Jim Otte

News Center 7 Reporter

Jim Otte has been investigating government spending since joining WHIO-TV in 1988.   A native of Cincinnati, Otte began his career at radio stations in Oxford, Hamilton and Columbus. During that time he covered Ohio politics for National Public Radio. At WHIO-TV, he began the "Wastebusters" segment on Channel 7, focusing on waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers' money throughout the Miami Valley. As a member of the I-Team, Otte enjoys interviewing the people who are impacted by government spending decisions. He is a two-time winner of the Ohio Associated Press "Best Reporter Award," in 2009 and 2012. Jim and his wife, Cindy, have three children.  Q & A   How did you get into broadcast journalism?   It all began at a little radio station in Oxford, Ohio. While I was a student at Miami University, I fell in love with the news business. Like much else in life, it is an acquired taste. It was a departure from my upbringing in the quiet suburbs of Cincinnati. On the news beat, days are often filled with politics and personalities, courts and criminals, floods and fires. I thought, "What better way to be a part of history than to spend a lifetime watching it happen and telling other people all about it?" From college, I moved to commercial radio in Oxford and Hamilton. Later I moved closer to the action in Columbus. I began covering the Ohio Statehouse in late 1982.   I have seen a lot of Governors come and go. Who was my favorite to cover? Dick Celeste. He knew how to communicate, whether the news was good or bad. After six years with the Public Radio and TV Bureau at the Statehouse, I joined WHIO-TV. Over the years, my most memorable story has been the Lucasville prison riot. I spent the better part of two weeks standing in a field outside the prison as troopers and national guardsmen tried to figure out what to do next.   I tell people wherever I go; the best part of the job is meeting people who have grown up watching Channel 7. They are an amazing bunch of people. Also, along the way, I have been blessed to win my share of awards from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists.   Yes, the news is not often very enjoyable. But I've always thought that reporters get to see people at their very best, too. That's the part that keeps me going.   And between stories I do have a private life. When I'm not paddling my kayak on a lake or stream in Ohio, I'm taking my teenage son to a sporting event. He runs Cross Country, and plays soccer, and volleyball. My wife and I have two daughters who are in college. The middle daughter is at the University of Cincinnati. The oldest is at Miami.   Visiting her gives me an excuse to get back on campus from time to time, look at the campus radio tower and drift back to the where it all began.    Where were you born?  Cincinnati. The west side is filled with my immediate family and countless cousins, aunts and uncles.  Where did you grow up?  Cincinnati. Monfort Heights, to be exact. It's a Western Hills suburb.  What was your favorite TV show then?  If it was on TV in the 60's, it was my favorite. From news and sports to Hogan's Heroes.  What was the first thing you ever wanted to be?  A carpenter, like my dad.  How might someone have described you in high school?  Geek. And they would be correct.  What was your first job?  I worked for my dad's company in high school and college. Carpenter, roofer, truck driver, crane operator and a lot of other things.  What was your first job in television?  My first job in TV was floor director for the university station. My first paying job was reporter for the Public TV Bureau at the Ohio Statehouse.   What do you like about your job?  You never know where this job will take you or who you will talk to throughout the day. I've interviewed big names in politics and sports. I've met a lot of great people along the way who have made this job a real adventure.  What do you not like about your job?  I spend a lot of time away from my family.   What might people be surprised to know about you?  I broke my arm playing soccer in an adult recreation league in the mid-90s. I returned to play another season, but was forced into retirement by my wife.   What is the hardest thing you ever did?  One of the many hard things you have to do on rare occasions as a reporter is approach the family members of a victim involved in a terrible tragedy. I try my best to respect people's privacy.   What would be a perfect day for you?  My perfect day is breaking a big story, beating the competition, going home to get my kayak and hit the water with my family.   What advice would you have for someone wanting to go into the business?  Be ready for anything. Joy, sadness, triumph and tragedy.   If you could only keep one 5-minute tape from your career what would be on it?  The Lucasville prison riot of 1993. I spent a lot of time there during the riot and afterwards. Being a part of history is one of the best parts of this job.

Latest from Jim Otte

Area libraries institute bans, tighten security
 Dayton area libraries have increased security in response to a growing number of people who are committing crimes there instead of reading and relaxing. An I-Team review of public records from police and the Dayton Metro Library show 279 people were removed from the main library at 215 E. Third St. in 2017. Another 35 people were charged...

Posted: 3 days ago

Dayton area libraries have increased security in response to a growing number of people who are committing crimes there instead of reading and relaxing. An I-Team review of public records from police and the Dayton Metro Library show 279 people were removed from the main library at 215 E. Third St. in 2017. Another 35 people were charged...
Banned from the library
 Your local library may be quiet and full of resources, but it is safe? We tracked a growing number of disturbing incidents at Miami Valley libraries and looked at the changes that have been made to keep neighborhood crime from coming inside their walls.  "When you're inviting in a cross section of society then things can happen...

Posted: 4 days ago

Your local library may be quiet and full of resources, but it is safe? We tracked a growing number of disturbing incidents at Miami Valley libraries and looked at the changes that have been made to keep neighborhood crime from coming inside their walls.  "When you're inviting in a cross section of society then things can happen...
Forgotten cash a windfall for Kettering family
 A Kettering couple has been trying to unravel a mystery that surrounds a sizable pile of forgotten cash. Cindy and Marvin Frilling recently learned from the I-Team that $54,203.21 is sitting in an unclaimed funds account in Columbus under the name of Minnie Frilling, Marvin’s late mother. “I had no clue that kind of money would...

