Monday, October 13, 2008

Baker Pisses Off Magic Johnson

Former Omaha radio personality Chris Baker (the Edge and KKAR 1290 AM) is in hot water after comments he made about former NBA star Magic Johnson on his talk-show on KTLK-FM in Minneapolis.

See the story at OmahaCityWeekly.com's Media Watch blog.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dudzik Out at KMTV

KMTV-3 – Omaha's CBS affiliate – has apparently fired News Director Ken Dudzik. The receptionist at KMTV today (Sept. 19) said, "He no longer works here." We have calls in and hope to have more details by the end of the day. Look to OmahaCityWeekly.com and its Media Watch blog later for the complete story.

Monday, September 15, 2008

RSS and No Registering

You no longer need to register at the City Weekly Web site (OmahaCityWeekly.com) to post comments on their blogs. And they have added an RSS feed.

So post away!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two New Posts at OmahaCityWeekly.com

Two new ones have been posted on the Media Watch blog!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Change Your Bookmarks ... We Are On The Move

This portal to the Omaha City Weekly's Media Watch column will soon be closing.

Point your browser here to stay in touch with the latest news from the local print, broadcast and internet communications channels.

And yes, there is still the ability to comment on all posts.

World-Herald Buys More Papers

The Omaha World-Herald reported today that it has gobbled up two more Nebraska daily newspapers, the Grand Island Independent and the York News-Times. The papers were owned by Gatehouse Media Inc. of Fairport, N.Y.

According to the World-Herald report, the Independent has a daily circulation of 20,500, and a Sunday circulation of 22,300. The News-Times' circulation is 4,700 Monday through Saturday.

The World-Herald distributes 220,000 copies on Sundays and 178,500 on the other days, according to the paper..

Brew Gets Exclusive AC/DC Song

The Brew (96.1 FM) has an exclusive AC/DC cut that the station began playing on the air and its Web site today. "Rock N Roll Train," is a song from the Australian band's forthcoming album and can be heard exclusively on the Web at 961theBrew.

Michelle Matthews, morning show host and program director at the Clear Channel-owned Brew, said that Clear Channel stations made the deal with the band to offer the song exclusively.

Rock'n'Roll Train" will be used in the promo ads for the CBS show "Criminal Minds" beginning Sept. 1. It will also appear in the Oct. 22 installment of the series.

Verizon has the exclusive on the "Rock'n'Roll Train" ringtone via its online media store. AC/DC's music remains unavailable at Apple's iTunes Music Store.

On Oct. 20, AC/DC will release of "Black Ice," which will be sold exclusively via Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores, as well as ACDC.com.

Friday, August 8, 2008

KQKQ Hires 'Jenny' For Midday Jock Slot

Jenny, Courtesy of KQKQJust announced by the folks at NRG Media ... (press release is printed verbatim)

Omaha, NE – August 4, 2008 – Modern Hit Music powerhouse Q98.5FM has a new midday talent. KQKQ Program Director Nevin Dane announced today that “Jenny” takes to the airwaves as the new host of the coveted 10am-3pm timeslot.

“Jenny” comes to Q98.5 from WXAJ 99.7 KISS FM in Springfield, IL where she was the Morning Show Co-Host and held the posts as Midday Talent and Assistant Promotions Director during her tenure. Dane stated the midday timeslot would remain targeted to active listeners. “Our listeners are intertwined with the station and our music and promotions during midday will continue to reflect the lifestyle of our audience with Jenny behind the mic.”

“Jenny” has seven years of broadcast experience in a variety of formats including Modern Rock, Alternative and Adult Contemporary. Prior to joining KQKQ, she worked as Assistant Program Director and Assistant Music Director at WYVR, “The River” in Springfield, IL and as Morning Show Co-Host at Mix 96.5 WKIB-FM in Cape Girardeau, MO.

“Joining the Q98.5 team is so exciting. This is one of the best radio stations in the Midwest and I can’t wait to get to know our fabulous listeners and our advertisers,” stated Jenny.

Features listeners should expect during the new midday show include “Jenny’s Juice” providing a look inside the world of showbiz and entertainment news, along with various local happenings on the music scene. Dane said listeners should look forward to a hip, fun and engaging new program designed to engage the audience and continue to promote at-work listening.

“Jenny” graduated from the Broadcast Center in St. Louis, MO with a Certificate of Professional Arts. She also attended Meramec Community College in St. Louis, MO from 1998-2000.

The KQKQ weekday lineup features “Pat and JT in the Morning” 5:30am-10:00am, “Polychronopolis” in PMD Drive 3:00pm-7:00pm and Heather Lee at night from 7:00pm-12:00am.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Terry Blasts Esch Over Comments in City Weekly

KETV-7 ran a story last night regarding a battle between congressional candidates Democratic challenger Jim Esch, on left, and Republican incumbent Lee Terry. Terry is upset over a comment on abortion that Esch made during an interview in last week's issue of the City Weekly.

Below is the KETV article. Here is a link to the video.

The KETV article in its entirety:

"Abortion Comment Heats Up Esch-Terry Race
Terry Demands Apology After Magazine Interview

OMAHA, Neb. -- The congressional race between Rep. Lee Terry and challenger Jim Esch is heating up after a statement Esch made about abortion opponents

Both candidates consider themselves opposed to abortion, but the Terry campaign is calling out Esch after he told the local magazine City Weekly that used the word extremist to refer to some abortion opponents.

“He said that pro-lifers are extremists. I don’t agree with that,” Terry said. “I think it shows his true colors on that issue.”

The Aug. 5 edition of the magazine posed a question to Esch about whether he would introduce or vote for legislation to restrict or outlaw abortions. In response, Esch spoke about the challenges of weighing the abortion issue philosophically.

“The other thing that frustrates me with that issue is you have two sides and really both, I think the right-to-life side is a little more extremist, but they think it says something fundamental about that person because they look at it as a strictly moral issue,” the magazine quoted Esch as saying.

“He owes all of the pro-lifers in the metro area and apology,” Terry said.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on things,” said Dennis Esch, of the Jim Esch for Congress campaign.

Terry acknowledges that Esch may have misspoken during the interview, but also said it is evidence that Esch is not actually pro-life.

The Terry campaign’s accusations come through what is called its Truth Squad, a watchdog arm led by Richard Carter, who opposed Esch in the May primary."

More From the Press Release Pile ...

Have you noticed that Elictia Hammond is gone from KETV-7?

The former morning co-anchor, who joined KETV in 2004, left the station June 30 to spend more time with her family.

“We appreciate the work Elictia has done over the past three-and-a-half years to help build First News into the morning news leader,” said KETV President and General Manager Sarah Smith.

“Elictia is leaving First News on a high ratings note. In the most recent Nielsen survey, May 2008, the program gained viewers (adults 25-54) over May 2007 and it has consistently been the No. 1 local news program among adult 25-54 viewers.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kugler Broadcasting From China for Olympics

Kevin Kugler, co-host of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on Omaha’s the Zone (KOZN 1620 AM), is in Beijing, China to broadcast the play-by-play coverage of Team USA Men’s Basketball Medal Round games, as well as the Gold Medal game regardless of the participants, for Westwood One Radio.

Kugler, who also provides play-by-play for Westwood One’s coverage of college football, baseball and other college sports, is writing a blog from Beijing at KevinKugler.blogspot.com. A snippet from a recent entry:

“We ventured out today to the largest electronics store I have ever seen,” said Kugler, shown at right at the Great Wall. “14 floors packed with everything from laptops to wireless Internet cards. You want it? They probably have it in this 14-story market. Strangely, laptops in China are pricier than in the states. Most of the consumer goods, it seems, are cheaper here, but laptops that normally cost 1500 in the states can run upwards of 3000 USD here.

“Consider this blog, though, a plea. If there's one thing we NEED in the Omaha/Lincoln area, it's a 14 story electronics superstore. Who will be the brave Nebraskan to step up and provide our state with a necessity like that?”

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cecchetto Out, Nigrelli In at KMTV



KMTV-3 co-anchor Carlo Cecchetto has left the station for “personal family reasons,” according to Ken Dudzik, news director at KMTV.

