Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cox Program Plugs Children Into Free Computers

Cox Connects Kids LogoCox Communications will give away 40 free, refurbished home computers Saturday as part of its "Cox Connects Kids" program.

To be eligible to receive a free computer, families had to provide proof of participation in the free/reduced lunch program at their respective schools. Students chosen to receive a computer will be given the opportunity to apply for free Cox High Speed Internet service.

The computers will be given out at South High School at 9 a.m. South High students in technology classes format the computers and prepare them for distribution.

Last fall, Cox began offering free Cox High Speed Internet service and free cable modems to eligible families in the Omaha metro area as part of the "Cox Connects Kids" program, which started in 2001. The program accepts used computers - Pentium III or higher desktop models in working condition. Computers are given out once a quarter.

Cox Connects Kids is a community, business and educational partnership formed in 2001. With help from Omaha Public Schools administrators and students from South High School, the Cox Connects Kids program has donated more than 1,200 refurbished computers to eligible children and their families in the metro area.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

KPTM's Calvert Collins is 'Hot Chick Pick' Leader

Calvert Collins, courtesy of nebraskainfowomenAs the Final Four approaches, "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" hosts Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe updated their listeners on KOZN (1620 AM) on the leader in their NCAA Basketball Tournament "Hot Chick Picks" competition.

Calvert Collins (seen at right) of KPTM (Cox Channel 10) is the leader, correctly picking 44 winners out of 60 games (.733 percent) played to date. However, as Kugler points out, Collins has an ousted team, North Carolina, as her national champion.

I'm thrilled to be leading in the brackets," Collins said, "although I really wanted the Tar Heels to pull it out. But you can't win 'em all."

Brandi Petersen of KETV (Cox Channel 9) is second with a 43-17 record (.717 percent). But she, too, has North Carolina winning it all.

KETV's Lisa Stites is third with a 42-18 mark (.700 percent).

"But she still has a shot at the title, having picked Florida as her national champion," Kugler said.

Amanda Mueller of KPTM is a distant fourth, and with North Carolina as her champion, is not in a position to improve much on her 35-25 (.583 percent) record so far.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Central Plains Weather Symposium: A Look Back

Nearly every Lincoln and Omaha TV station was represented at Saturday's Central Plains Weather Symposium in Lincoln.

KLKN Staffers, photo courtesy of Dr. Ken DeweyKLKN-Lincoln had the largest representation, with Kevin Coskren, Wes Callison and Liz Dorland. KOLN/KGIN-Lincoln meteorologist Brad Anderson was also on hand, along with Omaha TV station meteorologists CT Thongklin (KMTV), Tyson Pearsall (KPTM) and Bill Randby (KETV).

Unfortunately, going on the same day in Des Moines was the 11th Annual Severe Storms & Doppler Radar Conference, which was hosted by the Central Iowa Chapter of the National Weather Association. This created some conflicts which prevented attendees from being in Lincoln (including WOWT).

Pictured at right (left to right): KLKN meteorologists Wes Callison, Kevin Coskren and Liz Dorland.
Photo courtesy Dr. Ken Dewey.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Larry Porter Retires From The World-Herald

Longtime high school sportswriter and prep rater Larry Porter retired from the Omaha World-Herald Sunday after more than 40 years with the newspaper.

After 14 years of writing about high school athletes and coaches, Porter switched to the hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation beat when Gene Hornbeck announced his retirement in May of 1990.

In 1985, Porter was one of three Nebraskans to be honored by the National Sportcasters and Sportswriters Association for excellence in sports journalism.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Former Omaha Anchor
In Hot Water In Milwaukee

Courtny Gerrish mug, courtesy of WTMJMilwaukee Deputy Police Chief Brian O'Keefe is calling the actions of Courtny Gerrish "despicable" after the former Omaha anchor/reporter called the wife of a shooting victim before police had time to inform her of her husband's death.

According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O'Keefe said police were on their way to notify relatives when Gerrish called the family about five hours after the deadly shooting of a popular boxing coach at a gas station.

But WTMJ (NBC) News Director Bill Berra said that it was never the station's intention to break the news to the family. He also said he was surprised by the amount of time it took for police to notify relativers.

"I'm just terribly upset that we were put in the position of having to tell the family," Berra says. "And I apologize to them in every way possible. We didn't think we'd be telling the family four-and-a-half hours after the event."

Berra said he will not let Gerrish talk publicly about the incident, but said she was "shocked to find that they didn't know" when she called the home for comment around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

KQBW Website Offers Streaming CDs

KQBW logoBeginning this week, KQBW (96.1 FM) "The Brew" will be featuring streaming audio of an entire CD on its website.

The first featured artist and album is Robert Plant's new boxed set, "9 Lives."

The new feature is part of the website's "Music on Demand" section, which provides listeners with an opportunity to listen to - and watch music videos by selected artists. It is available to all Clear Channel radio stations, but not all stations are electing to include it on their websites.

