Anchored Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Steve Spriester, a 1985 graduate of Fremont-Mills High School, has been an integral member of the KSAT news team for nearly 30 years. KSAT is the No. 1-rated news station in San Antonio, Texas. (Courtesy Photo - Steve Spriester/KSAT)

Steve Spriester interviews Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. (Courtesy Photo - Steve Spriester/KSAT)

Steve Spriester makes it back to Tabor occasionally to visit friends, family and his alma mater - Fremont-Mills High School. (Courtesy Photo - Steve Spriester)
"When you're a journalist, you just hope to make a difference." - Steve Spriester


Fremont-Mills Alum Steve Spriester Enjoying Rewarding Career As Television Journalist

There’s been a constant in Steve Spriester’s 35-year career as a television journalist – sharing stimulating stories that have had a positive impact on his community.

From his reporting on the needs of the homeless population and the lack of care centers for stroke patients in San Antonio to putting a face on each of the shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Spriester has touched lives and influenced change for communities in South Texas. 

For the past 29 years, Spriester has been making a difference, as both a reporter and anchor, at KSAT, the No. 1-rated TV news station in San Antonio. He started at KSAT as a general assignment reporter in 1995 and currently anchors the station’s 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, in addition to doing regular community features.

During his time at KSAT, Spriester has earned the trust, respect and admiration of the San Antonio community. He’s been named the city’s “Best Anchor” on multiple occasions and is well known for his community and charitable involvement.

*  *  *

Early Broadcasting Aspirations

Spriester spent most of his childhood in Tabor, where he attended kindergarten, junior high and high school at Fremont-Mills. His family lived in Michigan for a few years in between kindergarten and junior high.
It was during those years in Tabor that Spriester developed an interest in broadcasting, although initially he wanted to work in radio.

“I had kind of fallen in love with radio - listening to the (Kansas City) Royals, Denny Mathews and Fred White, so that’s what I thought I wanted to do, sports,” he said. “But, I really liked current events and history, too.”

His first taste of broadcasting may have come when he was a freshman on the Fremont-Mills baseball team. Spriester and teammate Jeff Crom would keep the Knights’ dugout loose by doing their own play-by-play of the action on the field.

Like many of his Fremont-Mills classmates, Spriester was active in multiple activities at school. In addition to baseball, he played basketball, football and ran some track. He was also in band, vocal music and theater.  Baseball was Spriester’s best sport in high school but basketball was his favorite.

He enjoyed participating in each of the activities.

“Being involved in all those activities - that’s the beauty of growing up in a small school that I wouldn’t trade,” he said. “Halftime of our football games, I was the quarterback, I’d go meet with the coaches and then come out and play with the band. I’d either drum or lead the band – I was drum major my senior year.”

Spriester was also doing things outside of school – like singing in a rock band with some friends. Their group was called Alias.

“We actually played at the Glenwood State School and we went to Hamburg and played at Popcorn Days in Hamburg,” he pointed out.

It was Spriester’s interest in broadcasting that led him to taking a tour of the KMA radio station in Shenandoah during his senior year at Fremont-Mills.

“I went to KMA studio in Shenandoah and met with Chuck Morris,” he said. “He took me in and showed me around the radio station and he had me do some things. It was a great time, but he told me I might want to think about doing television.

He said there’s more money in TV than there is in radio.”

Spriester graduated from Fremont-Mills in May 1985 and began broadcast journalism classes at UNL in August.
* * *

Gaining Broadcasting Experience

As soon as he arrived in Lincoln, Spriester jumped at any and every chance to get some broadcasting experience. It began with a work study at KRNU, the campus radio station, during his freshman year.

“I actually got on the air my freshman year,” Spriester noted. “Whenever they didn’t have somebody scheduled, they’d let me do it. It was fun.”

The summer after his freshman year, Spriester returned to Tabor and got a job at a radio station in Clarinda. He commuted daily to the job. When he returned to school in the fall, he found more work at a Lincoln radio station.
In later years, as an upperclassman, Spriester did internships at two TV stations - KETV in Omaha and an NBC affiliate in Sioux City.

