Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

SBE President Elect Leifer to speak at Broadcasters Clinic

Posted On: September 21, 2017
Jim Leifer

The incoming President of the Society of Broadcast Engineers will visit Madison in October to speak at the WBA’s Broadcasters Clinic.

Jim Leifer will be speaking after lunch on Oct. 11, the second day of the clinic.

Leifer has a diverse career in radio, TV and IT management. He is the Senior Manager for Broadcast Operations with American Tower Corporation. Leifer was previously VP of Engineering for iHeartMedia/Clear Channel South Florida and before that he was the VP of Engineering for Ion Media/Paxson Communications.

Leifer is a Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer (CPBE),  … Read More

Red Cross offers hurricane-related PSA materials to stations

Posted On: September 19, 2017

Radio and TV stations in Wisconsin can help the American Red Cross spread the word about the need for hurricane relief after hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the potential arrival of Hurricane Maria.

Public service announcement materials are available from the Red Cross at this site: http://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/media-resources/public-service-advertising

There stations will find:

  • TV PSA’s
  • Pre-recorded radio
  • Live read scripts
  • Web banners
  • Print ads
  • Outdoor advertising

Additional resources include:

Professional photos at: Redcross.org/photos

If you search Hurricane Harvey and then “Carol Miller” you will see Wisconsin nurse Carol Miller from Rhinelander.  … Read More

Madison TV station raises $120,000 for hurricane relief

Posted On: September 18, 2017

A Madison TV station helped the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross raise $120,000 for hurricane relief during two 18-hour telethons.

WKOW earlier held a telethon for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raising about $95,000. On Sept. 13, the station held a second telethon for victims of Hurricane Irma. The two events together raised more than $120,000 for Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief.

“Our wonderful viewers took the time to pick up the phone to be part of the solution to these natural disasters,” WKOW news Director Ed Reams said. “We cannot thank them enough for their generosity.”

Madison-TV-station-raises-$120,000-for-hurricane-relief-(5) Madison-TV-station-raises-$120,000-for-hurricane-relief Madison-TV-station-raises-$120,000-for-hurricane-relief-(2) Madison-TV-station-raises-$120,000-for-hurricane-relief-(3) Madison-TV-station-raises-$120,000-for-hurricane-relief-(4) Madison-TV-station-raises-$120,000-for-hurricane-relief-(7)  … Read More

NCSA/PEP program offers many benefits

Posted On: September 15, 2017
By Alvimann on Morguefile
By Alvimann on Morguefile

The following information discusses some of the advantages offered by the NCSA/PEP programs that are run by the WBA and other state broadcasters associations.  If your station is not airing the NCSA/PEP spots we send you, please give this article your consideration and then contact the WBA office.  Your WBA, and your colleagues, would welcome your participation and support.

The NCSA/PEP Programs established by the various State Broadcasters Associations have remained strong over the decades because of three factors: 

1) the long-held belief of all participants, including all state broadcasters associations, their member stations and all NCSA/PEP sponsors,  … Read More

Wisconsin broadcasters represented at NAB Small Market TV Exchange

Posted On: September 14, 2017
Wisconsin broadcasters represented at NAB small market TV exchange

Wisconsin’s TV stations were represented this week at the NAB Small Market Television Exchange in Denver.

During the conference, WBA President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind caught up with Morgan Murphy Media owner Elizabeth Murphy Burns and NAB Executive Vice President, Television and president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation Marcellus Alexander.

Burns is one of the founders of NAB’s Small Market Television Exchange and is a WBA Hall of Fame member.

“The NAB Small Market Television Exchange is one of the best programs the NAB puts on each year,” Vetterkind said. “Burns played a huge role in making this event the vital conference it is today.”  … Read More

Wausau area broadcasters help raise money for families of shooting victims

Posted On: September 13, 2017
Wausau TV stations raise $331K for shooting victims

TV and radio stations in the Wausau area were part of a fundraising effort to benefit the families of four people who were killed in a string of shootings in the Wausau area.

