During the Memorial Day weekend I watched Keller Russell anchor KOLN/KGIN-TV's weekend news and told my wife I didn't expect Russell to be in Lincoln much longer.
She had become that good.
Three days later, Journal Broadcast Group announced it had hired the 26-year-old Russell as a general assignment reporter at Today's TMJ4 (WTMJ-TV) in Milwaukee.
Saturday was her last day at KOLN, which is owned by Atlanta-based Gray Television. She begins her new job June 13 at the Milwaukee NBC affiliate.
For Russell, she's taking the next step in her broadcasting career. She's moving from the 106th-largest television market to the 35th-largest.
She came to KOLN, Lincoln's CBS affiliate, in October 2008 as a weekend anchor/reporter from Nashville, Tenn., where she was a dayside assignment editor at WSMV-TV.
Russell took the Lincoln job because she wanted to be on the air.
"My time in Nashville set me up for coming here," she told me last week. "I knew what it took to create a story and dig into things. Being here allowed me to put that knowledge to work and keep working on those skills."
Her new job will take her closer to her Minnesota home, but location wasn't the reason for the move, she said.
"It's about the station," she said. "It's an excellent station. I like the direction they are going. I like who they are. They are very well respected."
While in Lincoln, Russell won several awards for her reporting from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association. She and KOLN chief photographer David Barry recently won a 2011 Great Plains Associated Press award for best series/documentary for their piece, "Haymarket Arena Vote 2010."
"I loved being on the (anchor) desk," she said. "There is a different fulfillment for each position. I'm excited about reporting every day and digging up stories. Being in a bigger market, I expect there never will be a dull day."
Around the dial
* I'll be curious to learn who Jim Keck has lined up for local talent for his new Lincoln sports station.
The Ticket (KNTK 93.7 FM) is scheduled to debut Aug. 1, possibly sooner, said Keck, who co-owns the station.
He's expected to announce his lineup sometime this week.
Keck's national talent will be syndicated through Fox Sports Radio, including Dan Patrick, who will air live from 8 to 11 a.m. weekdays.
* KOLN's 24th Can Care-a-Van will be on the road this week visiting Superior, Hebron, Auburn, Nebraska City, Columbus, Grand Island, Aurora, Sutton, Geneva and York.
News personalities from 10/11, Nebraska Farm Bureau volunteers and local food pantries will be on hand to collect nonperishable food items and monetary gifts; 10/11 will air daily reports from each community.
For more information, including the tour schedule and where each personality will be -- fan favorite Ken Siemek, for instance, will be in Columbus on Wednesday -- visit www.1011now.com.