Job Fair For Journalists Is Tuesday

TV interview in Santa BarbaraSo you want to break into broadcasting?

The Omaha Area Broadcasters, in association with Career Fairs Global, are presenting a Professional Career Fair on Tuesday, March 27.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Central (3321 So. 72nd St.), a number of television and radio stations, along with one newspaper, will be on hand seeking qualified applicants from the Omaha metropolitan area.

Participating media outlets include: Clear Channel Radio, Connoisseur Media, LLC, JobDig Employment Newspaper, Journal Broadcast Group, KETV, KHUB, KFMT, KBLR, KMTV, KPTM, NRG Media, Salem Radio Omaha (KCRO KGBI KOTK), KVSS and WOWT.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

World-Herald Writes 'Trial Briefs';
Everyone Else Calls It 'Blogging'

The Omaha World-Herald continues to resist the notion that it is joining in the digital age of disseminating timely, up-to-the-minute information on the Internet.

The newspaper's "Trial Briefs" on is actually a blog. Reporters Lynn Safranek and Todd Cooper are documenting developments from the courtroom of the Christopher Edwards murder trial. The items are then posted on the newspaper's website.

Previously, the World-Herald has referred to e-mails as "electronic messages" in news stories.

Edwards Trial Blog Is Research For NET Special

Veteran journalist Bill Kelly says the murder trial of Christopher Edwards provides the ideal opportunity to document the real-life application of forensic science for a special program that will air later this year on Nebraska Educational Television (NET).

Much of the research Kelly is doing for "CSI Nebraska" (the working title for the special) is being shared on a blog on the website of KMTV (Cox Channel 5). The special will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the training of CSI specialists in a unique, masters level program at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Kelly said the strong working relationship NET has had with KMTV - and in particular, managing editor Carrie Murphy - over the years led to the creation of the blog.

"(The idea is that) it would add a web element, give an additional voice to their reporting team - who have enough to worry about preparing their stories for air- and it is a good use of my notes from the trial," Kelly said.

Kelly's experience as a journalist includes nearly 10 years as a reporter at WOWT, where he specialized in local government, politics, and special investigative projects. At NET, his documentary on the notorious crime spree of Charles Starkweather, "Charles and Caril: Starkweather 30 years later," earned him national honors and recognition.

In his account of Tuesday's session of jury selection, Kelly wrote that the most notable moment of complete agreement came when defense attorney Steve Lefler asked the jury pool if they "understand and accept" that the press is not always right.

"Perhaps a little more loudly than the reporters in the room might have thought necessary, the jurors repeated, 'I can accept that' in unison," Kelly wrote.

Notes: For three days earlier this week, fellow Journal Broadcast Group journalist Bill Jensen told listeners on KXSP (590 AM) and KOMJ (1490 AM) that the blog was located at "" ... KMTV used two reporters Wednesday to present the opening arguments of the prosecution and defense: Kathy Sarantos Niver handled the prosecution while Michelle Bandur covered the defense.

UNOTV Plans UNO Hockey Anniversary Special

UNOUNOTV is asking fans to vote for their favorite players and moments as it plans a special show recapping the first decade of hockey at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Ballots were distributed at the Mike Kemp Radio Show at Indigo Joe's, as well as through e-mail ballots.

The results of the balloting will be announced on the first airing of the program on April 19.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mike Sigmond Leaving KETV

KETV (Cox Channel 9) I-Team consumer reporter Mike Sigmond is leaving the station.

It was widely known within the ABC affiliate that Sigmond had given notice that he was moving on, but KETV management did not return the City Weekly's calls to confirm the news. That situation changed Wednesday when Sigmond's job was posted on

Sigmond is an Omaha Central graduate who started at KETV as a weekend sports anchor in September 2001. He has not publicly announced what his plans are after he leaves the station at the end of May.

The posting for Sigmond's position says the qualified candidate "must be a skilled, creative writer with lots of personality."

Deceased UNO Wrestler Was Also A TV Analyst

Former UNO wrestler and Omaha Skutt coach R.J. Nebe is being remembered as not only an outstanding wrestler and coach, but also for his insight as a broadcaster.

Nebe, 42, died Monday of leukemia. He was a five-time All-American and a Division II national champion as a senior. He was inducted into the UNO Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996 and the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999.

For many years, Nebe worked as a color analyst on NET's broadcasts of the Nebraska High School wrestling tournament.

Michael Carnes, who published the now-defunct Nebraska Wrestling Illustrated, said Nebe was scheduled to provide analysis for the NCAA Division II wrestling championships, but the sudden onset of the illness prevented him from working the event in Kearney.

"It was a truly tragic loss for the state's wrestling community," Carnes said.

A fundraiser planned for Nebe on Saturday will go on as scheduled, only now it will serve as a benefit for his family.

The $20 event will be at Anthony's (72nd & F Streets) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.