The four people were killed March 22 in separate but connected shootings in three different Marathon County communities.  Dianna Look, 67, and Karen Barclay, 62, were killed while working at Marathon Savings Bank in Rothschild. Sara Quirt Sann, 43, was killed at her law office at Tlusty, Kennedy and Dirks in Schofield. Detective Jason Weiland, 40, of the Everest Metro Police Department, was fatally shot while responding to the final crime scene at the Aspen Street Apartments in Weston.  … Read More

EEO credit available by supporting WBA Foundation Scholarship

Posted On: September 13, 2017
wbf-scholarships CROPPED

Your WBA can help you earn non-job vacancy specific menu option initiative credits for EEO compliance through support of WBA Foundation scholarships.

The scholarships are offered to worthy students on an annual basis. The application process is currently underway with a deadline of Oct. 13.

To obtain one full “Menu Option Initiative” credit per two year period, each SEU should:

1) Once every two years – donate to the Foundation (earmarked for scholarships) a minimum of $100 for radio SEUs with one or two stations, a minimum of $200 for radio SEUs with three or more stations,  … Read More

NAB President, CEO extends contract to 2023

Posted On: September 12, 2017
Gordon Smith
Gordon Smith

The National Association of Broadcasters has extended the contract of president and CEO Gordon Smith through March 31, 2023.

Smith became the NAB’s CEO in November 2009, succeeding David Rehr, who resigned suddenly in March of that year after three-and-a-half years heading the group. His predecessors included Eddie Fritts, who served for 23 years, and Vincent Wasilewski, who headed NAB for 17 years.

By 2023, Smith will have headed the group for nearly 14 years.

In announcing the extension, NAB Joint Board chair Caroline Beasley said, “Gordon Smith has shown a steady hand guiding America’s local radio and television stations through the public policy challenges of Washington.  … Read More

Jingles from 1964 promote radio

Posted On: September 11, 2017

Check out these great NAB radio jingles from May 1964.

   … Read More

President’s Column

Michelle Vetterkind

Michelle Vetterkind

WBA tackles legislative issues, adds new staff member

I’m pleased to announce that on Sept. 5, Kyle Geissler joined the WBA on a full-time basis as WBA’s Director of Operations & Public Affairs. 

Vice President, Linda Baun and NCSA/PEP Coordinator, Liz Boyd join me in congratulating Kyle and welcoming him in this new full-time role with the WBA Team.

The transition was part of the restructuring module of your WBA’s Long-Range Plan.  As part of the transition, Kyle worked on a contractual part-time basis for the WBA for the past year as WBA’s Director of Communications while also working for Morgan Murphy Media. 

Kyle has been working in broadcasting for 15 years in Wisconsin radio and television newsrooms and most recently as managing editor of Channel 3000 at WISC-TV in Madison.  He has been involved in the WBA since joining the awards committee in 2008.

Kyle Geissler

Kyle Geissler

He studied radio at UW-Oshkosh and has a graduate degree in mass communication from UW-Whitewater. He has worked in news for KFIZ in Fond du Lac and WCLO/WJVL in Janesville as well as the Janesville Gazette. He’s always been part of a broadcast newsroom, even when his focus was on digital and social media.

“Broadcasting is more than a business. The broadcaster’s commitment to serve our local communities is what has always motivated me and is what drives me to serve our industry through the WBA,” Kyle said.

Your WBA Team looks forward to serving you, our valued members, as we move into this new and exciting phase of WBA history. 


August was a busy time on the legislative front for your WBA.  Hopefully, shortly after you read this, we’ll have some good news for you on our state legislative initiatives. On the federal side, I was also able to meet recently with all ten of our Congressional offices in DC.

A variety of issues were discussed with our members of Congress, including:

  • Despite Microsoft’s full court press to get members of Congress nationwide to sign on to their Microsoft TV White Space letter, we were able to keep all but one of our 10 members from signing on. Microsoft was once again attempting to secure free TV spectrum for a nationwide channel they want to use for unlicensed wireless devices. They characterized it as a boon for rural broadband deployment, failing to mention that it would do so at the expense of rural America’s lifeline local TV service. Microsoft, a $540 billion company, declined to purchase spectrum in the auction which netted about $7 billion for the federal government. 
  • Wisconsin’s own Congressman Sensenbrenner introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing & Ownership Act (H.R. 3350). This legislation would establish a comprehensive and authoritative database of music copyright ownership and licensing information. For broadcasters, this licensing information would be particularly helpful to know what works are in the repertoires of the PROs (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and now, GMR).

