Monday, March 14, 2005

A Walk Down Amnesia Lane

What fortuitous timing. Just when Pat Persaud's impending grand sendoff was reminding us of the unceremonious dismissals of a couple of news legends—WOWT's Gary Kerr and KETV's Carol Schrader—what do we stumble upon but a site maintained by an, ahem, ardent Schrader fan? Dubbed, accurately if not creatively, the Carol Schrader Shrine, the site offers screencaps of Schrader going back as far as the 80s, if the hairstyles are any indication. [Editor's Note: If you can't link to the site, you're not alone. Since posting the link, the site is only sporadically available, sometimes directing visitors to a "temporarily unavailable" message. But the site is there, we swear, and it's worth a look.]

For those of you who don't know her, Schrader was a longtime anchor at Channel 7—a true pioneer woman at the anchor desk back in the "Ron Burgundy" era portrayed in "Anchorman." An Omaha native and UNO grad, she started out at KLNG newsradio in the mid-70s before joining KETV as a reporter. By the mid-80s, she was anchoring the evening news with the late Ted Mullins. Among her other co-anchors were Michael Scott, the creepy short-timer Daniel Plante, and current KETV anchor Rob McCartney.

Her tenure at Channel 7 came to an abrupt end in 1997, when she was elbowed aside in favor of Julie Cornell, who, while perky then, has degenerated into a tired-looking shadow of her former self and shows little interest in real news. While little was said publicly at the time, it was widely believed that management delivered an escalating series of slights to Schrader that culminated in her angry resignation. She subsequently worked as news director and morning news anchor at KFAB radio for a year and now hosts Consider This, a weeky public affairs interview show on KYNE.

As for Kerr, he anchored Channel 6's evening newscasts from the early 1970s until the mid 90s, when he, too, was cashiered in favor of younger players, most notably sports-anchor-turned-news-reader John Kniceley. As Sean Weide pointed out in a recent edition of The Reader, Kerr got nothing like the trumped-up "retirement" gush-fest that the station seems to be planning for Queen Pat. Instead, he was simply told one day that he was done. And then he disappeared. It was a grave disservice to the station's viewers, and an insult to a real newsman who had given the station close to 30 years of service.

Incidentally, both Kerr and Schrader remain active members of the Omaha Press Club, which stages its annual benefit show (supporting journalism scholarships) this Friday and Saturday at the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center. Schrader is reported to be in the cast of this year's send up of local politicos.

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