“I once had an advisor tell me in broadcast journalism, you can graduate with a 4.0 G.P.A., but if you don’t have any experience in broadcasting, it’s hard to get a job,” he said. “I kind of took that to heart. When I worked at Lincoln on the radio, I would do whatever they asked me to do because I wanted to get that experience.”

During his senior year at UNL, Spriester landed a part time job at KETV, helping fill a reporter’s job that had opened up. He got air time but the station wouldn’t offer him a full-time position because he was still 11 hours short of his degree.

“I understood and went back to school,” he said. “Then, Channel 3 (KMTV) actually reached out to me to see if I would be interested in a job there. So, I started at Channel 3 in Omaha. I would go to school in Lincoln in the morning and then drive to Omaha and work at Channel 3 at night.”

Spriester completed the final 11 hours of course work at UNL and graduated with a job already in place at KMTV.

“Really, Omaha, right after I graduated, was a dream job,” he said. “Growing up in Tabor and Mills County, Omaha TV was what you saw. Those were the people I grew up watching, so to actually work with of those people was an amazing experience.”
*   *   *

Off To Texas

Spriester spent over six years at KMTV and probably would have remained in Omaha for a longer period had he not met the love of his life – Nicole Foy, an Omaha World-Herald newspaper reporter at the time. They crossed paths frequently while covering stories for their respective news agencies.

“The first time we actually talked to each other was in the basement of the Omaha Police Department, waiting for a fugitive to be brought back,” Spriester said. “I met her there and as I would tell people, then I would see her at romantic places like train derailments and dragging the Missouri River for a body. I asked her out and one thing led to another.”

The two hit if off, but Foy, a Texas native, wasn’t fond of the harsh winter weather in Nebraska and Iowa. So, in May 1995, she took a job as a crime reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and moved back to Texas. Two months later, they were reunited when Spriester was hired at KSAT.

“I came here and my news director said, ‘I can see you in one of my anchor chairs, but I don’t have one open right now,’” Spriester recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t care. My girlfriend is here. I want to be here so I’m happy to come here’”

Foy grew up in Farmersville, Texas, a small town northwest of Dallas. The community is slightly larger than Tabor, Spriester said.

“We came to San Antonio and fell in love with it, but I did not think this was going to be my last stop,” Spriester said. “We were married here and we have three daughters. I’m the only non-Texan in my family.”

Spriester started out at KSAT as a reporter and eventually took on some anchoring duties on morning and weekend newscasts. He’s been anchoring the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts for 25 years.

He’s had the opportunity for other jobs over the years, but the timing was never right and San Antonio had become his new home.

“San Antonio is such a great community,” he said. “It’s a big small town and the community really comes together.”
*   *   *

The Good and the Bad

Spriester has reported on the good in his community, like multiple NBA championships for the hometown San Antonio Spurs, and the bad, like the mass shootings at Robb Elementary in Uvalde and the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Spriester and the KSAT news team won a Lone Star Emmy award for an hour-long special - “One Year In: Uvalde”  - that aired one year after the Robb Elementary School tragedy that took place on May 24, 2022.

Two teachers and 19 children died at Uvalde. The Emmy Award was bittersweet for Spriester, who narrated the one-hour special and was on the air the day of the tragedy. The news special honored victims of the shooting and told the town’s story from several different angles.

“It’s hard to wrap yourself around that kind of event,” Spriester said.  “I remember being on the air. The closest I’ve ever come to breaking down on the air was Uvalde. We first thought that there were two people that were injured and then the death toll kept rising. At a certain point, I just had to stop talking and collect myself because it’s just overwhelming when you think of something like that being just down the road from where you live.”

The First Baptist Church shooting on Nov. 5, 2017, was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history with 26 fatalities and 22 wounded during a Sunday morning worship service.

Spriester said he found himself thinking about his own hometown back in Iowa when he traveled to Uvalde and Sutherland Springs to do stories after the shootings.

