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 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 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.