Cecchetto, at left, joined KMTV in Jan. 2007, debuting with another new co-anchor Carol Wang, middle. Wang will remain with the station.

Wang will be joined by Craig Nigrelli, who will co-anchor the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Nigrelli, at right, has more than a decade of anchoring and reporting experience, most recently with KCTV5 in Kansas City, Mo. His first day on-air at KMTV will be today, August 4.

“Craig’s strong background, and experience with late-breaking and investigative news, will serve our viewers well,” Rob Burton, vice president and general manager of Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha operations, said in a press relese. “We’re excited to be adding him to our Action 3 News team.”

Nigrelli’s career began in 1993 as a general assignment reporter for WIVB-TV in Buffalo, N.Y. He later anchored the station’s weekend morning show. In 2000 he moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to work as an enterprise reporter and morning show anchor at KOAT-TV, before moving to KSTP-TV in Minneapolis in 2004. A year later he was hired at KCTV5.

Nigrelli is a graduate of Rutgers University with a B.A. in communication and economics.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Price On Afternoon Drive on Big O

Matt Price has taken over the afternoon slot on the Big O (101.9 FM). Price will handle the 3-7 p.m. shift on the adult contemporary/rock station.

“Matt has a great delivery on the air with his wit, sense of humor and maturity. He really encompasses what we are trying to accomplish with this radio station in attracting adults 25-54 and appealing to the female listeners,” said Nevin Dane, Big O’s program director.

Price began his radio career a part-time talent for KFOR, KLMS and KRKR in Lincoln from 2001-2003. He co-produced Husker football programming including the “Husker Tailgate Show” and “Average Joe Sports Show.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

Julie Cornell Steps Down As Anchor At KETV

KETV-7 co-anchor Julie Cornell announced live on the air this morning that she is leaving the anchor desk at KETV. Brandi Petersen will replace Cornell when she leaves at the end of the month. Petersen will join co-anchor Rob McCartney.

Cornell, whose husband Bill Randby will remain as KETV’s chief meteorologist, began at KETV in 1992. She has been one of the station’s main co-anchors for the past 11 years after replacing longtime KETV anchor Carol Schrader.

Cornell published a story on KETV.com explaining that she wants to become a fulltime mom.

“This year, our twin girls, Madeline and Jocelyn, will start kindergarten,” Cornell wrote. “Our son, Will, begins second grade. I've worked the night shift for most of my 21 years in broadcasting, and it doesn't mesh with the school schedule.

“So at the end of July, after 11 years as a main anchor at KETV, I'll step away from the anchor desk, because I want to be with my children at night. I'll continue to work a very flexible part-time schedule here at channel 7, write weekly stories for Julie's Diary on the KETV Web site and write feature stories for the news, as I have for 16 years here in Omaha.

“Brandi Petersen will take over the anchor desk next to my buddy, Rob. She's my friend. She's smart, level-headed and hard-working. Brandi is one of the finest live reporters I've seen on air. She loves this community and she's a tremendous asset to our station.”

Friday, June 27, 2008

KETV wins 10 o’clock in May

In the May 2007 local TV ratings period, KETV-7 and WOWT-6 were neck and neck with viewers ages 25-54 for their 10 p.m. weekday newscasts. A year later, KETV has taken the No. 1 spot in that advertiser-coveted demographic of adult TV viewers.

In the May 2008 report from Nielsen Media Research, KETV had a 33 percent share of TV viewers for its 10 p.m. newscast, which was up from 26 percent last year. WOWT had a 23 percent share this May at 10 p.m., which was down from 28 percent in May 2007.

Meanwhile, KMTV-3’s 10 p.m. newscast dropped from a 10 percent share of viewers ages 25 to 54 at 10 p.m. in May 2007, to 9 percent this year.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meteorologist Rusty Lord joins WOWT

Rusty Lord, a graduate of Iowa State University, joined the morning newscast on WOWT-6 on Monday. He will be the meteorologist on the NBC affiliate’s weekday morning newscast.

Lord joins WOWT after working at KDLT-TV in Sioux Falls, S.D. While there, he was awarded “Best Weathercast” by the South Dakota Associated Press (2007).

A native of western Iowa, Lord is an avid sports fan and enjoys playing and watching a wide variety of sports, according to his WOWT bio. Lord, it says, also is a huge fan of Husker football and loves watching the Iowa State Cyclones play college hoops.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Omaha Storm Coverage

Were you watching KETV meteorologist Bill Randby Chuck McWilliams (Editor's correction) overnight when the storm struck the Omaha area? Or did you tune in to coverage on the radio by KFAB (1110 AM) or another station?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Reader Editor Leaves For Grad School

Andy Norman, formerly the managing editor of the Reader newspaper, will begin graduate school at Michigan State this fall. His last day at the Reader was May 30.

Norman went to the Reader in 2005 after a stint as the managing editor of the City Weekly newspaper. Norman is a native of Imperial, Neb., and a graduate of the journalism department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In other Reader news, assistant editor Tessa Jeffers left the newspaper in May.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thompson Lands With Nelson

Former Omaha World-Herald Washington, D.C. bureau writer Jake Thompson will take over as the communications director for Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson beginning June 9.

Thompson was laid off from the Herald last month, along with photo assignment editor Craig Chandler, business reporter Mike Avok and graphic designer Sid Jablonski.

“Jake brings an extensive knowledge of Nebraska media, Washington, and Senator Nelson’s record and agenda to the position. Jake will have the same contact information currently assigned to me when he joins the staff,” David Di Martino, the current communications director, said in a press release issued on Friday.

“As for me, today (Friday, May 30) is my last day in this office,” Martino said. “I will be moving to a position in the private sector next month after taking some time off. I’ve truly enjoyed working for Senator Nelson and on behalf of the great state of Nebraska. Senator Nelson is a great person and a good friend and a wonderful public servant who has always done what he thinks is right for Nebraska. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with him over these past years. I will miss it. You all have been great to work with and I hope we have the opportunity to work together in the future. It will be hard to resist getting involved in Nebraska politics in some way after the last seven years with Senator Nelson.”

Michael Scott Out (Again)

Michael ScottFormer Omaha TV anchor Michael Scott is looking for a job for the third time in less than three years after being let go from Huntsville, Ala., station WAAY.

According to Newsblues.com, a subscription-only service, Scott reportedly called an African American producer the “N” word.

Scott was the ABC affiliate's evening anchor and managing editor who had been at the station since July of 2007.

WAAY newsroom insiders say Scott had been issued several written and verbal warnings by management for his outlandish behavior over the past eight months. According to one station co-worker, Scott "told a female employee she needed to douche, berated a male reporter in the newsroom in front of other staff, and physically hit his co-anchor (Karen Adams) on and off air. Scott was relentless in his attack on her."

Richard Prince's "Journal-isms" column reports that the incident is but the latest censure of the N-word's use in a professional setting.

Scott is a 30-year veteran of the broadcast industry whose well-traveled career includes stops at KETV and KMTV in Omaha, Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Charlotte (for three months) and Kansas City.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Harry Pappas Forced Into Personal Bankruptcy

Harry PappasAccording to an Associated Press story, creditors have forced Harry Pappas into a personal bankruptcy filing -- an unusual move that threatens his efforts to save Pappas Telecasting Companies from financial disaster.

Pappas Telecasting owns Omaha TV stations KPTM and KXVO.

The court filings earlier this week could lead a judge to order the sale of personal property to pay off debt. In their Chapter 7 filing, creditors say Pappas and his wife, Stella, personally guaranteed $30 million of a $284 million loan that Pappas Telecasting secured in March 2006.

Creditors said the $284 million loan was based on an agreement that Pappas would sell enough of his television stations to repay $100 million of the debt. The rest would be paid on what the filing calls "a reasonable schedule."

Pappas Telecasting owes more than $5.8 million to its top 20 creditors. The biggest sum owed, $1.4 million, is to Fox Broadcasting.

Apparently, budget cuts have forced the public relations arm of Pappas Telecasting to shut down as well. The company's website press room has not had a press release posted since December of 2007.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here's That Number Again

Strangely, Ernie Chambers didn't field many phone calls on his public access TV show on Cox Channel 22.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Former KMTV Anchor Gets Ready To Host 'The Mole'

The buzz is growing over Jon Kelley's new job hosting "The Mole."

