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

The deaths of five women in Dayton linked by drugs, possible foul play
 The first body was found June 21, 2017, amid the garbage, broken glass and booze bottles that litter the alley behind the many dilapidated vacant houses near North Main Street on West Norman Avenue in Dayton. Since then, four more women’s bodies have been found within a mile’s radius, most of them just blocks apart. Police don&rsquo...

11:00 AM Saturday, Mar. 03, 2018

The first body was found June 21, 2017, amid the garbage, broken glass and booze bottles that litter the alley behind the many dilapidated vacant houses near North Main Street on West Norman Avenue in Dayton. Since then, four more women’s bodies have been found within a mile’s radius, most of them just blocks apart. Police don&rsquo...
Mysterious deaths rock N. Main Street in Dayton
 Dayton police and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office are investigating the mysterious deaths of five women within the last year. They died at a variety of unknown locations, but their bodies were all dumped in and around alleys along North Main Street in Dayton. So far, investigators have not found any evidence to connect the five cases...

10:22 PM Thursday, Mar. 01, 2018

Dayton police and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office are investigating the mysterious deaths of five women within the last year. They died at a variety of unknown locations, but their bodies were all dumped in and around alleys along North Main Street in Dayton. So far, investigators have not found any evidence to connect the five cases...
Dayton mayor, local Democrats line up behind Gasper for Congress
 The race to take on Congressman Mike Turner in the fall heated up Tuesday as Democrat Theresa Gasper lined up key endorsements from Democratic leaders. Gasper picked up the endorsement of several top Democratic office holders in Montgomery County, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, County Commissioner Dan Foley and others. The announcement...

12:04 AM Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018

The race to take on Congressman Mike Turner in the fall heated up Tuesday as Democrat Theresa Gasper lined up key endorsements from Democratic leaders. Gasper picked up the endorsement of several top Democratic office holders in Montgomery County, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, County Commissioner Dan Foley and others. The announcement...
Ohio’s bail system is based on someone’s ability to pay. Is that fair?
 When Dayton native DaJuan Hume was a college student at Ball State University in 2004, he was arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. By the time the charges were dropped, Hume had spent nearly two years in jail, lost his apartment and couldn’t afford the storage fees to get his vehicle out of the impound lot. “I lost...

4:55 PM Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

When Dayton native DaJuan Hume was a college student at Ball State University in 2004, he was arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. By the time the charges were dropped, Hume had spent nearly two years in jail, lost his apartment and couldn’t afford the storage fees to get his vehicle out of the impound lot. “I lost...
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...

6:41 PM Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

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...

10:50 PM Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

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...

3:33 PM Wednesday, Feb. 07, 2018

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...

11:00 AM Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018

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...