Former Omaha newsman Floyd Kalber died in his suburban Chicago home Thursday at the age of 79.
Kalber was an Emmy-award-winning news anchor whose career included highly rated programs on two Chicago stations and the "Today" show. He died of emphysema, his family said.
Kalber began his television career in Omaha at station KMTV. He left Omaha in 1960 to join the NBC owned WMAQ television in Chicago.
He was the news anchor on the "Today" show in the late 70s.
Kalber retired from the network in 1981, but was coaxed out of retirement in 1984 to help revive Chicago's WLS-TV by anchoring the 6 p.m. newscast. He enjoyed another run atop the ratings for 14 years and retired from the ABC affiliate in 1998.
He was a graduate of Omaha's Benson High School where he is a member of the school's Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
He received the nickname "The Big Tuna" of television news because his power in the newsroom was perceived to be as great as the power of the late Chicago mob boss Tony "Big Tuna" Acardo, local broadcast historian Rich Samuels said.
"The Chicago journalism community lost a giant with the passing of Floyd Kalber," said Steve Scott, president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. "Mr. Kalber was able to mix rock solid authority with his pleasant, folksy demeanor to create a larger-than-life persona."
The winner of five Emmy Awards, Kalber was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and the Silver Circle of the Chicago Television Academy.
Kalber is survived by his wife of 57 years, Betty, a son and daughter and six grandchildren.
Funeral services are pending.