Omaha’s longest-tenured television news anchor, John Knicely, will be saluted by the Omaha Press Club as its next “Face on the Barroom Floor” on Friday.
For almost 40 years, John has been in front of a TV camera, making him the Omaha area’s most-viewed news face. Now that face will be the Omaha Press Club’s next “Face on the Barroom Floor” when Knicely is roasted and toasted at the press club starting at 6:30 p.m.
Roasters include humorist Mary Maxwell (who will emcee) Knicely’s son John Ryan Knicely, who is a news anchor/reporter for KIRO-TV in Seattle, Les Beauchamp, lead pastor of Lifegate Church, Nebraska Golf Hall of Famer Susan Marchese and former Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey. Former Nebraska football coach and athletic director Tom Osborne will provide a video roast of Knicely.
A cocktail reception begins at 5:30 p.m. Dinner after the roast is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. RSVP to 402-345-8008.
John has been co-anchor for the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts at WOWT since May 1992. His broadcast career began at WOWT in 1974 as a sportscaster. In 1981 he left for KTVI-TV in St. Louis in the same capacity before returning to Omaha in May 1984 to become sports director at KETV before returning to WOWT.
His “John at Work” and “Knicely Done” reporter-involved news segments have taken him sky diving, riding in a daredevil stunt plane and serving as a middle school principal.
The Alumni Award of Excellence from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of the numerous awards he has received during his career. John's face is also often seen at charity events he emcees.
Born in Sidney, Nebraska, John is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Broadcast Journalism. He and his wife Sue raised five children and have five grandchildren.
The “Face on the Barroom Floor” is selected for his or her impact on the community. The drawings by artist Jim Horan are placed in a frame on the Omaha Press Club’s barroom floor until the next honoree is unveiled. They are then placed on the club’s restaurant walls. The tradition began in 1971 when the club’s restaurant opened on top of the First National Center.