Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mookie & Michelle's Food Challenge Ends Thursday

KQBWMookie & Michelle of 96.1 The Brew (KQBW) will spend much of Thursday tallying the food collected for the Omaha Food Bank as part of their "Food Challenge."

The office that brings in the most cans (by weight) will have Mookie & Michelle escort them to the opening night performance of “Spamalot” at the Orpheum Theater. Food will be weighed and calculated per person to level the playing field between small and large companies.

Companies will be turning in their cans from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Omaha Food Bank.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Justice Part of Chiefs' 'Nights of the Roundtable'

KMTV-3 Sports Director Travis Justice is part of this week's Kansas City Chiefs Miller Lite "Nights of the Roundtable."

The segment (which is plagued by audio problems) can be viewed on Chiefs TV on the team's homepage.

The program is hosted by Mitch Holtus, radio voice of the Chiefs. He is joined by Justice, former NFL veterans Danan Hughes and Richard Baldinger and Greg Sharpe, WIBW radio host in Topeka, Kan. The five are seen dining at Boudreaux's at Mission Farms.

Monday, October 29, 2007

'Big Red Zone Gameday' Wins Regional Emmy

KETV's "Big Red Zone Gameday" was awarded a Regional Emmy® Saturday night at the 21st Annual Heartland Regional Emmy® Awards and Silver Circle Presentations in Denver.

The honor came in the "Sportscast" category against two other nominees: "Susie Wargin ­ More than just a hairdo" (KUSA, Denver) and "Jesse Kurtz" (KKTV, Colorado Springs).

KETV had a total of seven entries in the competition, which was dominated by Denver market stations.

In the "Topical Documentary" category, NET Television won for "On the Frontline: Nebraskans at War in Iraq" (Mike Tobias, Producer/Reporter/Writer and Ray Meints, Videographer/Editor) and for "Crane Song" (Perry Stoner, Producer and Ralph Hammack, Videographer/Editor) while UNO Television won for its entry in the same category, "Madagascar ­Conservation vs Survival" (Gary Repair, Producer, B.J. Hutchemann, Script, Brian Shaffer, Editor/Graphics/Effects, Steve O'Gorman, Location Audio and Mark G. Dail, Chief Videographer).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gottschalk Steps Down as World-Herald Publisher

Omaha World-Herald publisher John Gottschalk, 64, is stepping down as of Jan. 1, according to a report in the paper. The World-Herald made the announcement Friday morning.

Replacing Gottschalk will be Terry Kroeger, the company’s president who has been groomed for the position for the past several years.

Kroeger, 45, joined the World-Herald company in 1985. He became the publisher of the World-Herald-owned Stockton (Calif.) Register in 1994.

The move will end Gottschalk’s 18 years as publisher of the World-Herald and chief executive of the newspaper’s parent company. According to the World-Herald, Gottschalk will remain chairman of the Omaha World-Herald Company.

Who Should Anchor KETV Weekend Evening Newscasts?

Who would you rather see anchor KETV-7's weekend evening newscasts - Farrah Fazal or Suzanne Deyo?

That is the subject of a poll on the (creepy) NebraskaInfoWomen Yahoo! groups.

Fazal (whose name is misspelled "Fazzal" on the poll), is the station's current weekend evening news anchor. Deyo asked to be moved off the shift following the birth of her daughter a year ago this month.

The NebraskaInfoWomen group features more than a hundred different photo profiles of current and former Omaha and Lincoln TV anchor, reporter and weather personalities. Its description reads:

"Debate and admiration of Nebraska newsbabes before, during and after their stay in the Cornhusker State. News, Weather and Sports. It should go without saying, but treat the ladies with respect--after all, they're wives, daughters, sisters and mothers!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

He's No 'Tokyo Rose'

Jim Rose, the play-by-play voice for the Nebraska Cornhusker football radio network, is often portrayed as a cheerleader for the NU program. His critics say he’s TOO pro-Huskers, too much of a homer, on the air when describing the action.

But Rose says he’s “never tried to pump sunshine into anything other than to try to look for positives.”

