Know Your Local Media: KUHF's Paul Pendergraft on Engines of Our Ingenuity, Talking Pigs and Steely Dan

Categories: The Media

If you pay attention to local radio, you know Paul Pendergraft, but despite his receiving numerous accolades including an Edward R. Murrow award and appearing virtually every day on the radio in Houston for over 20 years, you might miss him. Pendergraft is an affable, soft-voiced senior producer for KUHF, producing, among other things, the brilliant long-running series Engines of Our Ingenuity.

He's worked the news desk for numerous stations in Houston and has been a reporter, news director and producer at KUHF for more than 15 years. If you haven't heard him, you're missing out on a fantastic journalist and a genuinely interesting guy. Pendergraft was nice enough to answer our questions, which gave him the chance to mention talk radio, the first Rockets' championship and Steely Dan, a band that has curiously appeared on Hair Balls on several occasions recently.

We aren't complaining.

Since the acquisition of KTRU and KUHF becoming an NPR station, how has that freed you and the people there in terms of stories, reporting and the like? Do you have more freedom now?
Yes. KUHF (88.7) now broadcasts well-known and highly regarded NPR and BBC News programs throughout the day. That allows KUHF News to expand its role with additional local newscasts and feature reporting. Serving this community is KUHF's core mission, and local and national news coverage is something our listeners and supporters expect.

You oversee Engines of Our Ingenuity, which is a fascinating series. What is that like?
Working with Dr. John Lienhard is an honor...truly a professional privilege. He's a brilliant engineer and an academic. He has the heart of an artist and a photographic sense of history. For more than 25 years, Dr. Lienhard has volunteered his time to research, write and voice more than 2,800 episodes. In that time, he's explored topics ranging from the earliest human inventions to the latest technologies. He still has a childlike enthusiasm with every new episode. Engines of Our Ingenuity is an iconic KUHF program and it's a joy to be a part of the daily broadcast. And, my inner nerd loves learning cool things every day.

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Sean Pendergast
Sean Pendergast

Nice piece on one of my favorite guys in this business! 

fernando ramirez
fernando ramirez

... and in the classic use of the word, a real gentleman.


I took Lienhards "Technology & Western Culture" honor class in 1995.  The course material is directly related to many "Engines" episodes. It was the best class EVER in my entire time a UH.  The man is awesome.

David Houston
David Houston

'Engines of Our Ingenuity', is a great show.  Always good to listen to something intelligent for a change.  Great show, great channel.

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