Cheril Lee

News Director

My broadcasting career began in the most unlikely of places…Okinawa, Japan.  I was interviewed one afternoon while I was in college and, on a lark, I asked if the TV station needed any volunteers.  They said they could use a weather person who would stick around for at least six months.  Two auditions and one meeting later, I was in front of the cameras Monday through Friday night, giving the weather forecast for the island. 

Did I mention that FEN was the ONLY American TV station on the island?  Well, let’s just say that I got to know what being a celebrity was like, really quickly.  Since I was the only civilian on an all-military newscast, I stood out just a little bit.  It was one of the best times of my life and I worked with eight different news anchors.  This taught me that every broadcaster has a different way of approaching the craft. 

After Japan, I made my way back across the ocean, by way of plane, to the great state of Mississippi.  While there, I anchored daily newscasts at a local station, Northland Cable News.  The station was located in Starkville, the home of Mississippi State University.  While there, I got to attend football games in the press box, which was quite cool until the day they tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that cheering was not allowed in the press box.  Oops.  Again, I learned a little something about retaining one’s professionalism in every situation. 

While in Mississippi, I also made appearances on other TV stations’ breakfast and lunch time shows, usually talking to the hosts about various plays I was appearing in onstage.

My next broadcasting gig was right here in Omaha at KVNO, Classical 90.7 where I became the News Director in 2000.  I remember that my first day was right in the middle of a fund drive.  The Program Director asked me if I wanted to jump in and pitch and I thought, “What the heck is pitching?”  I deferred, telling him I’d participate in the next one.  And participate I did.  While I was there, I did more than 20 fund drives.  Additionally, I anchored several daily newscasts, wrote, produced and delivered the Arts at 8:30 and at the end, hosted a two-hour on-air shift in addition to my other duties.  I learned a lot about classical composers, including the correct pronunciation of Dvorak.

After a decade at KVNO, I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree at UNO, so I left the station to take classes.  But it wasn’t long before the siren song of public radio lured me back.  I started working for KIOS in January of 2010 as a news anchor, reporter and on-air host.  The Saturday morning programs are among my favorites and I love talking with listeners who are as passionate about public radio as I am.

When I’m not talking on the airwaves, I love to act in community theatre productions, rock out to concerts and write.  Traveling has always been a passion of mine.  I’ve been to several countries, including Italy, Japan, Albania, Slovenia, England and my personal favorite, Ireland.  Up next, are the Dominican Republic, France and Scotland. 

Ever the optimist, you will usually hear a smile in my voice when I’m hosting.  It is my goal to be good company as you move through your day.  

Ways to Connect

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska is offering the first financial support program in the University of Nebraska system for doctoral students centered on early childhood education.

The Joslyn Art Museum is currently presenting the children’s exhibit, William Joyce: Guardian of Childhood, in the Mind’s Eye Gallery.

The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, February 9th from 11:30 to 1 at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

A collaboration between researchers from UNMC and the University of Memphis recently published an article in the American Journal of Men’s Health.

UNO is presenting two exhibits meant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Harry Duncan’s birth.

ArtStock is a grant and capacity building initiative of the Peter Kiewit Foundation.

The “2016 in 2016 Enrollment Campaign” is an effort to enroll or renew more than 2000 people in health care coverage this month.

After taking a year off for ramp construction, The Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show returns to Offutt Air Force Base July 30th and 31st.

United Way of the Midlands is winding down its Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Service this weekend.

The Nebraska State Patrol recently received a grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety.

The annual Kids Count in Nebraska Report was released today. The report looks at five areas of child well-being: health, education, child welfare, juvenile justice and economic stability.

During the Corps’ monthly call with media, Jody Farhat, Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, gave an update on current reservoir operations. 

Researchers from UNO’s Office of Latino/Latin American Studies recently released a report focused on the demographic makeup of Latinos throughout the city of Omaha.

ACCESSNebraska’s timeliness in processing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program applications has earned them a ranking of 32nd nationally out of 53.

The Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle native to Asia first showed up in the US in 2002 in Michigan.

The WATER exhibition at KANEKO opens February 5th and runs through April 23rd.

Omaha Public Schools is taking over the management of the SummerWorks program, which was previously run by UNO.

Heartland Hope Mission provides more than just food.  They also offer clothing, hygiene and special holiday programs as well as financial classes and job information.

“The Way We Worked” is a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street Exhibition that traces changes that have affected the workforce over the past 150 years.

The Heartland Hope Mission saw a 43% increase in families served during their Thanksgiving turkey distribution.

Thanks to a major donation from Ruth and Bill Scott, UNMC will expand its current Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.

Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance recently received a $15,000 grant from the Fund for Omaha through the Omaha Community Foundation.

Not many people are aware that a small lab in Nebraska is at the forefront of 3D printing prosthetic evolution.

The Women’s Fund of Omaha, a member of Prosperity Together, recently announced they will take part in a five-year, $100 million dollar initiative that will fund programs to promote economic security among women.

“Military Times” has named UNO the best four-year university in the nation for military friendliness for the second year in a row.

David Brown is the President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. Brown spoke at this month’s Press Club Noon Forum.

The Open Enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace is underway and runs through January 31, 2016.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Agency is currently offering an online survey to obtain public input on its long range transportation plan.

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