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 working with my wife on our house or visiting our kids. Luckily they live close enough to see them for family events on weekends and holidays.   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

U.S. Farm Bill paves way for Central State to receive millions in research funds
 Central State University will benefit from a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Farm bill that won final approval Wednesday in Congress. The move paves the way for CSU to receive additional funding for research that could potentially reach millions of dollars.  CSU Dean Alton Johnson said the impact on research will be broad on campus...

Posted: a minute ago

Central State University will benefit from a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Farm bill that won final approval Wednesday in Congress. The move paves the way for CSU to receive additional funding for research that could potentially reach millions of dollars.  CSU Dean Alton Johnson said the impact on research will be broad on campus...
Greene County Career Center plans biggest expansion in school’s history
 The Greene County Career Center is preparing to launch the biggest expansion in the school's history. It follows passage of a ballot issue in November that will fund a new $62 million facility to be built along U.S. 35 at state Route 68 south of Xenia.  “Right off the interchange there, a great location for us. It centralizes the...

Posted: 22 hours ago

The Greene County Career Center is preparing to launch the biggest expansion in the school's history. It follows passage of a ballot issue in November that will fund a new $62 million facility to be built along U.S. 35 at state Route 68 south of Xenia.  “Right off the interchange there, a great location for us. It centralizes the...
Area lawmaker pushing bill for how, when police body camera video is used
 Miami Valley state lawmaker Niraj Antani is hoping to win passage of a bill on police body cameras this week. Under current law there are no rules for how and when police may use the cameras, or regulations on when that video may be made public, if ever. Rep. Antani, R-Miamisburg, said his proposal, House Bill 425, does not tell police when...

Posted: a day ago

Miami Valley state lawmaker Niraj Antani is hoping to win passage of a bill on police body cameras this week. Under current law there are no rules for how and when police may use the cameras, or regulations on when that video may be made public, if ever. Rep. Antani, R-Miamisburg, said his proposal, House Bill 425, does not tell police when...
Portman: New jobs move to WPAFB over next few months 
 Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Friday new jobs could begin moving to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base within the next few months after a new mission was awarded to the base. The mission, formally called the “F-35 Lightening II Hybrid Product Support Integrator” is described in a written statement from the Air Force as “integrated...

Posted: 4 days ago

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Friday new jobs could begin moving to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base within the next few months after a new mission was awarded to the base. The mission, formally called the “F-35 Lightening II Hybrid Product Support Integrator” is described in a written statement from the Air Force as “integrated...
Ohio Senate passes Destiny’s Law - with added language that lengthens penalty
 State lawmakers Wednesday finished work on a long-awaited change in state law being sought by Randi Shepherd of Springfield.  “Destiny’s Law,” named for Shepherd’s daughter, passed the Ohio Senate.  The proposal adds 6 years to the sentence for anyone convicted of assaulting a child under 10 years old. Shepherd...

Posted: 6 days ago

State lawmakers Wednesday finished work on a long-awaited change in state law being sought by Randi Shepherd of Springfield.  “Destiny’s Law,” named for Shepherd’s daughter, passed the Ohio Senate.  The proposal adds 6 years to the sentence for anyone convicted of assaulting a child under 10 years old. Shepherd...
George H.W. Bush ‘good man, bipartisan, humble, easy to talk to,’ Tony Hall says
 Former Ambassador and Dayton Congressman Tony Hall said he remembers President George H.W. Bush as a kind and capable leader who often reached across party lines to get things done. Hall's comments came as thousands of mourners made their way through the U.S. Capitol rotunda to pay their last respects.  "Good man, bipartisan, humble...

Posted: 7 days ago

Former Ambassador and Dayton Congressman Tony Hall said he remembers President George H.W. Bush as a kind and capable leader who often reached across party lines to get things done. Hall's comments came as thousands of mourners made their way through the U.S. Capitol rotunda to pay their last respects.  "Good man, bipartisan, humble...
Law enforcement using mysterious new tool to unlock cellphones
 Law enforcement agencies are using a mysterious new tool to unlock criminal suspects’ cellphones and access their text messages, emails and voice messages. Some agencies around the country, concerned about security, are not even acknowledging use of the devices. Adding to the secrecy surrounding the new tool, one of the companies that...

Posted: 20 days ago

Law enforcement agencies are using a mysterious new tool to unlock criminal suspects’ cellphones and access their text messages, emails and voice messages. Some agencies around the country, concerned about security, are not even acknowledging use of the devices. Adding to the secrecy surrounding the new tool, one of the companies that...
Local law enforcement using mysterious new tool to unlock cellphones
 Law enforcement agencies are using a mysterious new tool to unlock the cellphones of criminal suspects and access their text messages, emails and voice messages. Some agencies around the country, concerned about security, are not even acknowledging use of the devices. Adding to the secrecy surrounding the new tool, one of the companies that...

Posted: 20 days ago

Law enforcement agencies are using a mysterious new tool to unlock the cellphones of criminal suspects and access their text messages, emails and voice messages. Some agencies around the country, concerned about security, are not even acknowledging use of the devices. Adding to the secrecy surrounding the new tool, one of the companies that...
Video gaming could lead to college scholarships 
 All those hours your kids spend playing video games may not be a waste of time after all. In fact, we have learned gaming ability could get them some college scholarship money. The fastest grown sport on college campuses right now is electronic sports or e-sports. For gamers like Amy Yang at Miami University, it's a chance to compete at the...

Posted: 22 days ago

All those hours your kids spend playing video games may not be a waste of time after all. In fact, we have learned gaming ability could get them some college scholarship money. The fastest grown sport on college campuses right now is electronic sports or e-sports. For gamers like Amy Yang at Miami University, it's a chance to compete at the...
Trial date set for former statehouse candidate accused of extortion
 A former Greene County candidate for State Representative, now charged with felony extortion and misdemeanor coercion, will face a jury trial beginning Feb. 4. Jocelyn Smith, Fairborn, is accused of extorting her Republican primary opponent, Rep. Rick Perales, Beavercreek, by saying at a press conference that if he did not drop out of the...

6:47 PM Friday, Nov. 02, 2018

A former Greene County candidate for State Representative, now charged with felony extortion and misdemeanor coercion, will face a jury trial beginning Feb. 4. Jocelyn Smith, Fairborn, is accused of extorting her Republican primary opponent, Rep. Rick Perales, Beavercreek, by saying at a press conference that if he did not drop out of the...