Upper Midwest Emmy® Silver Circle Honoree – Angela Kennecke

Angela Kennecke
Sioux Falls, SD

Angela Kennecke / KELO-TV

Angela Kennecke is a veteran broadcast journalist and award-winning investigative reporter. Angela has anchored nightly newscasts for KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD for nearly 30 years. Her reporting has uncovered fraud and corruption, which has resulted in changes to state laws.

For three years, Angela investigated the “GEAR UP” grant scandal in South Dakota. She exposed lack of oversight and accountability with federal funds. Angela discovered that since 2005, $60 million dollars had been put into GEAR UP which was supposed to increase the number of Native American children going to college; yet there were no data to show that a single Native American student actually attended college because of the program. Public pressure following the GEAR UP investigation led to the creation of an accountability board within state government, as well as conflict-of-interest disclosures for those on boards and serving in public office. Angela’s investigations also helped military veterans get the Purple Hearts they deserved.

During one of Angela’s investigations, she met a small-town business owner who asked her to write his life-story. The Day His Heart Stopped Crying is an inspirational tale of second chances and has sold more than two-thousand copies. Angela also helped raise millions of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network as a telethon host and storyteller. She has emceed hundreds of events and served as keynote speaker for many conferences and gatherings. Angela received her master’s degree in Communications Management from Webster University in St. Louis. Angela served as an adjunct instructor for South Dakota State University in the journalism department for graduate and undergraduate courses.

Over the last decade, many of Angela’s investigative stories focused on the growing opioid crisis. On May 16, 2018, the day her own 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of an overdose, Angela was working on an investigation into Good Samaritan Laws and overdose deaths. Emily died of fentanyl poisoning. Angela has told Emily’s story nationally and internationally. Angela speaks tirelessly about the issues surrounding the opioid epidemic. Angela and her husband Jeff started a non-profit organization called “Emily’s Hope,” because they never gave up hope on their daughter and now want to offer hope to other families struggling with addiction.

Angela believes when tragedy and setbacks strike the only thing you have control over is your response. Angela’s response to the loss of her beautiful and beloved daughter is to turn heartbreak into action, by erasing the stigma surrounding addiction and advocate for more funding, better treatment and more research and understanding of the disease. With the support of her colleagues at KELO-TV, Angela also helped put together and host a one-hour special on the opioid crisis in South Dakota.

Angela and her husband Jeff have surviving children, Abby, Jordan and Adam. The family also has two dogs, Charlie & Skippy.