Kelley is a former sports anchor at KMTV and running back at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who also co-authored a book (with former KPTM sports anchor Tom Zenner) "Breaking Into Broadcasting," a guide to landing one's first (or next) on-air job in television.

The Mole premiers Monday, June 2 at 9 p.m. CST.

According to ABC press materials, Kelley co-hosted "Extra's" one-hour weekend edition and was the show's primary correspondent for the daily show from 2001 through 2007. In December, he co-hosted ABC's "Holiday with the Stars" and just recently co-hosted ABC's "All-star Tribute to Movies" on Oscar Sunday. Kelley's diverse broadcast career has spanned over 15 years in news, sports and entertainment.

Before joining "Extra," Kelley served as the main anchor for the Fox Sports Network's "The National Sports Report," and the lead anchor for the weekly series, "Baseball Today." Prior to Fox, Kelley was the lead sports anchor on the NBC owned-and-operated station WMAQ-TV in Chicago.

During his eight years in Chicago, Kelley was widely regarded as one of the region's top sports anchors and directors, covering the World Championship Bulls in all six of the team's title seasons. In addition to his nightly sportscasts, Kelley hosted the number one rated "Sports Sunday," WMAQ-TV's half-hour, expanded sports highlights program. There he shared the anchor desk with some of the city's most dynamic sports and entertainment personalities, including NBA rebounding star Dennis Rodman and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno. Kelley joined WMAQ-TV as a sports reporter and weekend anchor in April 1991.

While at WMAQ-TV, Kelley was part of a sports team that earned such prestigious awards the Chicago/Midwest Emmy award for producing and anchoring his hour-long special highlighting the Chicago Bulls' quest for a fifth championship. Kelley also received the Peter Lisagor Award for Sports Journalism and an Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award for Best Sportscast.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pappas Telecasting Files For Bankruptcy

From The Weekend Wires:

The largest privately-held commercial broadcast operator in the U.S., Pappas Telecasting Inc., filed for Chapter 11 Saturday with plans to sell its 30 TV stations under bankruptcy court protection.

Pappas cited "the extremely difficult business climate for television stations across the country" in papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The Fresno, Calif.-based company reported in court filings it has more than $536 million in debt and assets of $460 million.

Pappas-owned TV stations in the bankruptcy filing include KPTM-Fox 42 and KXVO-CW 11 in Omaha but not KHGI-NTV in Kearney.

Pappas blamed the "poor ratings of the CW Network" for some of the financial trouble that forced it into bankruptcy. CW Network targets people in the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket with shows like America's Next Top Model and Smallville. It is a property of Time Warner Inc. and CBS Corp. .

A spokeswoman for News Corp. (AU:NWS: news, chart, profile) , which owns Fox, declined to comment. News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of Dow Jones Newswires. Spokesmen for Time Warner and CBS did not respond immediately to requests to comment on the bankruptcy filing.

News of Pappas' financial woes and the credit crisis made it tough for Pappas to find a buyer outside of bankruptcy, court documents say. In the weeks leading up to Saturday's filing, Pappas failed to come to terms with top lenders who are owed $303 million.

Banks led by Fortress Capital Corp. refused to finance an effort to continue to try to sell the company in bankruptcy court. Pappas decided to file for Chapter 11 protection "in an effort to accomplish an orderly sale of the stations as a going concern," court documents say.

Founder and Chief Executive Harry Pappas said he is offering $2 million in bankruptcy financing to fund operations while the company is in Chapter 11.

Analysts have said media and retail companies are among the most vulnerable businesses in the economic downturn, which was triggered by the U.S. housing market decline.

Advertising budgets in furniture, appliance, real estate and related sectors bore the immediate brunt of the housing market downturn, denting revenues at Pappas over the past year, court documents say.

Pappas also said the cost of converting from analog to digital TV broadcasting has weighed on its operating costs, which were already strained by higher energy prices. To gear up for new digital TV requirements, Pappas stations have had to operate duplicate transmission facilities, the company said.

According to a Pappas press release, KPTM, achieved revenue increases for the first quarter of 2008 of 27.9 percent over the same period in 2007, exclusive of any political advertising.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Catching Up With the Duff Man

Most Omahans will remember Dan Duffy for his run as an evening and late-night jock on Z-92 (KEZO 92.3 FM) back in the 1990s. But the radio veteran has been heard on several other stations, including Lincoln’s KFOR-AM and KTGL-FM, where he most recently was on the air.

Duffy, whose first on-air gig was in 1980, was recently a victim of budget cuts and is now working outside of the radio business for the first time since 1986.

We recently caught up with the Duff man, who is now working at First Data, last week for a “where are they now” update.

Can you give me a little history of your radio career? Where did you start?

“My first on air gig was in 1980 at KFOR/Lincoln at the age of 16. Never took radio seriously until my early 20s after working a series of dead end jobs and playing drums in numerous cover bands after high school. I hustled my tail off to gain experience,” Duffy said in an e-mail note.

“KOTD/Plattsmouth 1989-92. KYNN ’92-’95. Z-92 (nights) /KGOR/KTGL (part time). KMGN Flagstaff, Ariz. /KDKB in Phoenix/ WRQC/Minneapolis KILO in Colorado Springs/ KSRX San Antonio and most recently KTGL 92.9 the Eagle in Lincoln.

What’s the worst blooper you’ve had on the radio?

“A few curse words from listeners (before the Janet Jackson FCC situation) – never brought attention to it. It’s live radio, it happens. I left the phone pot up while talking with a buddy one time, it was a 6-7 minute conversation and all of Omaha was listening. Unbelievably, not one F-bomb was dropped. You would think two guys on the phone would eventually drop a swear word (but) it never happened. That was three in the morning.

Who is your favorite Nebraska broadcaster of all time? Who is your favorite broadcaster nationally of all time?

“I don’t really have a favorite but I sure enjoyed listening to Z-92/ KOIL/WOW when I was a long-haired kid in the late ’70s – Rod Meyer, Jimmy O’Neil, Chuck Yates, Joe Blood, Rick Setchell. I had a chance to work with Chuck, Joe and Rick many years later at Z along with Todd and Tyler. What an honor. As a kid growing up in the late ’70s, Yates, Blood, Setchell represented ‘FM rock radio’ in Omaha and had a big influence on me. I apologize if I'm leaving anyone out.

“On a national level, in the field of rock radio: Jim Ladd/KLOS is No. 1. Jim has been a fixture of L.A. radio for nearly 40 years at KMET/ KLOS. The perfect rock-jock. Jim still works nights at KLOS. Jim has a great ear for music ... passionate about rock. I had a chance to interview Jim while working nights in Minneapolis. At the time, circa 1997, a PD buddy of mine worked across town at KLSX and had access to the KLOS hotline. I grew some balls and called the hotline and immediately got a hold of Jim. The interview was great!”

What’s in your CD player right now?

“What’s a CD player? Lol! Gotta copy of the movie ‘Heat’ in my PC. Seriously, Steely Dan’s “AJA” album is never far away ..Black Crowes’ “Amorica” is in my car CD player.”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Geiler Back on the Air

Omaha-based Comedian Matt Geiler (pictured) is hosting a new show on the CW (KXVO-15). Titled “Mix Tape,” the show captures Geiler’s rib-tickling style in a variety of comedy sketches.

“The concept for the show, it’s not a live show, it’s basically some fake music videos from artists that don’t exist, character sketches with music in them, and then there is some crossover into the local music scene,” said Geiler, who is an alum of the prestigious improvisational comedy troupe Second City in Chicago.

“Occasionally, we’ll do a sketch where like Matt Whipkey shows up from Anonymous American, but he’s an ice cream man and he rocks out from behind the ice cream.”

“Mix Tape” airs from 11-11:30 p.m. on Sundays on KXVO.

Becka’s Book Ready For Pre-Order

KFAB talk show host Tom Becka’s first book aims at helping sales people make the big deals by using the skills of an entertainer.

Becka, who was a nationally touring standup comedian before getting into radio, is currently taking pre-orders for “There’s No Business Without the Show: Using Showbiz Skills to Get Blockbuster Sales!” at his Web site, TomBecka.com.

