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Nebraska broadcasting and College World Series legend Jack Payne dies at 99

By KETV Staff

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — Jack Payne, whose voice was the soundtrack for fans at the College World Series for nearly three decades and who was one of the pioneers of Omaha broadcasting, has died at the age of 99.

Payne retired as the CWS public address announcer in 2000 after 37 years in the booth. He covered the series for 13 years before that, starting his connection to the event in 1951.

Payne began his broadcasting career in Oklahoma after serving in the Air Force during World War II.

In 1951, he moved to Omaha as Sports Director for WOW Radio and WOW-TV (later known as WOWT-TV).

In 1970, he moved to KFAB Radio where he was part of the Nebraska football broadcasts for 22 years. Payne was part of the team that called the national championship seasons of 1970 and 1971.

Payne also spent decades as the public address announcer at the Nebraska State High School track meet.

He is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, and the Nebraska High School Foundation Hall of Fame.

Upon his retirement from the College World Series, then-NCAA Director of Championships Dennis Poppe said Payne brought an air of comfort to the announcing.

“I survived four organists and three press boxes,” joked Payne as he left the booth at Rosenblatt Stadium in 2000. “I’ll see you at Rosenblatt.”

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