Tom McKee Headshot

Long-time Cincinnati TV reporter’s career began at WOUB

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Tom McKee graduated from Ohio University in 1973

ATHENS, OH – During his 40-year career, Tom McKee covered some of the biggest news stories in the Cincinnati region as a television reporter, multimedia journalist, producer and assignment manager at WCPO, even winning a national Walter Cronkite Award in 2013. It’s a career he was ready for thanks to the preparation and training he received at WOUB.

“WOUB was the foundation,” said McKee.

McKee grew up in Maumee, Ohio and chose Ohio University for college after attending the summer High School Journalism Workshop in 1968.

“I was the editor of my school paper during my senior year in high school, and I wanted to be a journalist. I originally thought I wanted to write for newspapers or magazines, but then I found out about WOUB.”

As a freshman, McKee heard an announcement on WOUB radio asking students to come to a meeting to learn about volunteering at the station.

“I went to the meeting and was on the air in two weeks,” said McKee. “It wasn’t long after that I decided I was going to pursue a major in broadcast journalism.”

McKee worked diligently at WOUB during his time at Ohio University and would take any shift that became available. He worked mostly on the radio but did eventually do some work on WOUB TV.

“I remember anchoring a sportscast on television. There was no teleprompter back then, so you had to memorize it and go. It was fun, and I enjoyed it. But I remember being glad that was over because it was so nerve-wracking,” said McKee laughing.

McKee got an internship at WCPO in the summer of 1973 and was hired when he graduated in 1974.

“I went from being a student, to working as a reporter in the 26th market in the country,” said McKee.

McKee covered some of the region’s biggest news stories over the years, including the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire where 165 people died and The Who concert tragedy in 1979. He was also one of nine hostages taken by a gunman named James Hoskins in the WCPO newsroom on October 15, 1980. Hoskins told the hostages he had killed his girlfriend and came to the station to make an on-air statement about the negative treatment of the poor. Hoskins ended up releasing the hostages and taking his own life.

“Immediately after it was over, I had to do a profile story on the guy who held us hostage,” said McKee. “There is no playbook for that.”

McKee retired in 2018 and is now an adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati teaching broadcast writing and broadcast news production courses.

“Who would have thought that it would have been a 40-year career? It was a great run,” said McKee. “WOUB and Ohio University gave me that hands-on training and solid preparation that I needed to become a television journalist.”