This article originally published in May/June 2015 edition of Omaha Magazine.
Whether he’s giving the scoop, dishing the dirt, spilling the beans over the airwaves, or just delivering a friendly “hello” at his local supermarket, Craig Nigrelli is always on.
It might sound exhausting to some, but for the KMTV news anchor who has been serving Omaha his buffet-style brand of broadcast journalism for nearly the past seven years, it’s just another perk of the job.
“I think when you’re in the public eye, you always have to be aware that you’re on the air,” Nigrelli, 48, admits in a dynamic tone that makes everything he says sound newsworthy. “People are always watching you no matter where you are. It’s what I signed up for. It comes with the territory.”
Known as “Ron Burgundy” or “Newsboy” within the ranks of his hockey buddies, Nigrelli says he’s been tirelessly engaging his new home as his station’s “Steady Eddy.” But perhaps the Buffalo native’s most appropriate nickname derives not from his profession, but from his habitual nature, which he says has allowed him to consistently bring high energy to his news teams for over two decades.
“I’m a man of routine, and I get that from my father,” Nigrelli says. “My wife calls me ‘Mr. As Is.’”
Nigrelli’s as-isness, he says, manifests itself in taking the first half hour of a day in silence, pumping iron four times a week, playing hockey twice a week, and watching his wife, Omaha Magazine contributor Carol Crissey Nigrelli, play the cello at their church every Sunday.
“As soon as you step outside the house and as soon as you step into the subterfuge of the daily [routine],” Nigrelli explains, “you’re on. You’re in the spin cycle from 10:30 in the morning till when you get home at 11:30 at night.” Nigrelli’s dedication to an unwavering, controllable routine lends balance the often chaotic world of news reporting. “For better or for worse, the world never stops spinning.”
As a master storyteller, Nigrelli is resigned to the fact that he must often report on doom and gloom to the viewers he likes to consider his neighbors.
“People are curious—they want to know why there’re flashing lights. They want to know why a road was closed. We live in a curious world.”
As part of his professional regimen, the anchor says he writes almost all of the reporter introductions for all four of his daily newscasts. The humanizing aspect of Nigrelli’s style, which seems to break a fourth wall at times while making an emotional connection with audiences instead of just an informative one, is how he says he’s comfortable selling his station’s content.
“Because if I’m bored, the viewer is bored,” Nigrelli says. “If I’m engaged and I’m energetic and I’m driving the content and I’m excited about it and I’m taking viewers on my shoulder for a ride like it’s a roller coaster…then they’ll probably enjoy it.”