Cheril Lee

Reporter/Anchor

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.  

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General News
5:06 am
Thu April 5, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama will Speak at Girls, Inc. Luncheon

First Lady Michelle Obama
Courtesy of ezinemark.com

Girls Inc. of Omaha will hold its 12th Annual Lunch for the Girls on Tuesday, April 24th at the CenturyLink Center.

First Lady Michelle Obama will give the keynote address at this year’s event.  Roberta Wilhelm is the Executive Director for Girls, Inc.  

She says the girls will present a special video in support of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.

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General News
5:06 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Omaha's 2012 Earth Day set for April 21st

The city’s largest ecological celebration takes place Saturday, April 21st in Elmwood Park from 11 to 6.  Dennis Bryars is the Chairperson for the event.  

He says they hope to show people ways they can live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.  Bryars says there will be between 75 to 100 exhibitors taking part in Earth Day Omaha.

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General News
5:06 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Nebraska's Long Range Transportation Plan Available for Comment

The Nebraska Department of Roads has posted a draft of Vision 2032, the state’s new long-range transportation plan.

The public is encouraged to review the plan and make comments through May 11th.  Spokesperson Mary Jo Oie says the department has been working on the plan for months. 

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Arts
5:06 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Experimental Percussionist visits the Bemis Center

Experimental percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani performs at the Bemis Center Saturday, April 7th.

Joel Damon, Underground Curator, says Nakatani plays a traditional gong with a bow.  He says it creates an atmospheric sound that can be felt and experienced on multiple levels. 

Damon says Nakatani also plays singing bowls, and uses cymbals in new ways.  He says the Bemis is always interested in performers and artists who may not fit comfortably within traditional concert venues.

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General News
5:06 am
Wed March 28, 2012

The Omaha Public Library Celebrates Another Record-Breaking Year

Last year, more than 2.4 million people visited the 12 Omaha Public Library branches.

Executive Director Gary Wasdin says the libraries continued to see every measurable aspect of use going up in 2011. 

Though people still use the libraries for books and reading, Wasdin says residents are often surprised to find out just how much more there is to find and do in the library.

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General News
5:06 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Iowans encouraged to prepare for severe weather in advance

April 2nd through the 6th is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Lucinda Robertson is Public Information Officer for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. 

She’s encouraging all Iowans to be prepared for year-round emergencies by attention to local news and investing in a weather radio. Robertson says individuals should also make an emergency plan because a family may not be together when an emergency happens.  Finally, she says it’s important to create an emergency supply kit.

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Politics & Elections
1:10 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

A 2nd Congressional District Democratic Debate was held Friday at the Omaha Press Club

The candidates for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District participated in their second debate Friday. With more here’s Omaha Public Radio’s Cheril Lee…

General News
5:06 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Demand for Youth Services is on the Rise at Salvation Army Centers

A recent survey released by the Salvation Army found 56% of Salvation Army Youth Programs are operating at or beyond their capacity.

Susan Eustice, Director of Public Relations for Salvation Army Omaha, says the survey covered more than 80 cities, including Omaha.  Results show that more than 80 percent of youth programs saw an increase in demand from children and families in the past year, due to unemployment issues and funding cuts.  Eustice says Omaha North Corps has been especially busy.

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Health/Medical
5:06 am
Thu March 22, 2012

If you're over 50, it's time to get a colorectal cancer screening

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Sheri Bowen is the Agency Administrator for the Mills County Public Health Department.  She says Iowa is fifth in the nation when it comes to percentage of late stage colon cancer diagnoses.  

Bowen says when colon cancer is caught in an early stage, it’s 90% treatable.  Currently 64% of Iowans over the age of 50 have been screened. Bowen says the Iowa Get Screened Colorectal Cancer Program wants to increase that to 80% by 2014.

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Education
5:06 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Five UNO Grad Programs Rank in Top 20 Nationally

US News and World Report has ranked five UNO graduate programs in the top 20 nationally.

John Bartle is the Acting Dean for the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at UNO.  He says the rankings show how strong UNO is at the graduate level.  

Bartle says the rankings are done by deans and directors of graduate programs.  Five programs within public administration were recognized, including criminology and criminal justice, social work and business.

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