We caught up with Rose this week to see how hard it has been to keep a positive spin on the Husker program this season as the Big Red meltdown continues.

“I think my goal has been to not make it any worse,” Rose told the City Weekly. “We know what has happened, but my goal is not to denigrate the team, denigrate the players, denigrate the coaches in a way that was personal or sarcastic. Nobody wants to hear that out of me or anybody else.

“What I’ve tried to do is offer some positives. I think what people have noticed from me this year, or at least I hope so, is that if there isn’t a positive, I don’t say there is a positive. I say these guys are X, Y, Z, but I don’t say, ‘Oh, but you know what, we came CLOSE to making a tackle there.’ You haven’t heard that out of me.

“That insults the audience, that insults the credibility of the audience and I haven’t done it. You haven’t heard any false enthusiasm out of me this year. I think I have been enthusiastic when the team has done great things, I think I’ve been moderate when they haven’t. And that’s been my goal all along. That hasn’t changed; that’s always been my goal on the air from the very first game I did as a high school kid way back in the early 1980s.

“I never tried to create something that wasn’t there, positive or negative.

“Other people might say, ‘Well, Jim Rose was out there pumping the program and out there telling everyone how great it was. Well, what I was doing was being supportive of the program, and I think there’s a big difference.

“I’m not some sort of propaganda mister, some Tokyo Rose. I was a guy who was out there supporting it and trying to be positive because that’s what my job required.

“Can you imagine what kind of devastating effect it would have had on the network if I the play-by-play guy had been out there at booster groups or on the air saying, ‘You know, I’m not really sure about these guys; I just don’t know.’

“If I would have said that it would have had a devastating affect on our network’s ability to generate advertising, not to mention how inappropriate it would be. We’re a corporate partner with the University of Nebraska. We’re a partner with them. We support the program; we support the people in the program. If those people change we support the new people.

“Now, if it’s hard for people to understand that, then they just don’t have an imagination or they’ve never been in business.

“That doesn’t mean we lack credibility, or that I’m making up stuff, that doesn’t mean that I’m anything other than what I’m suppose to be. And I’ve never seen once a marketing strategy that involved negative publicity. I’ve never once believed that you can market something successfully by first extolling the negatives.

“People can draw their own conclusions, and I think most people understand the role I play. There are talk shows every day, there are fan forums every day, there are opinion pages in the newspaper every day where people can offer their opinion. It’s great. It’s a wonderful part of our industry. So it’s not like people don’t have a place to vent their opinions. We have it on our own network for three hours every night. We have a talk show where people can call in and say anything they want, as long as they don’t use any profanity or slander someone.

“They can criticize the program, they can celebrate the program, they can criticize people in the program, they can say what they want.

“So they don’t need it from me on Saturday. They can get it a lot of other places.”

We’ll have more of the Jim Rose interview in next week’s issue of the City Weekly.

Huskers Down, Schick's Blog Up

KETV-7 weekend sports anchor Matt Schick has one of the most popular blogs going right now in Omaha. His “Schick’s Shtick” blog at generated more than 15,000 views last week and hundreds of responses from readers. The only other local TV sportscasters’ blog – by Dave Webber, Ross Jernstrom and Merlyn Klaus at – had received three responses for its past two blog posts this week.

“Last year the most (responses) we would receive was around 115 following a loss, and that was only if we plugged it during the Big Red Zone,” said Schick, who has written a blog (aka Web log) for the past 15 months.

“This year’s response has been much bigger. For instance, following the loss at Missouri we had 231 posts. Following the Oklahoma State game we had 300. Then roughly another 250 following the firing of Pederson and the hiring of Osborne.”

According to Webmaster Shiloh Woolman, so far this October, Schick’s blog had 19,766 visits, compared to 2,082 visits in October of 2006.

“I can tell you that the hits go way up the worse it gets,” Schick said. “Unfortunately, if the Huskers stay in this valley for a while, fans will probably grow numb to the defeats and become less emotional about the losses.”

Retired Publisher Writing Fewer Columns Online

HaroldRetired Omaha World-Herald Publisher Harold Andersen is writing fewer columns now that his work is published online and no longer in the newspaper he worked for 43 years.