“When you get there, literally, you can hear a pin drop because I think people are still in shock and in disbelief about what had just happened,” he said. “I found myself, especially in Sutherland Springs, and somewhat in Uvalde, just thinking about the fact that this could have been my hometown. This could have been Tabor, this could have been Glenwood.”

Spriester has won three Lone Star Emmy Awards. In addition to the Uvalde special, he also received the award for a report on police accountability called “Broken Blue” and for coverage of “The Day Of The Dead River” parade in San Antonio.

The Lone Star Emmy for the special on Uvalde is the most meaningful for Spriester.

“That one was probably the most special because really just telling the story of that town from so many different angles was a huge responsibility and the fact that we did it well was humbling,” he said.
*   *   *

Making An Impact
Spriester said the work he’s most proud of are the stories that have had a positive impact on the San Antonio community, most notably a series on homelessness that led to the creation of Haven For Hope, a special program that assists homeless people in getting a job and a place to live.

San Antonio had no 24-7 homeless shelters at the time the stories aired.

“So, if somebody wanted to get a job, go take a shower before a job interview, there was no place that was available for them during the day,” Spriester said  “What came out of that series was more than just a shelter, it’s a transitional housing situation where you work yourself through a program and at the end, they get you a place to live and they get you a job.

“The graduation rate for Haven For Hope – tens of thousands of people have come through that program since it was started. Just to think that I had a small part in starting Haven For Hope, or getting the ball rolling for Haven For Hope, is probably the most impactful thing I’ve ever done.”

After the series aired, Spriester, a relatively young reporter at the time, received a note from the mayor of San Antonio, who recognized the positive impact the stories would have for the city’s homeless population.

“He said, ‘I know you’re a young man, but I would hazard to say that you will not do a story that will have the impact that you’ve had with this one.,’ Spriester recalled.  “That really hit me.”

A series of reports on the need for stroke care centers in San Antonio included an impactful interview with a San Antonio law enforcement officer that lost his mobility and most of his ability to communicate because the hospital he was taken to while having a stroke (just blocks from his office) didn’t have a stroke center.

“They got him to the hospital but that hospital had no stroke care so he had to wait in the hospital for hours and get air-lifted to Austin so he could get stroke care,” Spriester said.

Spriester’s stories eventually led to the San Antonio medical community setting up stroke centers across the city.

*   *   *

Know My Neighborhood

Being a journalist has given Spriester the opportunity to meet and interview dozens of recognizable people, ranging from President Joe Biden and Sen. Ted Cruz to celebrities like professional basketball legend George Gervin, former Kansas City Chiefs football star Priest Holmes and actress Eva Longoria, but the interviews Spriester enjoys the most are with the people in his community. 

“We do this thing called Know My Neighborhood, which I think probably comes from my small-town background,” he said. “We go to certain neighborhoods and we don’t talk to politicians or elected officials. We just talk to neighborhood associations and neighbors about what the big issues are in their neighborhood – the good, the bad, the frustrating. It’s an hour show and it’s been very successful.”

Spriester noted that the most recent Know My Neighborhood special was broadcast from an old roller skating rink that reminded him of youthful days in Mills County.

“It makes me think back to when I used to go roller skating in Glenwood,” he said. “I’m going back to my Mills County roots there.”

Spriester still has extended family and friends living in Mills County and he does make it back to Tabor occasionally - usually for an extended weekend when he can catch a Nebraska football game in Lincoln. Through social media, he still keeps in touch with friends and former coaches from his days at Fremont-Mills. He also keeps a close tab on the Knights’ athletic teams.

Spriester, 56, conceded being a journalist during a time of change and uncertainty in the news media business can be challenging and concerning, but he no plans to slow down anytime soon. He intends to keep telling the stories that impact his community.

“When you’re a journalist, you just hope to make a difference,” he said.


ROOTED IN MILLS COUNTY - Fremont-Mills Graduate Steve Spriester Enjoying Rewarding Career As Television Journalist

The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
P.O. Box 377, Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-527-3191
Phone: 712-623-2566
Fax: 712-527-3193

Comment Here