The book, published by Orpheum Brothers Press, is selling for $21.95 and is available for delivery by June 1.

Says David Cottrell, best-selling author of “Monday Morning Leadership” and “Monday Morning Choices”: “Becka gives a stunning performance in this book! It is unique, entertaining and effective as it provides you the trade secrets to give the sales performance of your life. Bravo!”

Becka, host of a weekday show on KFAB (1110 AM) from 4 to 7 p.m., says: “The same techniques that big name performers use to create a following can be used by successful salespeople for blockbuster results.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

KETV Tops Omaha TV News Viewership

There’s no debating it this time.

Whether you measure demographics (be it 25-54 or 18-49), shares or households, KETV-7 is the clear-cut winner in the Omaha TV news race according to the latest Nielsen Media Research ratings.

The ABC affiliate is the most-watched newscast at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

WOWT-6 is a close second in many of those timeslots, while KMTV-3 saw its viewership slip – much like the performance of its parent network, CBS.

KPTM-42 can also consider itself a winner in the ratings period, which was conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 27. The FOX affiliate garnered more than 21,000 viewers for its 9 p.m. newscast – roughly 3,000 more than third-place KMTV drew for its 10 p.m. newscast.

Nielsen’s ratings reflect the viewing habits of more than 407,000 TV households in the Omaha metropolitan area, which includes Douglas, Washington, Cass and Sarpy Counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie County in Iowa. Nielsen surveys viewers in by asking them to write down the station they watched for news in a diary that is returned by mail.

The standard ratings months include February, May, July, and November – with May considered the most important.

KETV’s rise to the top completes a climb that saw it nearly as dominant in the November 2007 ratings period when it was the clear leader at 5 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. and a close second to WOWT at 6 a.m.

At 10 p.m., KETV attracts an audience of more than 59,000 viewers, compared to 54,000 for WOWT and 18,000 for KMTV. At 5 p.m., KETV garners approximately 4,000 viewers more than WOWT and 28,000 more than KMTV. At 6 p.m., the margin between KETV and WOWT is roughly the same, with KMTV lagging about 37,000 viewers behind the front-runner.

KMTV’s troubles at 10 o’clock can be traced to a serious slump for CBS in prime time. The network began the fall season with a 10 percent decline in its total audience from a year ago and a 15 percent drop among viewers ages 18-to 49-year-old. Those numbers led to CBS’ decision to recently cut more than 160 positions at stations it owns and operates around the country (which does not include KMTV).

In the battle of local sports shows broadcast Sunday night at 10:35 p.m., WOWT’s long-running “Sunday Sports Extra” and KMTV’s “Sports Sound Off” are in a virtual dead heat in terms of overall viewers. Each draws about 16,000 viewers.

In the early morning news race, WOWT remains on the heels of KETV – particularly in the 6 a.m. time slot. KETV’s lead is only about 5,000 in overall viewership and close to 4,000 in the key 25-54 demographic.

KMTV’s switch in talent in the mornings – from veteran Mary Williams to Kerri Stowell – hasn’t resulted in better ratings. The station lags far about 18,000 viewers behind KETV at 6 a.m. and 13,000 behind WOWT.

It is a different story for KMTV’s midday news. With a strong lead-in from “The Young and the Restless” and Williams anchoring, KMTV’s noon newscast draws a hefty 21,000-plus viewers. That audience is larger than any of its other newscasts, save for Sunday nights at 10.

KPTM’s 4 p.m. newscast – which only debuted last fall – has been slow to attract viewers, though it is registering in the ratings. WOWT, the only other station to broadcast a newscast in that time slot, is No. 1 in sheer audience size, followed by “Oprah” on KMTV and “Judge Judy.” In demos, “Judge Judy” on KETV is tops, with “Oprah” and WOWT’s 4 p.m. newscast in a virtual tie for second.

Nielsen’s all-important ratings period for May begins April 24 and ends May 21.

--By Sean Weide

Thursday, April 17, 2008

KOOO Revamps Morning Show

Press Release From NRG Media:

Omaha’s new pop rock station, “The Big O”, KOOO-FM is launching its new morning show featuring long-time Omaha broadcaster Allison Steele and radio producer and Nebraska native Tommy O. The talented duo will officially launch April 21st according to Program Director Billy Shears who stated, “Allison and Tommy O will make a dynamic team and bring an enthusiastic voice to morning drive.”

Allison SteeleAllison Steele is a Nebraska Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster having spent 14 years on Omaha Radio at a variety of stations including the former KLTQ-FM. A Minnesota native, Steele was raised on a dairy farm, but dreamed of travel and a career in radio broadcasting. Her successful on-air journey has led her to on-air roles across the Midwest and to the island state as a disc jockey for great radio stations in Colorado, Maine, Ohio and Hawaii. Currently, Steele is the midday host at Mix 101.9FM in Chicago, IL, but she is eager to return home. “I am so thrilled to be returning to Omaha and can’t wait to work with Tommy O. “The Big O” is making such a huge impact on Omaha radio and I am excited to be a part of its growth,” exclaimed Steele.

Tommy O is currently the producer for KQKQ’s Morning Show with Pat and JT. The Nebraska native graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1998 and immediately launched his radio career as the evening disc jockey at KSRZ-FM in Omaha. He joined the KQKQ Morning Show in 2002 providing on-air production elements and entertainment features, coordination of various on-air interviews and station contests. Commenting that he will now be competing against the morning show he once produced, Tommy O stated, “I have learned so much during my six years with Pat and JT that I am ready to launch my own program. Allison and I have great synergy and we can’t wait to get behind the mic and make a positive impact on a city we both know and love. ”

“The Big O” launched in late December 2007 to fill a void in Omaha Radio by providing listeners with an upbeat and artful blend of the greatest pop rock hits of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and today. The station’s name and call letters were designed to evoke the symbolic representation of its hometown, the city of Omaha, with the big “O” as striking as its namesake. The music-intensive station features the voice talents of “Mr. Jay Peterman” (John O’Hurely) from Seinfeld fame and its new local on-air talent lineup includes “The Big O Morning Show with Allison Steele and Tommy O,” middays with long-time Omaha broadcaster Shari Stone and afternoon drive with station Program Director Billy Shears.

Journalism and PR experts, commence your critique...

Monday, April 14, 2008

World-Herald Layoffs

The Omaha World-Herald recently laid off a handful of employees, including veteran Jake Thompson, who had been in the World-Herald’s Washington, D.C., bureau for several years.

Also among those let go, according to sources at the World-Herald: photo assignment editor Craig Chandler, business reporter Mike Avok and graphic designer Sid Jablonski.

Calls to the World-Herald for comment were not returned.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

World-Herald Passes On Revealing Controversial Site

The New Nebraska Network, self-billed as "the state's premiere source of progressive online political commentary and community-building," reveals what many readers of Monday's Omaha World-Herald newspaper were wondering: just what was the URL of that website that offers detailed sex information to teenagers?

The World-Herald story, written by Joseph Morton, reported that several lawmakers in the Midlands thought the site was not appropriate, "both in the graphic detail it provides and the messages it sends on topics such as premarital sex and abortion."

"It's enough to make an old person blush," Rep. Lee Terry (R) told Morton. "If that was in a printed magazine, it would be wrapped (in brown paper) and put behind a counter, and no teens would be allowed to buy it."

After revealing that the site in question is TeenWire.com, New Nebraska Network writes:

"It's a shame the World-Herald would allow the site to be insulted like this without even giving it a name and listing its address. But, then those few young people who read the World-Herald might actually be able to get some real information about safe and responsible sexual health. Of course, we wouldn't want that.

The World-Herald would also be encouraging people to use the internet - something else they're clearly afraid of, if we're to judge based on the ongoing embarrassment they call Omaha.com."

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Sold Out Show

The annual Omaha Press Club Show attracted a sellout crowd of 795 Saturday night at the Mid-America Center.

(Jane Palmer's review in the online edition of the Omaha World-Herald is no longer available.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

City Weekly to Launch Radio Show

The City Weekly newspaper will begin a new show on KKAR (1290 AM) beginning Saturday, April 12.

The show, titled “City Weekend,” will feature an hour of entertainment news and happenings in Omaha each week.

