Dick Janda leaves behind lasting legacy in local broadcasting
Janda announced he's retiring from broadcasting last Friday after more than four decades in the business in the Lincoln area.
LINCOLN – From “Holy Pepperoni” to mechanical bull rides. Dick Janda has done a little of everything in his 46 years of being a broadcaster in the Lincoln area.
“On one hand I suppose you could call me experienced, on the other you could call me a drifter,” Janda said.
But whatever Janda has done, he’s touched many who have dialed into their radios or flipped on their televisions over the past four decades. Janda announced he’s retiring from broadcasting last Friday after spending the last 11 years as the “Voice of the Prairie Wolves” at Nebraska Wesleyan.
“It’s becoming a little more difficult to endure those bus rides,” Janda told Channel 8 earlier this week. “A little more difficult to remember those names and numbers. So I told myself, ‘Well, it’s about time I put my name in the retirement ‘portal.'”
Janda started out in broadcasting at 16-years-old at his hometown radio station, KNLV, in Ord. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then traveled to Georgia to become the voice of the minor league baseball team the Savannah Braves.
However, after just six weeks on the job, Janda left and headed back to the Midwest. He eventually began doing odd-jobs with 10/11 TV in 1974, becoming the sports director in 1980. He spent the next 12 years leading that sports department and hosting the Bob Devaney Prediction Show.
It’s at 10/11 where Janda became good friends with Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, who surprised Bob Devaney on his show with a famous bag of tacos.
“That was a pretty famous scene and that’s when I started to know Barry on a personal level,” Janda said.
After his time at 10/11, Janda spent eight years at KFOR radio before ending up at Channel 8 from 2003-2007 as the weekend news anchor and a general assignment reporter.
“I guess I just kind of wanted to broaden my horizon’s a little bit,” Janda said.
And that he did. Janda put together multiple series of reports, especially during the July ratings months.
“It seemed during the July sweeps period I would get these, uh, weird sweeps series to do,” Janda said.
Some of those features included visits to the Comstock Festival and dressing up like Gene Simmons of the band “K.I.S.S.” He also had a series called “One-Tank Trips”, which showed off Janda’s relatable personality.
“The idea was to find what you could do for vacation on a tank of gas.”
Still, Janda kept going back to sports. He ended up at Nebraska Wesleyan in 2009, calling play-by-play for all football and men’s basketball games.
Janda still calls the 2018 men’s basketball national championship the most exciting part of his career in TV or radio.
“It’s kind of the pure form of sports at Nebraska Wesleyan,” Janda said.
Janda said he will miss the excitement involved in the broadcasting business, though he won’t miss the long hours on the road or at work. He’s also looking forward to visiting his grandchildren in the Kansas City area.
Oh, and one more thing.
“It’s going to be a little easier getting some recliner time now.”