Andersen's website,, includes only three columns since the newspaper stopped affording him space on its editorial pages on Wednesdays and Sundays. In his most recent post, Andersen writes that he will make his weekly column available on Fridays instead of Saturdays. He also takes his former employer to task for things written about the Huskers by the paper's reporters and sports columnists.

Andersen began his journalism career as a reporter for the Lincoln Star before moving to the World-Herald for a 13-year reporting stint. He also was an editor and manager before becoming publisher in 1966. He retired in 1989. Andersen also served on boards of the National Newspaper Association, the World Association of Newspapers and the Associated Press. He founded the World Press Freedom Committee.

Late in his tenure as a contributing columnist at the World-Herald, Andersen was criticized for a lack of fact-checking, having a hidden agenda at times and he frequently commented on sports, particularly Nebraska football. He was also known to frequently take shots at competing media.

It's A(nother) Girl For The Shatels

Omaha World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel focuses Thursday's column on his desire to possibly add a boy to the family.

Shatel's wife, Jennifer, gave birth to Annamarie Jean Shatel weighed 10 pounds and is 22 inches long. Annamarie is the couple's third girl.

"What am I supposed to do, dream of them playing in the WNBA or LPGA?," the 49-year-old writes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Move The CWS? That's News To Indianapolis

The city that Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey has mentioned most as a possibility to steal the College World Series away wasn't on base with the pick-off attempt until the Omaha World-Herald published a story this week.

Indianapolis media learned from the World-Herald's story that the National Collegiate Athletic Association had not specified an accompanying site in its list of championship events for 2011. This led to several news stories, including one in the Indianapolis Business Journal that read, in part:

Despite Indianapolis leaders' interest in hosting the lucrative event, Dedman said Indiana Sports Corp. has not had contact with NCAA officials about bidding for the event. "Our understanding is the bid is not open at this time," he said.

But Omaha officials appear leery of Indianapolis.

The city's daily newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald reported today that, "Indianapolis has the reputation of a shark striking when other cities sleep."

One Indianapolis TV station, NBC affiliate WTHR, interviewed World-Herald reporter C. David Kotok, who wrote the article in Tuesday's editions.

"When people speculate, I think Indy comes to mind because you have a modern stadium right downtown, things the NCAA likes. The NCAA likes events in Indy," Kotok said in a phone interview.

The NCAA let cities know this month the College World Series may be up for bid.

In an email to Eyewitness News, a spokesperson said, "It is true the contract expires in 2010, but the NCAA is in current discussions with the city of Omaha about future options with the College World Series. There has not been any discussion about moving the CWS to Indianapolis or any other city."

Yet to be made public (by the mayor's office or any other Omaha media outlet) is the original newspaper article Fahey has mentioned repeatedly in his attempt to win support for a new ballpark in Omaha. One that he distributed to City Council members earlier this month was generated from recent discussion of a new stadium.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Differences Between TV and Newspaper Journalists

LenslingerVeteran TV news photojournalist Stewart Pittman (right) compares TV and newspaper journalists in the latest entry on his "Viewfinder Blues" blog.

A sampling:

Newspaper folk think TV news people are vapid and overwrought; arbiters of inanity and walking examples of everything that’s wrong with modern day journalism. TV news people rarely think of newspaper folk at all.

* * *

TV news people begin their day leafing through every print edition they can lay hands on in hopes of finding a story to scavenge. Newspaper folk rush to the nearest television set whenever there’s breaking news. Neither group likes to admit it.

* * *

TV news people have no idea what it takes to fill all that column space. They cannot fathom the amount of research and internal debate that goes into the average Sunday cover story. Newspaper folk couldn’t turn a five o clock press conference into a six o clock lead story if their families were being held at gunpoint.

Read his entire entry here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Investigative Radio Report

Tom Becka's special investigative report, "The Heartland's Serial Killer: The Fight Against Meth," airs tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday on KFAB (1110 AM).