Hosted by the staff of the City Weekly, “City Weekend” will include short interviews with entertainers coming to Omaha, film reviews and concert previews, as well as highlights of the week’s issue of the City Weekly – and much, much more.

Beginning Monday, KKAR will begin running 30-second promos for “City Weekend.” D.L. Hughley will be among the guests on the first show.

"City Weekend," which will air each Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m., replaces cooking show “Come On Into My Kitchen.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scott Voorhees Will Face The Globetrotters

Scott Voorhees, courtesy of KFAB.comKFAB morning talk show host Scott Voorhees will suit up and play basketball Saturday night against the Harlem Globetrotters.

Voorhees elaborated on his roster spot with the Washington Generals - the Globetrotters' perennial opponent that has lost more than 13,000 games - during Wednesday's program. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.

"Are the Globetrotters going to be pulling down my pants and throwing confetti on me," Voorhees asked Washington Generals Owner Red Klotz.

"No, no, no," Klotz said. "You're a fine guest."

Voorhees, who played for Ralston High School, said he's a streaky shooter.

The last time the Washington Generals defeated the Globetrotters was Jan. 5, 1971, in Martin, Tenn., Klotz himself hit the game-winner in overtime in the 100-99 victory.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Journal Star Names New Editor

Michael Nelson is the new editor of the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper.

Publisher John Maher made the announcement today, saying Nelson would begin his new position on April 21.

Nelson comes to Lincoln from the Kansas City Star, where he was the paper's assistant managing editor and has worked for nearly 35 years.

The Journal Star's announcement pointed out his "deep ties" to the state: Nelson graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and he spent his high school years in Omaha, where many of his relatives still live, the paper said.

Monday, March 24, 2008

NCAA Hoops: How Omaha Stacked Up

Kansas City Star reporter Blair Kirkhoff writes that "Omaha and the Qwest Center did it right" in a story assessing the first and second round games Omaha hosted last week.

Steve Sipple, on the Lincoln Journal Star's "Life In The Red" blog, writes "we should count ourselves lucky that Omaha had the wherewithal to build a big-time arena and position itself to play host to the first and second rounds of that little event that tends to transfix us at this time of year."

But Las Vegas Sun reporter Ron Kantowski feels much different about his experience covering hoops in Omaha. In a column titled, "Game for a good time? Not in Nebraska," Kantowski writes that the only thing you get at 1:50 a.m. in Omaha is a cab from the airport."

And don't forget to stop by the blog of Las Vegas freelance photojournalist Louie Traub, whose checks in with a boatload of photos and writes that he is "thankful I get to board a plane and head back to Las Vegas, where I can still get a kick ass steak anytime, with no last call for beer."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NCAA Hoops: What Is Being Written About Omaha

With the Qwest Center Omaha hosting first and second round NCAA Tournament games Thursday and Saturday, Omaha is getting its share of attention from scribes around the nation.

Here's a sample of what they are writing:

J. Brady McCollough of the Kansas City Star, catches up with Omaha's most quoted economist.

The Kansas City Beer Blog says no trip to Omaha is complete for anyone with even a passing interest in good beer without going to the Upstream Brewery.

Tim Griffin of ESPN.com writes that Omaha hasn't had this much star power "since Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates were filming 'About Schmidt' here a few years ago."

"Amid railroad tracks, slabs of beef, Warren Buffett's mansion and any other local characteristics worth mentioning, two wonderful freshman players will showcase their skills," writes columnist Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle relates his five-hour drive to Omaha with three others in a rented Ford Expedition on "Bob's Blog."

Las Vegas freelance photographer Louie Traub writes that he "missed the memo that bars close at 1 a.m." Check out his photo-plentiful post here.

And even Omaha World-Herald reporter Dane Stickney touches on a few city and state stereotypes in "The Elite Eight things to do in Omaha."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tom Becka Becomes Ordained Minister

KFAB (1110 AM) afternoon talk show host and Omaha City Weekly columnist Tom Becka is now an ordained minister.

On his program and his Myspace.com page Tuesday, Becka revealed that he has joined the Universal Life Church and became an ordained minister.

"A friend asked me to officiate at his wedding," Becka said. "I am now legal to perform weddings in all 50 states."

New York Times Features Omaha's Film Streams

Decide for yourself whether an account for the New York Times of Omaha's new Film Streams two-theater cinema casts the city in a favorable light.

"When Omaha Met Cinema," was written by Eric Konigsberg and published in weekend editions of the New York Times.

Konigsberg moved away from Omaha to attend high school and college on the East Coast, but his parents still reside in Midtown. An accomplished writer for several publications, Konisgsberg's recent book, "Blood Relation," is an account of his great uncle, Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg, who was a vicious Mafia enforcer currently serving a life sentence in prison.

Writes Konigsberg:

"When I grew up there, in the 1970s and ’80s, Omaha was a great place to live if you were interested in insurance, softball leagues, college football, steak or hamburgers.

I took an interest in a great many of those things (the exceptions being softball and insurance). But my parents, transplanted New Yorkers, were under-stimulated — particularly my film-buff mother, who lamented the tendency of local moviehouses to decline (as “foreign films”) most anything that didn’t star Henry Fonda or Benji."


Omaha photographer (and former UNO Gateway staffer) Chris Machian shot the photo that accompanies the article.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Catching Up With ‘Allison Steele’

From our “Where are the now?” file: Renee DuBay.

Omahans will remember DuBay (pictured) better known as Allison Steele, who was on the air here under that name for 14 years before joining the Mix (WTMX-FM) in Chicago in 2006.

DuBay, her real name, perhaps had her most popular run as midday and afternoon host on Z-92 (KEZO-FM), where she also served as music director. DuBay was also Allison Steele on the now-defunct City (KCTY-FM), Star 104.5 FM and Q-98 (KQKQ 98.5 FM).

When she decided to try Chicago, DuBay sold “Everything she owned,” including her car, and decided to go by her given name.

“Some family members and friends thought I was nuts for leaving a comfortable existence at Q-98.5 for part-time work in Chicago,” DuBay recalled. “I always had the dream ever since I was a 16-year-old of working in a Top 10 radio market and I was going to market No. 3. I was single, no kids, if I was going to do it, it was time.”

DuBay started working one day a weekend, then two days, and later filled in for full-timers.

“It was hard for many months,” she said. “I wondered if I'd made the wrong decision but hung in there because I believed and many others believed this dream was going to happen.”

Back in Omaha, managers at Lite 101.9 (now the Big O, KOOO-FM) needed someone to fill in for Shari Stone while she was on maternity leave. DuBay agreed to fill in, and an epic commute was under way.

“In early January ’07 I started flying between Chicago and Omaha,” DuBay said. “I would fly to Omaha on Sunday night after my air shift on the Mix. I'd work in Omaha Monday through Friday. I'd fly back to Chicago on Friday night to work at the Mix Saturdays and Sundays. I did that for seven weeks.”

DuBay was eventually offered a full-time midday gig with the Mix in Chicago.

“I’ve got to meet a ton of celebrities because I follow such a successful morning show (Eric and Kathy),” she said. “I’ve also got to see many great shows at many great venues here in Chicago. My favorites: Bon Jovi and Daughtry at Allstate Arena, Pat Monahan at the House of Blues, and Linkin Park at Midwest Amphitheater.”

No husband or kids yet for DuBay. However, she does have a boyfriend in her life. But she hasn’t replaced her car.

“I take a cab to work every morning which costs me $9, including tip,” DuBay said. “It takes me 12 minutes to get to work in the morning and it takes me right down the Magnificent Mile. I love cruising over the Chicago River and looking east and west every day.”

There’s obviously a lot more to see in Chicago – “It’s the most entertaining city I’ve ever lived in,” says DuBay – but the on-air personality still misses Omaha.

“I was so blessed to stay in my career in Omaha for 14 years,” said DuBay. “I would be lying if I said that I didn't miss Omaha. It’s a friendlier place to live. You know your neighbors, etc. Life is more simple, not noisy, and I can dress for fashion and not for the elements. It’s nice to get in a car and have heat and air conditioning.

“I miss being able to accommodate lots of people in my home for dinner, games and such. I miss having a fenced in backyard with a dog, bird feeders and other animals, like deer in my (old) neighborhood, and being able to barbecue.”

