Jul 20, 2018 02:19PM
By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman
The magazine celebrates 36 years of production in 2018. Lemke began the company in 1983, two years after graduating from UNL with a degree in journalism, with the purchase of an alternative newspaper called City Slicker. He turned the publication into a “slicker,” transitioning it immediately into a four-color glossy magazine. Upon discovering that advertisers wanted to appeal to people “past the party age,” he transitioned City Slicker into a free magazine titled Omaha Today.
Lemke wanted to continue growing, and his next move, in 1987, was to purchase a monthly publication titled Our City, which listed local places to shop, eat, and be entertained—an ideal publication to place in hotels around our city.
By this time, Lemke’s friend Greg Bruns began working with him in advertising sales. Bruns, having difficulty selling for a rather generically-named publication, asked Lemke to think about changing the name of Our City. That thought became a reality in 1989 when the preferred name, Omaha Magazine, became available.
There has been an Omaha Magazine in the area since 1890, but in the late 1980s, the registration on the name lapsed, and Lemke grabbed the chance to gain the perfect name for the company while merging his two publications.
Others believed Omaha Magazine to be the perfect name for the company, also. With a less generic name, the sales staff was able to increase revenue, which resulted in more content for the magazine. The editorial staff used the extra room to print profiles of people and more in-depth features about the community.
Along the way, the family-owned company has retained a family-friendly atmosphere. At least four employees currently hold the last name Lemke—brother Tyler, niece Sarah, nephew Alex, and Todd’s mother, Gwen. Many children of the employees have held summer jobs or internships, even becoming full-time employees themselves.
Today, nearly 30 employees adhere to the company’s core values of community, respect, passion, integrity, creativity, and excellence—driven by the desire to tell the best stories in Omaha.
And it does. The magazine has won several awards for staffers' work, most recently the 2018 Magazine of the Year award, won by the creative staff from the Great Plains Journalism Awards in Oklahoma. In 2017, creative director Bill Sitzmann won Magazine Photographer of the Year, and nearly swept the magazine photography award categories, at the Great Plains Journalism Awards.
“We are a read, not a flip,” Lemke says. “We are a rare combination of informative, entertaining material, great design, and incredible photography. Because of that, we have a highly educated reader.”
Those readers include everyone from millennials to members of the greatest generation. Each issue brings readers people profiles, arts and culture stories, food-related reports, multiple event calendars, home articles, and unique features.
“It's about all of us,” Lemke reiterates.
5921 S 118th Cir. Omaha, NE 68106 402.884.200 omahamagazine.com
This sponsored content appears in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.