Becka's in-depth report will focus on methamphetamine addicts, the law enforcement aspect of meth, the medical ramifications of the drug and rehab. Part one begins in the six o'clock hour tonight.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Week, Another Loss For The Big Red

Even the anchors have given up wearing red on Nebraska football game days...

What's the best segment of Husker analysis? If you haven't seen it, tune in Sunday night for Dr. Rob Zatechka's chalk talk of the Huskers' weekly breakdown. It's part of "Sports Soundoff presented by Horseshoe Casino" on KMTV, Sunday nights at 10:35.

Friday, October 19, 2007

UNO Hockey Highlights Or Goldie & Kurt Sightings?

KurtWill Omaha TV sports directors devote a camera to cover this afternoon's Alabama-Huntsville and Canisius College hockey game at the Maverick Stampede?

The 4:05 p.m. contest is of little consequence to local viewers. But the opportunity to catch Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, whose son, Wyatt, is a goalkeeper for Alabama-Huntsville, might be enough of a draw - not to mention the cash a still photo will draw for a tabloid photo. The pair is rumored to be in Omaha to watch their son's collegiate playing debut.

Five years ago, Wyatt banned his parents from his first hockey games so he could concentrate on his game.

(By the way, he wears No. 1.)

Imus Coming To Omaha-Based RFD-TV?

The New York Times reports that Don Imus is in discussions with Omaha-based RFD-TV, an Omaha-based satellite and cable channel dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America and agriculture.

Don ImusIn August, RFD-TV aired a one-hour special about Imus' ranch near Ribera, N.M. The 4,000-acre ranch serves as a sanctuary for cancer survivors, children battling cancer and blood disorders, and kids who have lost a sibling to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to "rejuvenate their bodies and soothe their souls." The program focused on the history of his non-profit charity and included an extensive tour of the ranch.

RFD-TV is available on the DISH Network, DIRECTV, Mediacom, Charter, NRTC, Bresnan and NCTC cable systems. The corporate and national sales office is headquartered at 128th & West Dodge Road. Its studios and broadcast content originates from Nashville.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Today's Job of the Day


News Web Producer, KMTV

The ideal candidate will have a passion for the Internet as well as a passion for news, especially breaking news. Must write clear and easy to understand copy and headlines for the website. Also implements and reinforces news branding and content priorities; able to understand, differentiate, and translate our TV brand to the website; must be highly organized, able to multitask, and must thrive in a fast-paced environment; be in touch with the community in some manner (news, weather, sports, music, lifestyle); able to maintain balance between projects; must be able to communicate effectively in person and by telephone; high work ethics and standards; strong time management skills; strong detail orientation; creative ability is highly valued.

Experience: Minimum 1 year experience maintaining website content or producing television newscasts required; proficiency with Photoshop is preferred; proficiency with audio/video for web is preferred; experience with website content management systems is preferred; experience and/or knowledge of TV is preferred; internet savvy, technology facile. Producers of local newscasts with strong internet and technology abilities are encouraged to apply.

Duties: Serve as the news web point-person for websites. Produce, write and technically coordinate getting news content online. Transcribe news story copy from broadcast copy form to web copy form. Define and suggest necessary techniques to innovate digital news delivery (web). Add text, images, audio and video content to websites (mirror the on-air experience); edit video for website. Check websites for quality. Work closely with news producers and reporters on web content; work closely with Web Coordinator. Find new ways for us to connect with our audience online. Troubleshoot issues with hosting, streaming, content management systems, and our staff’s use of web systems. Administer, support and train staff on web related systems and processes. Must be able to understand and execute nuances in audience targeting. Other duties as directed by manager.

Send resume and cover letter to: Ken Dudzik, News Director KMTV 10714 Mockingbird Drive Omaha, NE 68127

Was It Really Just The TV Reporters?

From Thursday's Omaha World-Herald:

Television reporters peppered head coach Bill Callahan about his job status Wednesday after reckless rumors dotted the Internet and sports radio. Callahan was even asked - after completing practice - if there was a firing announcement coming.

Inquiring minds want to know if this is true or is the state's largest newspaper taking shots at the electronic broadcast industry folk again?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Rosenblatt Bureau

Rosenblatt StadiumThe plaza area of Rosenblatt Stadium has seen more action in the past few weeks than during the entire Omaha Royals' season.