DuBay, a native of Minnesota, gets back to Omaha every three or four months, she said. And the next time you make it to Chicago, DuBay recommends Shaw’s Crab House, “the best restaurant experience I've ever enjoyed.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From The Notebook

Last Call for OPC Journalism Contest Entries
Entries for the Omaha Press Club's Excellence in Journalism Awards competition are due Monday, March 17 at 2 p.m.

The awards contest annually recognizes excellent writing, design and photography. Categories include TV, radio, public relations, magazine, still photography and print. A new category this year recognizes "Best Blog."

The awards will be presented at a banquet May 29 at Joslyn Castle.

Entry forms are available for download here.

KVSS Expanding Broadcast Reach
Omaha Catholic radio station KVSS (88.9 FM) is making plans for a multi-million dollar expansion that will increase its broadcast reach to nearly 1.2 million people.

The nine-year-old station currently reaches 662,000 people within a 50-mile radius of Omaha. The planned expansion is expected to cost $3.5 million - of which $1 million has already been raised.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'Empire' Strikes Again

As longtime darlings of Omaha radio, Todd Brandt and Mike Tyler continue to branch out with their Omaha-based morning radio show. The duo, which originates from Z-92 (KEZO-FM), has been simulcasting its 5:30-10 a.m. weekday show to stations in Wichita, Kan., and Springfield, Mo., since Nov. 2006. This week, the popular No. 1-rated duo (in the Omaha market) announced an agreement with Envision Radio Networks, a syndication specialist with offices in Cleveland and New York City.

Envision calls Todd and Tyler’s show “an engaging highly customizable syndicated morning show targeting 25-54 year old men.

“From news to love advice, politics to sports and everything in between, the conversation is smart, real and irresistible to men and women alike.”

“Envision will be the syndication company that we are working with to offer the (Todd and Tyler) show to other stations around the country,” said Steve Wexler, executive vice president of television and radio operations for the Journal Broadcast Group, which owns Z-92 and the stations in Wichita and Springfield.

Wexler said that will include airing Todd and Tyler on radio stations not owned by the Journal Broadcast Group.

Said T&T: “After 15 years together, we’re very excited to be on board with Envision Radio Networks as we take the next step. We knew Envision was the best partner we could have to launch us into national syndication.”

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Former CW Co-owner Goes to NRG

Former City Weekly co-owner Andy Ruback is settling into his new gig as general manager of NRG Media’s Lincoln radio stations: KLIN-AM, KBBK-FM, KFGE-FM, KLNC-FM and KWBE-AM.

Before helping launch the City Weekly in 2004, Ruback was national sales manager for Clear Channel's Lincoln and Omaha properties and was general sales manager for KGOR-FM and KRQC-FM in Omaha.

The City Weekly was sold to City Media Group last March.

City Weekly Moves Into New Offices

The City Weekly newspaper has moved into a recently remodeled building at 5015 Dodge St. The weekly news and entertainment publication previously had its offices at 1307 Leavenworth St.

Interestingly, the new office is directly across the street from the City Weekly’s first office, which it occupied at 5008 Dodge St. from Feb. 2004 to Jan. 2005.

Also across the street from the CW now is NRG Media’s Omaha radio stations. And just up the road a handful of blocks away at 5010 Underwood Ave. are the studios for Clear Channel’s Omaha stations.

Kugler Going to Final Four

Kevin Kugler, co-host of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on Omaha’s the Zone (KOZN 1620 AM), has been named the play-by-play voice for the national radio broadcasts of the NCAA Men’s Final Four and the Men’s National Championship Basketball game on the NCAA-Westwood One Radio Network.

Kugler, a four-time winner of the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year (2003-2006), is in his second season as Westwood One's lead play-by-play announcer for its NCAA basketball coverage. For the Final Four broadcast he will be joined by former Seton Hall head basketball coach Bill Raftery, who is in his 17th year as Westwood One college basketball analyst and by former Georgetown head basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member John Thompson.

The Final Four broadcasts are scheduled for April 5 at 4 and 7:30 p.m. with the National Championship set for April 7 at 7 p.m. from the Alamodome in San Antonio.

“U.C.” airs weekdays 2-6 p.m. on the Zone, with co-host Mike’L Severe.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

‘Morganizing’ the Virgin Islands


We’re going to be tracking down former Omaha on-air personalities in the coming weeks for a where are they now-type of series. Up first, a former KGOR 99.9 FM) morning show host who was recently accused of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Roger W. Morgan, who made his “Morganizing” prank phone calls a staple on his Omaha morning shows, now is the owner/operator of WYAC-FM in Christiansted, U. S. Virgin Islands.

Last year, the Federal Communication Commission dismissed a bid by a coalition of Virgin Islands senators and citizens to deny the transfer of the WAYC-FM broadcasting license to Morgan. Morgan had run the station for four years, and the FCC ultimately sided with Morgan.

“We own it ... finally,” Morgan said this week. “It was a long battle in which I was accused of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan! I was also accused of trying to overthrow the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Morgan said the island’s senators were angry because the on-air personality allowed callers to discuss their (the senators’) “outrageous raises at a time when the kids here are living under the federal poverty line and not enjoying the kind of education that our taxpayers try to provide for them.”

Morgan said he’s hosting a 6-9 a.m. morning show similar to the one he did on KGOR in the 1990s. Then, from 9 a.m. to noon, Morgan hosts “Free Speech,” in which callers are encouraged to call in and voice their opinions.

Asked if he missed the winters in Omaha, Morgan said: “As much as I still think of Omaha as being ‘home,’ and as much as I would enjoy visiting, even during ice and snowstorms, I can’t imagine life anywhere but in this paradise. Year-round, the high temp is about 83 and nighttime lows are about 78. Gentle morning rain showers and light trade winds in the afternoon. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Death of R-O-C-K in Omaha?

When the latest report from the Arbitron radio ratings service came out at the end of last month many longtime rock radio listeners in Omaha no doubt did a double take.

Heritage rock and roll gorilla Z-92 (KEZO-FM), launched in 1978, had been overtaken by 2-year-old rock station the Brew (96.1 KQBW-FM) in the broadest demographic of listeners available, during the Fall 2007 rating period.

Listeners 12 and older, Monday through Sunday 6 a.m. to midnight, chose the Brew – a 4.2 share to a 3.9 share – over Z-92.

Sure, advertisers seek specific demos, such as the coveted adults 25- to 54-year-old group, but the 12-plus result is significant nonetheless.

While the Brew led Omaha’s rock stations, the Brew was No. 8 with listeners 12 and older overall. The top three stations were, in order: News-talk KFAB (1110 AM), country station the Kat (KXKT 103.7 FM) and oldies KGOR (99.9 FM).

Two of the Omaha market’s other rock stations were lagging as well. New station the Big O (KOOO 101.9 FM), a light rock station that went on the air two months ago, came in at No. 10 (behind No. 9 Z-92). Meanwhile, longtime classic rock station CD-105.9 (KKCD-FM) was No. 12.

So where has the rock gone on commercial stations in Omaha? Are their too many rock stations sharing the same play list, with the same usual suspects – the Eagles, the Police, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Journey, Bryan Adams, John Mellencamp, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, etc.?

“Yawn,” seems to be the response from local listeners.

The River (89.7 FM), a non-commercial station based out of Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, plays a lot of modern rock and has respectable ratings. However, scoring good ratings and selling advertising based upon those ratings is not the main goal for non-commercial stations like it is for commercial stations.

The biggest story in this latest report for Omaha’s commercial rock stations is that the once-mighty Z-92 appears to be slipping. Z-92 has beaten all of the other rock stations consistently in recent years, including the past five ratings periods. But from Fall 2006 to Fall 2007, Z-92 went from having a 7.1 share of the 12-plus market to a 3.9 share.

It could be a fluke, and likely is. I expect Z-92 to bounce back in the next ratings period. Maybe not to the station’s glory days, but certainly better than a 3.9 share.

