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

Judge Rice vows to keep working as Dayton federal building takes his name
 Federal Judge Walter Rice, approaching his 82nd birthday, vowed Wednesday to continue working at the Dayton Federal Courthouse which has been renamed in his honor. The name change was a bi-partisan move, sponsored by Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D- Ohio and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I truly am humbled by this. I...

Posted: 5 days ago

Federal Judge Walter Rice, approaching his 82nd birthday, vowed Wednesday to continue working at the Dayton Federal Courthouse which has been renamed in his honor. The name change was a bi-partisan move, sponsored by Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D- Ohio and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I truly am humbled by this. I...
New Northridge K-12 school has cutting-edge security system
 When Northridge’s new K-12 school opens this fall on the hill overlooking North Dixie Drive, it will be the first school in the state with a special security system as part of the design. The $55 million building will feature the BluePoint Alert System, with blue pull-alarms throughout the building, similar to traditional red fire alarms...

Posted: 10 days ago

When Northridge’s new K-12 school opens this fall on the hill overlooking North Dixie Drive, it will be the first school in the state with a special security system as part of the design. The $55 million building will feature the BluePoint Alert System, with blue pull-alarms throughout the building, similar to traditional red fire alarms...
Cutting-edge security: Schools turn to technology to keep students safe
 School shootings, like the attack at Dennis Middle School in Richmond, Indiana, last December, are prompting local districts to take a closer look at their security systems. An I-Team investigation has found many districts are turning to better technology for their first line of defense. In the case of the Northridge School district in Harrison...

Posted: 19 days ago

School shootings, like the attack at Dennis Middle School in Richmond, Indiana, last December, are prompting local districts to take a closer look at their security systems. An I-Team investigation has found many districts are turning to better technology for their first line of defense. In the case of the Northridge School district in Harrison...
Miami County state lawmaker wants to make it legal for farmers to grow hemp
 A Miami County state lawmaker wants to make it legal for farmers to grow hemp. Hemp looks like marijuana, but hemp is much more versatile in its many uses. This is why state Sen. Steve Huffman of Tipp City said he’s introducing a bill to make it legal to grow here. Huffman sponsored Ohio’s medical marijuana law. With this bill...

10:18 PM Monday, Feb. 18, 2019

A Miami County state lawmaker wants to make it legal for farmers to grow hemp. Hemp looks like marijuana, but hemp is much more versatile in its many uses. This is why state Sen. Steve Huffman of Tipp City said he’s introducing a bill to make it legal to grow here. Huffman sponsored Ohio’s medical marijuana law. With this bill...
State lawmakers consider dropping sales tax on diapers, tampons
 State lawmakers are considering exempting diapers and feminine hygiene products from state sales taxes.  News Center 7’s Jim Otte takes a look at the bill, and the two local state legislators who are sponsoring the changes, in his report on News Center 7 starting at 5 p.m.

7:13 PM Tuesday, Feb. 05, 2019

State lawmakers are considering exempting diapers and feminine hygiene products from state sales taxes.  News Center 7’s Jim Otte takes a look at the bill, and the two local state legislators who are sponsoring the changes, in his report on News Center 7 starting at 5 p.m.
Speed traps: What to do if you get a ticket
 Two Clark County villages lead the list of Miami Valley communities for police traffic enforcement, based on the number of citations per capita. According to data from the Ohio Supreme Court, North Hampton and Tremont City hand out the most tickets. Local drivers say both communities have the reputation as speed traps, but local authorities...

10:00 PM Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

Two Clark County villages lead the list of Miami Valley communities for police traffic enforcement, based on the number of citations per capita. According to data from the Ohio Supreme Court, North Hampton and Tremont City hand out the most tickets. Local drivers say both communities have the reputation as speed traps, but local authorities...
State Rep. Antani to run for state Senate seat covering most of suburban Montgomery County
 Miamisburg Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani announced Wednesday he is running for the state Senate to replace Sen. Peggy Lehner who is term limited. “I am excited to announce that I am running for State Senator in 2020! Current State Senator Peggy Lehner has served our Dayton area community with distinction and is term limited next...

4:38 PM Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019

Miamisburg Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani announced Wednesday he is running for the state Senate to replace Sen. Peggy Lehner who is term limited. “I am excited to announce that I am running for State Senator in 2020! Current State Senator Peggy Lehner has served our Dayton area community with distinction and is term limited next...
Turner: ‘Community is very lucky that serious injury did not occur on the base’
 Local lawmakers are reacting to a report put out by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base today saying a “poorly planned and executed” base exercise led to the chaos on base Aug. 2. Here’s what they had to say: “I want to congratulate Commander Thomas Sherman of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on his leadership on what was...

5:44 PM Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018

Local lawmakers are reacting to a report put out by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base today saying a “poorly planned and executed” base exercise led to the chaos on base Aug. 2. Here’s what they had to say: “I want to congratulate Commander Thomas Sherman of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on his leadership on what was...
Local leaders court foreign companies for potential investment here
 The Miami Valley already is home to two big names in international trade: Fuyao, the Chinese company that makes automotive windshields, and Honday, the Japanese carmaker that for decades has turned out some of the company’s most popular models here. Now, local economic development agencies are trying to land even more foreign investment...

11:37 PM Monday, Dec. 17, 2018

The Miami Valley already is home to two big names in international trade: Fuyao, the Chinese company that makes automotive windshields, and Honday, the Japanese carmaker that for decades has turned out some of the company’s most popular models here. Now, local economic development agencies are trying to land even more foreign investment...
Local voters react to Ohio politicians seeking pay raise
 Local voters are not too thrilled about Ohio lawmakers voting to give themselves a pay raise. A provision for a legislative pay increase passed the Ohio House and Senate on Thursday.  The pay plan includes a 4 percent increase for 2020 and smaller increases for each following year through 2028. It also increases the pay of most county...

1:36 AM Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018

Local voters are not too thrilled about Ohio lawmakers voting to give themselves a pay raise. A provision for a legislative pay increase passed the Ohio House and Senate on Thursday.  The pay plan includes a 4 percent increase for 2020 and smaller increases for each following year through 2028. It also increases the pay of most county...
School safety expert: Entrances can be made less vulnerable
 A Miami Valley school security expert said glass doors on school entrances can be modified to make them much less vulnerable to the kind of attack in Richmond, Indiana, that allowed a teenage shooter to gain access.  Craig Hoschouer, president of PLE Group, Kettering, said on Thursday that a protective film can be applied to glass...

12:47 AM Friday, Dec. 14, 2018

A Miami Valley school security expert said glass doors on school entrances can be modified to make them much less vulnerable to the kind of attack in Richmond, Indiana, that allowed a teenage shooter to gain access.  Craig Hoschouer, president of PLE Group, Kettering, said on Thursday that a protective film can be applied to glass...