By Media Watch's (conservative) estimate, more than three dozen live shots have originated from Rosenblatt by Omaha's combined four TV stations during the past two months.

For open discussion: What are some of Omaha's other "hot spot" live shot locations?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Day, Another UNL News Conference...

At least this one falls within the time slot of a regularly-scheduled newscast.

Updated at 6:30 p.m.
A few coverage notes:
- KMTV missed a few seconds of opening remarks while airing another story. The station was the only one to provide continuous coverage through to 6 p.m. (completely covering up the CBS Evening News)
- KETV had a lower-third super that read "Osborn" at the start of the press conference.
- WOWT had Johnny Rodgers on set for the second straight night afterwards.
- KPTM did not broadcast the press conference.

Front Pages: Steve Pederson Firing

World-Herald front page 10.16.07 Lincoln Journal Star front page 10.16.07 North Platte Teleraph front page 10.16.07

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Coverage Notes: Steve Pederson Firing

Web banners from The Grand Island Independent (left) and the Lincoln Journal Star.

Omaha's KXSP (590 AM) extended "The Big Show with Matt Perrault" by an extra 30 minutes Monday night while KFAB (1110 AM) joined "Sports Nightly" for its first hour, which is normally not heard on that station.

The Horseshoe Casino Sports Soundoff on KMTV will feature a special half-hour show Monday night from 10:35 p.m. to 11, which will preempt "Late Night with David Letterman."

Steve Pederson's Firing: The Omaha Coverage

KETV: Live coverage of the press conference included exclusive video of Steve Pederson walking to his SUV and driving away.
KMTV: Live coverage of the press conference interrupted "Oprah."
KPTM: J.J. Davis provided a phone report off the top of the 4 p.m. newscast.
WOWT: Live coverage of the press conference off the top of the 4 p.m. newscast.

Radio stations KFAB, KOZN and KXSP all broadcast the press conference in its entirety.

NET also provided live, two-camera coverage, offering viewers the opportunity to see reporters during the question-and-answer portion of the press conference.

KETV Gets The Scoop; Goes Down

KETV-7 reporter Mike DiGiacomo was the only TV reporter on hand when Steve Pederson exited University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Harvey Perlman's office Monday afternoon.

Less than an hour later, Perlman announced that Pederson had been asked to step down.

DiGiacomo's on-the-scene reports were also relayed to listeners of KOZN (1620 AM) where fellow KETV reporter Mike'l Severe is co-host of "Unsportsmanlike Conduct."

The Omaha World-Heral'ds online portal,, was unable to handle the flood of traffic to its server and its site was unavailable for nearly 30 minutes., in a pre-emptive measure, changed its access level to subscribers-only shortly after 1:30 p.m. Sunday night,, and all experienced record numbers of visitors.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ESPN2 Broadcasts Post-Game Press Conference

When was the last time ESPN2 (or ESPN) broadcast a Nebraska football post-game press conference live?


Mark this event down as a landmark. The national media is now nationally broadcasting a blowout loss by Nebraska and I believe that from this point on they will continue to make big news of every loss creating media pressure on what we've been bitching about regarding SP and the staff. Are you listening now Harv? It will end with the BIG news conference when SP is let go along with the staff and a replacement is announced.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New GM at WOWT-6

We don’t have many details, however, Omaha's WOWT-6 did say that a new general manager, Charlie Peterson, will be at the station as of Tuesday, Oct. 16. She will take over as the station’s new GM.

Peterson, who has previously been the general manager at KKTV in Colorado Springs, Colo., replaces retiring Frank Jonas.

KKTV and WOWT are both owned by Gray Television.

More details to come.

Friday, October 5, 2007

KMTV Sales Executive Dies

Rich Eggers, a longtime advertising executive with KMTV-3, has passed away. He was 52.

