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Switch-hitter 

Craig O’Neill takes best in news

STILL GOOFY: But not on the air.
  • STILL GOOFY: But not on the air.

When it comes to the best in local broadcasting, Craig O'Neill has won the Arkansas Times triple crown — best DJ, best sports broadcaster and now, the best in TV news.  O'Neill made the switch from sports to news last year, and it's been ratings gold for KTHV.  One might think that the move from sometimes-goofy sports guy to stoic news man might be difficult but O'Neill says that's not the case.

“It's a mixed bag,” he says.  “For one, I've always been known as the fun guy.  But it's hard to be fun when you're talking about shootings and mayhem and depravity.  So that's been a downside, but the upside is I get to address issues that have been important to me since I was a DJ.  Primarily it's education but it's also Iraq, Afghanistan and politics.”

When he's not behind the news desk, O'Neill is out making public appearances for numerous charities. 

“I'm still goofy, but not on the air.  I can be that way when I make public appearances and things like that,” O'Neill says. 

One thing the switch to news has changed is his mindset. 

“The thing that I've seen with news anchors is the older you get, the better you get,” O'Neill says.  “That trust just builds.  Look at B.J. Sams.  He's going to go out on top.  When I was a DJ, my career goal was ratings.  Now, as a newsman, my career goal is trust.”

Of course, that goofy side still shines through.  “Next year,” O'Neill says with a hearty  laugh, “I'm going for best-looking.”

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