Leta Powell Drake

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Leta Powell Drake

Leta Powell Drake is a Nebraska celebrity who has a lifetime career in broadcast television as host, producer, writer, announcer and program director. During her 60-year professional broadcasting career, she hosted and produced over 10,000 television shows. She continues hosting Live & Learn, a program for seniors on 5 City TV in Lincoln, NE. She has been inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Press Women's Hall of Fame. She has acted in more than 100 plays and 2 movies.[1] She has been the featured speaker or emcee for hundreds of civic and social groups. She is a licensed private pilot. She is a former member of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE). She is also one of the creators of the Star City Holiday Parade. She has won city championships in horseshoe pitching, golf and bowling.

A member of the Screen Actor's Guild, Drake serves on the boards of the University of Nebraska College of Fine and Performing Arts; UNL Alumni Association; Osher Life Long Learning Institute at UNL; Lincoln General Hospital Auxiliary; Mayor's Film Commission; Muscular Dystrophy Association; Lincoln Advertising Federation; Lincoln Community Playhouse; Theatre Arts for Youth; YMCA; The Salvation Army; 99's (Women pilots); Nebraskans for Public Television; Nebraska Public Radio; and many others.


Program Director (28 years)

Purchased and scheduled programs

Writer, producer, on-air host

Public Affairs, Director of Children's Programming, Director of talent development and sales. Hosted and produced the 10/11 Morning Show for 25 years. She interviewed over 1,000 movie and TV celebrities, humanitarians and two presidents.

Kalamity Kate

In 1967, Leta Powell Drake created the character of Kalamity Kate, the West’s only lady sheriff for 15 years on Cartoon Corral. This program had a large audience from across Nebraska. “Cartoon Corral” went off the air in 1982, but Drake said hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t refer to the show.

Nebraska Public Television[edit]

Assistant Network Program Manager (13 years)[2]

Programmed the 9 station state network and cable system

Drake became the spokesperson for Nebraska Public Television (NPT) through their fund drives and auctions. While she was programming manager, NPT reached all time highs in membership and donations.

Salvation Army[edit]

Director of Development and Community Relations.[3]

Other Experience[edit]

  • American Public Radio: Wrote and produced stories on business and economics for nationally syndicated show "Marketplace"
  • The Family Channel Cable Television: Set up interviews and location shoots for series called "American Snapshots"
  • KLIN Radio, Lincoln, NE: Writer, producer, on-air host of talk shows
  • WUHF-TV, Milwaukee, WI (now called WXIX): Writer, traffic, talent
  • KDAL TV, Duluth MN, (now called KDLH) CBS affiliate: Writer, talent, receptionist
  • Swanson, Sinkey, Ellis Advertising, Lincoln, NE: Writer, producer, talent for radio and TV
  • Harney Advertising, Lincoln, NE: Writer, producer, talent for radio and TV
  • Golds/Brandeis, Lincoln, NE: Radio and Television Director


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Minnesota, Speech and English
  • Master of Arts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Theatre Arts
  • Post-graduate work in Theatre Arts
  • Post-graduate work in UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications at UNL

Awards and Recognition[edit]

* Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, August 2010

  • Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
  • Life Membership Award Lincoln General Hospital Auxiliary, October, 2002
  • Mayor's Arts Award “Sam Davidson Award in Theatre,” May, 2001
  • “Lady Vestey Gracious Lady Award,” Superior, Nebraska, May 2001
  • “Golden Grid Award” from Trac Media for largest increase in ratings of any PBS station in country over a three-year period, 1997
  • “PBS Development Award” First Place for raising the greatest dollar percentage increase during yearlong pledge drives than any PBS station in the system, 1997
  • “Abe Lincoln Award” Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission for Service to the Community, presented by Bob Hope
  • Who's Who in American Women
  • Friend of Nebraska Award, Seward Chamber of Commerce: grand marshal in 4 July parade
  • Salvation Army's “Bonnet Award” of distinction for service to others
  • Television Bureau of Advertising: First Place Award for best locally produced TV commercial in the US
  • Lincoln Advertising Federation: First Place Award for best locally produced TV commercial
  • "Best Actress" award five times at University of Nebraska Theatre
  • "Elsie" Award, Outstanding Performance Award six times at the Lincoln Community Playhouse
  • "Aldo" Award Men's Fashion Association of America: First place seven times for the best local television coverage of men's fashions in the country
  • All Women's' Transcontinental Air Race Powder Puff Derby: Placed twice in the top ten and piloted a single engine aircraft across the US four times

Community Involvement[edit]

  • Salvation Army: Chair of the Board for 7 years; Member over 35 years
  • Lincoln Community Playhouse Board of Directors: Vice President, Chair of Programs Committee, two terms
  • University of Nebraska Alumni Association: Board of Directors. Chair of Awards Committee, two terms
  • University of Nebraska College of Fine and Performing Arts: Alumni Board Past President (Currently serving 4th term)
  • University of Nebraska OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute): Chair of Fine Arts Committee
  • University of Nebraska Foundation: Fund the Leta Powell Drake Best Actor Award annually
  • University of Nebraska Theatre: Purple Masque
  • UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications: Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism Honorary
  • UNL Alumni Association Cather Circle
  • Mayor's Committee on International Friendship
  • Friendship Force of Lincoln: Ambassador of goodwill to foreign countries


  1. ^ Leta Powell Drake on IMDb
  2. ^ "Hall of Fame Members". June 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Salvation Army News Release" (PDF). May 13, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2014.