Posted: 12 days ago

A Kettering couple has been trying to unravel a mystery that surrounds a sizable pile of forgotten cash. Cindy and Marvin Frilling recently learned from the I-Team that $54,203.21 is sitting in an unclaimed funds account in Columbus under the name of Minnie Frilling, Marvin’s late mother. “I had no clue that kind of money would...
Anger over effort to free convicted killer: ‘He beat my sons to death’
 Even after 32 years, the trauma of finding her mother, sister, niece and two young sons slaughtered and three more children left for dead never leaves Tia Talbott. “I just keep wishing it wasn’t real — that it was a dream or bad nightmare and I would wake up and this is all not real,” she said. Talbott is having to...

Posted: 29 days ago

Even after 32 years, the trauma of finding her mother, sister, niece and two young sons slaughtered and three more children left for dead never leaves Tia Talbott. “I just keep wishing it wasn’t real — that it was a dream or bad nightmare and I would wake up and this is all not real,” she said. Talbott is having to...
Miami Valley unlikely to experience the kind of false alarm that rattled Hawaii
 Last weekend’s false alarm in Hawaii that sent people scrambling for cover is a mistake that is unlikely to be repeated in the Miami Valley, according to Jeff Jordan, director, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management. Saturday morning, people were alerted by the Hawaii emergency management agency that a missile attack was imminent...

11:16 PM Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018

Last weekend’s false alarm in Hawaii that sent people scrambling for cover is a mistake that is unlikely to be repeated in the Miami Valley, according to Jeff Jordan, director, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management. Saturday morning, people were alerted by the Hawaii emergency management agency that a missile attack was imminent...
Sinclair seeking OK to spend $9.6M to buy building, land in Centerville
 Sinclair Community College is requesting approval from the state to spend $9.6 million to buy a 100,000-square foot building and 40 acres of real estate at 5800 Clyo Road in Centerville.  If approved, the property would become Sinclair's newest campus, joining facilities in Eaton, Englewood, Huber Heights and Mason, complimenting the...

11:50 PM Friday, Jan. 05, 2018

Sinclair Community College is requesting approval from the state to spend $9.6 million to buy a 100,000-square foot building and 40 acres of real estate at 5800 Clyo Road in Centerville.  If approved, the property would become Sinclair's newest campus, joining facilities in Eaton, Englewood, Huber Heights and Mason, complimenting the...
Springfield lawmaker seeks to regulate payday lenders
 A bill to regulate payday lenders proposed by a Springfield lawmaker is finally seeing movement in the Statehouse, months after it was introduce. Calling his plan to regulate payday lenders “common sense legislation,” Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, presented it to an Ohio House committee last week. RELATED: Springfield pastor...

11:00 AM Saturday, Dec. 02, 2017

A bill to regulate payday lenders proposed by a Springfield lawmaker is finally seeing movement in the Statehouse, months after it was introduce. Calling his plan to regulate payday lenders “common sense legislation,” Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, presented it to an Ohio House committee last week. RELATED: Springfield pastor...
O’Neill’s boast of sexual liaisons brings calls for his resignation
 A Facebook post touting his sexual exploits with “50 very attractive females” Friday had colleagues expressing shock and political opponents calling for Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill to resign.   “I condemn in no uncertain terms Justice O’Neill’s Facebook post. No words can convey my...

8:40 PM Friday, Nov. 17, 2017

A Facebook post touting his sexual exploits with “50 very attractive females” Friday had colleagues expressing shock and political opponents calling for Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill to resign.   “I condemn in no uncertain terms Justice O’Neill’s Facebook post. No words can convey my...
New death date set for man after state halted his execution
 Convicted killer Alva Campbell, Jr. received a rare reprieve from his scheduled execution Wednesday when medical personnel were unable to locate a vein to absorb the three-drug cocktail used as part of the lethal injection process. His new execution date was later rescheduled for June 15, 2019. Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued the reprieve for...

11:00 AM Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017

Convicted killer Alva Campbell, Jr. received a rare reprieve from his scheduled execution Wednesday when medical personnel were unable to locate a vein to absorb the three-drug cocktail used as part of the lethal injection process. His new execution date was later rescheduled for June 15, 2019. Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued the reprieve for...
Drones dropping drugs into prisons; Ohio fights back.
 Ohio prison authorities are considering the use of anti-drone technology to keep small remote-controlled aircraft from being used to deliver drugs and other contraband to inmates. The plan follows several incidents in recent years where someone attempted to break through prison security using a drone. The traditional method to smuggle contraband...

8:22 PM Tuesday, Nov. 07, 2017

Ohio prison authorities are considering the use of anti-drone technology to keep small remote-controlled aircraft from being used to deliver drugs and other contraband to inmates. The plan follows several incidents in recent years where someone attempted to break through prison security using a drone. The traditional method to smuggle contraband...
I-Team: More people abusing 9-1-1 in the  Miami Valley
 Operators at Montgomery County's Regional Dispatch Center take in almost 700,000 calls a year and most of them are for legitimate emergencies, but we have learned that more people with their  cell phones in hand, abuse the 9-1-1 system. "Some of them were off the wall," said Captain Jay Wheeler, Director of the dispatch center....

9:24 PM Monday, Oct. 30, 2017

Operators at Montgomery County's Regional Dispatch Center take in almost 700,000 calls a year and most of them are for legitimate emergencies, but we have learned that more people with their cell phones in hand, abuse the 9-1-1 system. "Some of them were off the wall," said Captain Jay Wheeler, Director of the dispatch center....