"Over the years, there has been plenty of rock competition for Z-92. That's nothing new," said Steve Wexler, executive vice president of television and radio operations for the Journal Broadcast Group, which owns Z-92. "They seem to show up every couple years then disappear. There's not much to 'tweak' on Z-92. We know that our audience expects us to play everything that rocks...they expect to start their day with Todd and Tyler in the morning...and they expect fun, larger-than-life contests and promotions, like the 'Todd and Tyler Party Plane to Vegas,' which starts next month. That hasn't changed and won't change. As for the Fall ratings, we've learned over the years not to pay much attention to the occasional 'down' ratings book. I can tell you that we're extremely happy with Z-92's performance and it's continued dominance."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sharpe Is Huskers' New Football Play-by-Play Man

Tuesday's hiring announcement of Greg Sharpe as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's footbal and baseball play-by-play announcer ends months of speculation about who would replace Jim Rose.

Sharpe is a two-time Kansas Sportscaster of the Year who was the play-by-play voice of Kansas State football and basketball from 1996 to 2002. A press release from the Husker Sports Network said he will continue to work as an announcer for Fox Sports Net in addition to his hosting duties for the Nebraska football and baseball TV coaches' shows.

He most recently has served as the Director of Operations at WIBW, where he has overseen a staff of 52, making programming decisions and assisting with sales accounts, marketing efforts and station promotions.

Sharpe is a native of Olathe, Kan.

'Unsportsmanlike Conduct' Conducts Super Tuesday Stadium Poll

KOZN (1620 AM) afternoon sports talk show "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" used a poll Tuesday afternoon to gauge listener interest in the debate over renovation of Rosenblatt Stadium and the desire to build a new baseball station in North Downtown Omaha.

The "Super Tuesday" poll offered five choices of action:

-Approve of building a new stadium in NoDo, using public funds as needed to provide for the cost.

- Approve of building a new stadium in NoDo, provided no public dollars are used to fund said stadium.

- Omaha should rebuild Rosenblatt at its current location, provided no public dollars are used to fund the rebuild of the said stadium.

- Omaha should rebuild Rosenblatt at its current location, using public funds as needed to provide for the cost.

- Omaha should neither build a new stadium nor rebuild Rosenblatt.

Results of the non-scientific poll were being shared with listeners throughout Tuesday's program.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Matt Perrault Fires Back At Jim Rose

Matt Perrault, courtesy of BigSports590.comKXSP (590 AM) afternoon sports talk show host Matt Perrault spent time Thursday responding to the article published in this week's Media Watch column in the latest edition of the Omaha City Weekly.

During the 3 p.m. hour of "The Big Show," Perrault said he "doesn't really like Jim Rose," and shared with listeners the story of a lunch the two had at the Ironwood Country Club a few weeks after Perrault arrived in Omaha in April of 2005.

"I remember calling my ex-girlfriend right after that and I said, 'I've just had the most ridiculous lunch with the most pretentious man I've ever met in my life,'" Perrault said. "From that moment on, I just (said) Jim Rose and I will not get along."

Perrault said he has not spoken to Rose recently, but the two have crossed paths - including once during "a funny night" at a bar in Downtown Omaha.

"It was literally like 'Anchorman' where you had all the KFAB people on one side and all the Big Sports 590 people on the other," he said. "I felt like we were going to have a brawl."

Perrault took issue with Rose's assertion that the former Husker football play-by-play man has received more than 3,000 e-mails of support and that "The Big Show" has not received 3,000 e-mails since it debuted nearly three years ago.

"I probably get a thousand e-mails in a week," Perrault said. "Why would you even try to crack back on a dumb statement like that? There's no need for that. It makes you look stupid."

Although he didn't elaborate on his sources, Perrault stuck to his story that Greg Sharpe will be the new play-by-play voice of the Nebraska football team.

"We can all start fresh," he said. "Callahan's gone. Pederson's gone and Jim Rose is gone. It's a win, win, win for everyone."

Big show Co-host Travis Justice joined Perrault later on Thursday's show and called Rose's statement about not knowing Bo Pelini's wife, Mary Pat, a lie. But he was also quick to say that it wasn't really an issue.

"That's a lie because I watched him go in and say hi (at the press conference to announce Pelini's hiring as head coach)," Justice said. "I don't care if he went in to say hi. Keep in mind that there's a relationship there between those two. During Bo's time as head coach the first time around, Jim was the voice there. Jim hosted the TV show. Jim was on the road with them down at the Alamo Bowl."

Justice said he likes Rose and has never had a problem with him.

"Sometimes you (referring to Perrault) and I get mixed up," Justice said. "I don't care what you think about Jim. But I've known him for the 14 years that I've been here. I've never had a problem with him. I like Jim. Every time that we see each other we say hi and have some conversation. I didn't think I attacked him, personally."

Listen to the "The Big Show" segments regarding Rose here: 3 p.m. hour, Part I, 3 p.m. hour, Part II, 4 p.m. hour.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rose Responds to Perrault, Justice

Big Sports 590 AM talk show hosts Matt Perrault and Travis Justice spent part of a show last week discussing former Nebraska football play-by-play announcer Jim Rose, claiming Rose wanted his job back.

Last November, with three games left in the Husker football season, Rose quit his job as play-by-play caller, a job he had done the previous six years. Rose said he was stepping down for personal reasons, including spending more time with his family. He continues to co-host the KFAB (1110 AM) morning show, as well as sell advertising for Pinnacle Sports, which has the rights to Huskers sports on the radio.

Perrault and Justice questioned Rose’s reasons for quitting his play-by-play job during last week’s show. An excerpt:

Perrault: There’s a rumor going around that Jim Rose is trying to get his job back.

Justice: I’ve heard that one.

Perrault: So it’s not surprising.

Justice: It doesn’t surprise me at all.

Perrault: What I’ve heard is that he wants his job back and he won’t give up the sales angle.

Justice: That’s true. … Jim protected himself by saying that he had anxiety problems and he missed his family and all that stuff. Which part of it may have been true. But I think in the end he thought he was going to get fired. And then he realized after he quit that he wasn’t going to get fired. Don’t forget, when Bo Pelini was hired he (Rose) gets down there and runs into the suite and wants to talk with Bo’s wife and Bo one-on-one. Jim and I get along all right; I don’t have a problem with Jim. But I think he jumped the gun on this one. He should have never quit in the first place.

Rose said this week that he was glad that he could provide fodder for Perrault’s and Justice’s show.

“I’m glad to be of service to those guys because they’re having trouble coming up with topics that people care about. If what they suggest is true then that would make everything that I said on the air back in November a big fat lie. And I can assure you, I have discussed returning to the broadcast booth with no one because it’s not my intention. If they were firing me, why would I continue to be on KFAB and why would I continue to work out here (Pinnacle)?”

As for rushing to talk with Bo Pelini’s wife, Rose said, “I wouldn’t know Mary Pat Pelini if she sat down in my lap.

“I think it’s hilarious that these guys have found nothing more insightful to talk about in the world of sports than the comings and goings of a former play-by-play announcer.

“I received over 3,000 e-mails from people all over the world thanking me for the job I did … Now, I don’t think that radio show (Perrault/Justice, 2-6 p.m. weekdays) has gotten 3,000 e-mails since it went on the air.

“I don’t care what they think. They don’t know what they’re talking about. And I’m a little bit offended that they are basically calling me a liar.

“I didn’t have to leave the job when I did. And I have no interest in returning.”

Time For Sweeps

Get ready for a barrage of cross-promotion, radio advertisements and "special investigations." Today marks the start of the Nielsen Media Research TV ratings month.

KMTV-3 reporter Mary Williams made the rounds on Journal Broadcast Group-owned stations this morning, inviting listeners to tune in tonight to "Take the bully test."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Corn, Crop Circle Highlight Omaha 'Idol' Episode

Reaction to Omaha's appearance on "American Idol" Tuesday night was mixed.

Some were happy to see the city get its moment in the spotlight, while others were dismayed at the stereotypical images of corn that are more often associated with the state itself.

Swanson Russell Associates Public Relations Manager Jennifer Windrum told listeners of KFAB's "Good Morning Show" Wednesday that Swanson Russell worked closely with the show's producers to showcase the entire city - in addition to the "American Idol" crop circle Swanson Russell helped create.