I would like to thank those of you who met with members of Congress during the August recess while they were back in your districts. We always encourage you to make the most of any opportunity you have to meet with your elected officials, on the state and federal levels.  Never underestimate the value in establishing these relationships. 


Last, but certainly not least, Oct. 10-12, our Broadcasters Clinic.  You won’t want to miss this award-winning, three-day regional event that last year drew attendees from 11 states. I’d like to congratulate our own Linda Baun, recent WBA Hall of Famer Leonard “Chuck” Charles, and the entire Clinic committee for once again putting together a top-notch agenda. Be sure to send your engineers and managers. Join us for the exhibits. We’d LOVE to have you there!  You will NOT be disappointed.

Thank you, as always, for your time & support!

Promoting cohesion between programming, sales


There’s an age-old problem in radio stations. That is a chasm between sales and programming. Some have solved it by making both departments very important and respectful of each other. It’s a subject I wanted to address. But our programming consultant, Tim Moore, said it better, so I’ll relinquish space for Tim:

Tim Moore

Tim Moore

If you think about it, radio is the only business with two completely different sets of customers; only Alpo Dog Food can make that claim. Today, we may be farther apart than ever and there are a thousand reasons why. Because we’d rather it not be true doesn’t change anything.

Our firm’s programming history has ranged from market rank No. 1 to No. 251. The scope may change, the process never does. Today with large groups in high seas, you have to wonder how much “development” is going on, or how much either side of the building really understands about the other. We hear it often, though the tenor and severity ranges from tolerably typical to toxic (“sales pukes,” “talent egomaniacs,” and other endearing references). The greater question asks, “Why does leadership tolerate this stand-off?” In theory, it’s costing radio a lot of gross revenue and on the other side, through more subtle nuances, talent performance, and ratings.

As an owner of stations earlier in my career my staff was required to do a “changing socks” exercise with regularly scheduled rotation. It went like this: the seller who occasionally drifted into the “if it weren’t for him…” mantra referencing a talent, or the talent who quipped “all he/she cares about is making money” (duh). We kept this to a minimum and those who knew our stations and remember them today will attest to the high level of play in our buildings, thank to our people and their leadership. So, select talent and sales people would study each other’s’ roles.

A seller would be required to come into the studio at 6 a.m. joining the morning show. Following that experience the seller would usually say, “My God, I had no idea…like air traffic control in there, can’t believe what it takes” and other superlatives. Then an air talent would be asked to accompany a seller to a bona fide first encounter where a seller was asked to do a client needs assessment. One really good afternoon guy came back from a call, popped into my office and recapped: “I got queasy guts, just watching the handshake. I can’t believe how she deflected the pressure and convinced the guy to accept another meeting to hear a campaign proposal!”

I suppose we could reduce it to the blunt premise: the sales team’s job is to get the money, the client’s job is to keep it. If talent understood revenue-producing pressure while at times is unnerving, it’s a pretty cool way to become a media professional.

If sellers understood only a small percentage of human beings will ever go into a control room and filet themselves in front of the neon Nielsen scoreboard, often with all the security of the Flying Wallendas, they’d acquire more understanding and empathy for that side of their building.

Some traditional greats such as Cox, Susquehanna, Lincoln Financial, New City and Bonneville seemed to really understand that when relationships broke down, business broke down. Talent or seller, you were required to understand. Today we’ve seen a few buildings where the divide is so toxic one wonders how the cluster survives. Then a week later we’ll be unduly impressed with how much collaboration and empowerment appears to exist in a given cluster with resulting pride in ratings and revenue.

If this sounds “preachy” so be it. The responsibility of an exceptional radio manager is to create the basis for hope with his or her sales department, while acknowledging and inspiring their programming staff. In comparison, nothing else matters.

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