tonight votes on closing eleven schools to save millions of dollars in the coming budget year. The move follows severe state education cuts, as KERA’s Bill Zeeble explains.

61 year-old Walter Dansby officially becomes Fort Worth Independent School District’s newest Superintendent next month. He started his career with the district 38 years ago to teach and to coach basketball. KERA’s Bill Zeeble sat down with Dansby to talk about plans for the state’s 5th largest school district that comes with serious challenges.

The Dallas School District held its first public meetings last night about eleven under-populated schools set to close. The district hopes to save millions of dollars with the move, as it faces a huge budget shortfall from state funding cuts. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports the plan to save money could also mean the loss of quality education.

Fort Worth’s school board has named interim superintendent Walter Dansby its lone finalist to be the district’s next superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports Dansby becomes Fort Worth’s first African American leader in the district’s 129 year history. He started working at Fort Worth ISD in 1974.

Max Klingensmith (cc) flickr

Fort Worth’s School Board “officially” names its superintendent finalist at this evening’s 5:30 board meeting. KERA’s Bill Zeeble has more.

After last Thursday’s 2nd round of candidate interviews, trustees said they found their finalist. Acting Superintendent Walter Dansby has filled the role since taking over for Melody Johnson, who resigned last year. A Long-time Fort Worth ISD employee, Dansby applied for and could be named to the job. Board Vice President Juan Rangel says the next leader takes on a large budget shortfall because of state funding cuts.

The Fort Worth school board has picked a lone finalist for its next superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports trustees will make the official announcement Tuesday.

Thursday, Dallas School Board members will consider closing eleven schools to save millions of dollars. It follows severe state funding cuts that officials fear will leave next year’s budget nearly $40 million short. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports some parents are fighting back.

A committed group of Dallas citizens said they want DISD’s next superintendent to be an education reformer who understands budgets. KERA’s Bill Zeeble attended one of two sessions last night seeking public input for the superintendent search, and has more.

They only numbered 30 or so, but the passionate variety of residents in W.T. White’s auditorium told a representative of the Dallas school district’s search firm just what they want in the district’s next leader. Several, like Dallas Chamber of Commerce Vice President Dena Jackson, stressed the need to hire the best.

Dean Terry (cc) flickr

The Dallas School District holds a series of public meetings this week to find out what citizens want in their next Superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports some trustees already have an idea what they’ll say.

56 year old Rickey Wyatt is celebrating his first morning of freedom after 31 years behind bars. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports Wyatt was released from Dallas County Jail Wednesday after officials agreed his conviction was so flawed, he likely did not commit the crime.

In Judge John Creuzot’s court room packed with Wyatt’s lawyers, friends and relatives, the judge got the point.

Mississippi Sheriffs have captured the alleged “Handsome Guy” bank robber, wanted for several Texas holdups, and for shooting at a Richardson Police officer. KERA’s Bill Zeeble has more on the high speed chase of Steven Ray Milam.

The fight over the Frisco lead smelter got hotter last night. Frisco’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously rejected a plan that would have favored Exide, the city’s long-standing smelter and recycler. Exide opponents call it a victory. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports plant workers now fear the business might close or move, taking their jobs.

Bill Zeeble

When Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings campaigned for office, he said public education would be a top priority. What's happened since then? KERA's Bill Zeeble takes a look.

Etienne Franchi / AFP/Getty Images

Dallas-based telecom giant AT&T has pulled the plug on its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, the company said Monday.  

American Eagle, the regional airline affiliate of American Airlines, may furlough more than 220 Texas-based pilots and flight attendants in February to cut costs under bankruptcy protection.

American Eagle vice-president Cathy McCann told the Texas Workforce Commission that 119 pilots and 104 flight attendants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area could lose their jobs around Feb. 13th.

Fort Worth-based American has about 74,000 employees, and Eagle has about 14,000, including part-timers. Parent company AMR Corp. filed for Chapter 11 protection Nov. 29th.

SMU Experts Look At AMR

Dec 14, 2011
DFW Airport

The North Texas economy will take a hit from AMR's bankruptcy, even if it's not evident yet. That's according to Southern Methodist University business experts. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on the school's annual economic review.

When American Airlines filed for bankruptcy November 29th, it told customers to expect business as usual. But economist Michael Davis, with SMU's Cox School of Business, says that cannot last long. The carrier will have to cut costs, even if most local workers keep their jobs.

The Texas Association of Business wants the state to withhold some money for community colleges until graduate rates rise. The group has even put up billboards to encourage support. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports the Dallas County Community College District says the business group doesn't know the whole story.

A new billboard on Central Expressway reads "8 PERCENT OF DALLAS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS GRADUATE IN 3 YEARS. IS THAT FAIR TO THE STUDENTS? It's signed by the Texas Association of Business.

Some DISD parents and activists are demanding changes to what they call unfair school discipline policies that create a pipeline to prison. KERA's Bill Zeeble was at a demonstration outside Dallas County's Juvenile Justice Center.

Members of a group called the Texas Organizing Project cite a recent Texas study from the Council of State Governments that found more than half of Texas students were expelled or suspended over a 6 year period, and most of them were Black or Hispanic.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department faces a $4.6 million shortfall following a difficult period of wildfires and drought. Bill Zeeble has more on the Department's plan to improve the bottom line.

Parks and Wildlife Director Carter Smith says the Department has faced tough times before in its 88-year history.

Smith: But certainly now, this is a particularly daunting one. We have a very real and urgent and critical need, But fortunately we don't think it's an insurmountable one.

"Friendly fire" may have injured the officer and bystander wounded on the Chicago-bound AMTRAK train Monday. But Dallas Police Chief Brown says police actions likely saved lives, as KERA's Bill Zeeble reports.

D/FW Airport

Dallas, TX – Even though American Airlines' parent, AMR, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, passengers may see no changes in the carrier's operations. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on who may pay a price.

Dallas, TX – Dallas Police have arrested two boys so far in the alleged murder of a 19 year old DART rider. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports the suspects are between ages of 12 and 14.

Dallas, TX – Today marks the 48th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination in downtown Dallas. As always on this date, Dealey Plaza draws more tourists than usual. KERA's Bill Zeeble talked to some of them, and also has more on plans for the 50th anniversary.

Dallas, TX – Texas school districts say they're struggling after lawmakers cut more than $4 billion from the education budget earlier this year. Some, like Cedar Hill, tried making up the loss with a tax. Hundreds of other districts are now preparing to sue the state like they did a decade ago, to restore funding. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports.

Dallas, TX – Occupy Dallas members evicted from their base behind city hall say they're not going away. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on the large police effort to dismantle the camp, and the discord among some city officials questioning the move.

Credit: Justin Terveen @

Dallas, TX – Occupy Dallas members and the police are giving their versions of Thursday morning's move to dismantle the camp and evict campers. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports.

Dallas Police say they gave Occupy campers and their attorney advanced notice of the impending eviction last night. But Occupy member Alonzo Bay says he heard nothing.