"In a sense, we added to the corn," Windrum said. "But we tried to mix (agriculture) with the modern. But we knew they couldn't come here and not show corn."

Windrum said the AI production crew wanted shots of things viewers would recognize - Mutual of Omaha, the Henry Doorly Zoo, etc. - but that not everything made the show.

"We made an itinerary for them and we had four hours with them," Windrum said. "But the rain really hampered things. The day they were shooting it was rainy, so we had to change plans."

One of the original goals of the project - to get show host Ryan Seacrest on a Claas LEXIONClaas LEXION Combine - didn't happen, Windrum said.

"We got them out to the Claas facility but it was raining and they wanted a combine in action," she said.

The crop circle came off much better, despite the rain and a short timetable to get it made.

"Once we mentioned that to the producers, we had two weeks to do it," Windrums aid. "We hired a company from Utah called The MAIZE and they mapped it out with a GPS. The 'Welcome to Omaha' part was hand-carved with machetes.

Swanson Russell's website features a "making of" video of the crop circle. Windrum and SRA Public Relations Associate (and former KETV reporter) Laura Liggett (pictured above) are shown helping cut the crop circle.

Voorhees Wants Your Opinion

KFAB (1110 AM) morning talk show host Scott Voorhees is inviting listeners to cast their vote for the impression left by Tuesday's American Idol episode.

The choices are: "Too much corn, but that's ok," "Too much corn, and that's ignorant," Who cares about the corn? We were featured on the #1 show!," and "I didn't watch it."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When An Embargo Isn't Honored

There's a story behind the massive crop circle that will be shown on tonight's episode of "American Idol."

Media outlets were alerted about the circle and how it came about through an embargoed press release from the Omaha office of advertising agency Swanson Russell Associates. But not everyone agreed to the embargo that was to have held the details until after tonight's Omaha-centric episode airs on KPTM-42 at 7 p.m.

Judith Siers-Poisson, who contributes to PR Watch.org, a blog that is part of the Center for Media and Democracy, publishes the entire text of the press release and photos that were sent out by Swanson Russell Public Relations Manager Jennifer Windrum.

Siers-Poisson writes:

Unfortunately for Ms. Windrum, this incentive means nothing to us. I emphatically do not want to keep getting her emails, and neither I nor CMD has ever promised to honor an "embargo" on what is essentially unsolicited spam... Now, I know this is far from an earthshaking story. To be honest, I just got annoyed past the point of politeness. And hopefully, PR "pros" will learn to not send unsolicited emails -- especially embargoed information -- to PR industry watchdogs.


What follows in the comments section is a back-and-forth exchange between Siers-Poisson and Windrum that might have been better handled as a private phone call between the two parties.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Former World-Herald Building Will Be Razed

The Omaha World-Herald's former headquarters at "World-Herald Square" (14th & Dodge) will be torn down and replaced by a park, according to a story in the newspaper's Saturday editions.

The land eventually may feature more than a planned plaza, said World-Herald CEO and President Terry Kroeger. The building is expected to be torn down this spring and the park in place by fall.

“This is an important piece of land for our company, as it literally sits between our primary offices at the Omaha World-Herald Building and our manufac turing plant at the Freedom Center,” Kroeger said. “Therefore, long-term control of this property is critical.”

The World-Herald moved out of the building in 2006.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In This Week's Edition...

There’s a shift in power at the top of the TV ratings in Omaha.

Read more about how the Omaha TV stations fared in the latest Nielsen Media Research ratings in this week's edition of the Omaha City Weekly.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bill Randby Quoted In World-Herald Story

For the first time in a long time, the Omaha World-Herald reached out to a TV station for information.

KETV-7 Chief Meteorologist Bill Randby is quoted in Saturday's editions of the newspaper in a story headlined, "Forecasting winter weather an inexact science."

Reporters Michael Avok and Tom Shaw provided direct quotes from Randby in the front page, above-the-fold story. They also sourced weather forecasts for Sunday from two other Omaha TV stations, KMTV and WOWT.

KPTM's forecast was not referenced even though it was posted online immediately after the station's 9 p.m. newscast. (In it, Chief Meteorologist Tyson Pearsall called for 2-4 inches of snow on Sunday.)

According to the newspaper story, the World-Herald's weather consulting service, AccuWeather, calls for 2-4 inches of snow on Sunday. KMTV and KETV forecasts agree with that total, while WOWT predicted a "60 to 70 percent chance" of snowfall. The Weather Channel forecast also calls for that same snowfall percentage while the National Weather Service forecast office in Valley predicts 1-3 inches of snow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Omaha World-Herald Gets Cruiser Camera Video

The Omaha World-Herald's online portal, Omaha.com, offers Omaha Police cruiser camera video of a pursuit that occurred in November 2006.

The video was released following Wednesday's sentencing of Robert Carter, the man being pursued by police after a string of three robberies in less than 15 minutes. Carter shot at officers several times during the 20-minute chase, which ends with one police cruiser crashing into a pond.

The accompanying story, published in the newspaper's print and online editions, doesn't do the video justice, though veteran reporter Todd Cooper gives it his best shot.

Following departmental policy, Omaha Police do not routinely release cruiser camera video. Public information officers say it is considered "evidence in an ongoing investigation" and thus does not meet the guidelines for release as stated by the state's open public records law.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Changes at KETV

From a press release issued by KETV-Channel 7 Monday afternoon:

“Viewers tuning in to KETV NewsWatch 7 at 10 on Sunday night were greeted by a new Anchor team. Rob McCartney and Brandi Petersen along with Chief Meteorologist Bill Randby and Sports Anchor Matt Schick will now provide more complete coverage to viewers every Sunday night at 10.

“In addition to Anchoring the Sunday 10 p.m. news, Brandi Petersen is joining Julie Cornell as Co-Anchor of KETV NewsWatch 7 at 5 on Monday, January 7. Most recently Brandi was Co-Anchor of KETV NewsWatch 7 First News Weekend. Julie Cornell and Rob McCartney will continue to Co-Anchor KETV NewsWatch 7 and 6 and 10.

“’This change allows KETV to continue to have a strong Anchor team on our 5 p.m. newscast, while freeing up Rob McCartney to do more investigative reporting,’” according to KETV News Director Rose Ann Shannon.

“Rob McCartney will now lead KETV NewsWatch 7’s investigative ‘I-Team.’ Rob has won numerous broadcast journalism awards and adding him to the I-Team allows KETV to highlight one of his strengths. ‘My first love in television is reporting,’ said Rob McCartney. ‘Leading KETV’s I-Team allows me to focus on more stories that impact the heartland.’”

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Notes From The Omaha Press Club

The Omaha Press Club's annual poke at public figures and news events will be titled "Rosensplatt...And Other Foul Bawls" and takes place Saturday, March 29, at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.

The annual read-through for cast, band and crew will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Press Club. Members wishing to be involved with the show who cannot attend the Read-Thru should e-mail Kurt Keeler (kurtykee(at)msn(dot)com.

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The Press Club’s annual meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the meeting at 6 p.m. Officers and directors will be elected at the meeting and all members are invited to attend. If you are unable to attend, a proxy ballot can be found in this month's newsletter, which is being mailed this week.

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The Press Club's fifth annual Excellence in Journalism Awards competition opens Monday. The competition honors the outstanding work of media professionals in several categories.

New this year is the "Journalists of Excellence Hall of Fame Award," which will be presented at the Excellence in Journalism Awards banquet on Thursday, May 29.

Contest entry forms are available for download here. Deadline to enter is March 17.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Maddox Voted 'Hottest Newswoman' On Big Sports 590

Malorie Maddox, Courtesy of Gray TVMalorie Maddox, weekday morning news anchor at WOWT-6, topped Brandi Petersen of KETV-7 in the third annual "Hottest Newswoman of the Year" call-in poll on "The Big Show with Matt Perrault" on KXSP (590 AM).

In voting on Monday's program, Maddox narrowly edged out Petersen, who was the winner of the 2006 contest. Maddox won in 2005 and later appeared on the show to accept her prizes, something Petersen did not the following year (at the request of KETV management).

Maddox recently won the NebraskaInfoWomen Yahoo! Group poll, which asked which Omaha TV weekday morning female anchor did the best job.

Click here to listen to the final voting.