Eggers, who was a 28-year veteran in the Omaha broadcast market, is survived by daughters, Alison Eggers of Lincoln, and Katherine Ann Eggers of Omaha; parents Bob and Ellie Eggers of Omaha; brother Dr. Steve Eggers of Omaha; and sister Marcia Eggers and husband Dr. John Linstromberg, of Britt, Minn.

The memorial service is Saturday at 11a.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Master, 114th Street and West Center Road. Memorials are requested to the Open Door Mission and the Nebraska Humane Society. Crosby Burket Swanson-Golden Colonial Chapel, 11902 W. Center Road. 333-7200.

Follow-up on KETV and Cox Agreement

As noted previously, KETV-7 and Cox Communications came to an agreement to put KETV’s HD signal of Cox’s system (channel 806). Since last July, the signal had not been available on Cox.

“The agreement includes carriage of the high-definition digital (HDTV) signals and carriage of digital multicast programming, as well as continued carriage of the stations’ analog signals,” according to a pres release issued by Hearst-Argyle Television, which owns KETV.

Cox and Hearst were at odds as to whether or not Hearst should be compensated for letting Cox carry its HD signal, as well as its analog signal. Hearst and KETV wanted to be paid for its signals; Cox didn’t want to pay.

So now that the HD and analog signals are on Cox, does that mean Hearst is getting paid by Cox? And if so, is it compensation based on a per subscriber basis, or was it a broad package deal?

“All of the agreements across the country, cable operators have asked that those remain proprietary, and so broadcasters are abiding by that,” Sarah Smith, general manager of KETV, said this week.

Cox wasn’t any more forthcoming with info on the deal.

"I don’t know the terms of the agreement; it really was between our two corporate offices, and the terms are confidential and proprietary,” said Summer Miller Widhalm, public affairs manager for Cox in Omaha.

(Gotta love the ol’ proprietary card.)

Cox had said previously that if the company had to pay Hearst to carry its stations’ signals that Cox would have to raise its rates and pass that cost on to its subscribers. So, does Cox plan to raise its rates because of this agreement?
“In the near future I don’t see anything like that happening,” said Cox’s Miller Widhalm.

Does that mean Cox is NOT paying for the signals? Did KETV cave in and let Cox have the signals for free?

Oh, yeah. It’s proprietary.

The agreement includes carrying digital multicast programming that KETV has, which would include Weather Now, a syndicated channel also known as the local AccuWeather Channel. It’s a 24-hour weather-oriented broadcast/cable network that broadcasts on digital sub-channels of affiliates, which in Omaha is KETV.

Sure, we could get more details on that, but it’s … well, you know.

McKernan Leaving NRG

Jim McKernan, general manager of NRG Media’s seven-station group in Omaha, will be leaving the company on Oct. 18. He will begin his new job with the Bonten Media Group on Oct. 22.

As vice president and general manager, McKernan (pictured) will be in charge of Bonten’s Tri-City cluster Tennessee/Virginia that includes WCYB-TV(NBC), WEMT-TV (FOX) and CW-4 ( Digital).

“Jim has a long and successful track record in both television and radio,” said Randy Bongarten, president of Bonten Media.

“I worked with Jim at Emmis Television, where he served first as general sales manager and then as vice president and general manager for the Emmis/CBS-affiliated station in Omaha, KMTV. Jim is a highly skilled, strategically focused leader. We're looking forward to having Jim with the Bonten Media Group team.”

Kat is King

Omaha modern country station the Kat (KXKT 103.7 FM) has been named the CMA Station of the Year for medium-sized market. The Kat was a finalist in 2002 and 2006.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Print in Town

You can add one more source to the dozens of options – including the City Weekly’s quarterly glossy guides – that Omahans have when it comes to getting news on restaurants and bars. A new glossy magazine titled “Food & Spirits” hit the streets recently. The publication, available for free around town, looks to be a quarterly, with the debut issue Fall 2007. Find the mag online at

Meanwhile, another new magazine (this one on newsprint) that focuses on literature and arts launched over the summer in Omaha called “Silent City.” The magazine, created by City Weekly freelance writer Matt Goodlett, also is a quarterly publication. The next one is due out any time and is also available for free at various locations in Omaha (the Old Market is your best bet). Find it online at