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State, national leader in broadcast engineering to retire

Posted On: July 27, 2017
State, national leader in broadcast engineering to retire- Leonard Charles

A chief engineer with a 29-year career at a Madison TV station, WBA Hall of Famer, and leader in broadcast engineering will retire in September.

Leonard Charles, known to most people as Chuck, worked at WISC-TV as the director of engineering for Morgan Murphy Media’s Midwest Division and was inducted into the WBA Hall of Fame in June.

Charles was heavily involved in influencing broadcast engineering in Wisconsin and the nation through his service on policy-setting committees. He served on the Technology Committee and the Next Generation Broadcast Platform Committee at the National Association of Broadcasters.  … Read More

Webinar: U.S. Auto Sales Receding in 2017

Posted On: July 26, 2017
Program Date:  August 8, 2017
John Tkac

John Tkac offers fresh selling strategies for the second half of 2017. The environment is perfect for broadcast and digital ad dollar shifts from one media preference to another. Protect your existing schedules and be at the top of the funnel for receiving new ad budget dollars.

According to USA Today on July 4, 2017 plunging sales of small cars and sedans and a steady decline in U.S. auto sales in the first half of 2017 promises to end the auto industry’s two-year streak of record sales. Your dealers are anxious to protect their recent years of record sales.  … Read More

Madison radio station raises money for breast cancer charities

Posted On: July 24, 2017
Madison radio station raises money for breast cancer charities 2

A Madison radio station raised more than $8,000 for breast cancer charities by hosting an inner tube ride down the Sugar River.

The “Boob Toob” event was held in June by WJJO at the Sweet Minihaha Campground in Brodhead. Participants each paid $25 to get a T-shirt and a tube to float three-and-a-half hours down the river.

Participants were returned to the campground and treated to live music and a bonfire.

About 600 people participated in this first year event.

Madison radio station raises money for breast cancer charities 3 Madison radio station raises money for breast cancer charities Madison radio station raises money for breast cancer charities 4  … Read More

State Bar to hold free legal workshop for reporters

Posted On: July 23, 2017
From user mconnors on Morguefile.
From user mconnors on Morguefile.

The State Bar of Wisconsin is holding a free reporters’ legal workshop for members of the Wisconsin media Sept. 8 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at the State Bar, 5302 Eastpark Boulevard, in Madison.

Participants will learn about new tools to help report on the criminal justice system, get tips from veteran journalists, lawyers, and judges, and gain insight into open records and open meetings laws. The sessions will also explore ongoing issues within Wisconsin’s justice system, including mass and disparate incarceration.

 A full day of panels and presentations is planned on the following topics:

  • Public Records:  How to Get the Records You Need
  • Media Law: Defamation,
  •  … Read More

Rep. Sensenbrenner proposes music licensing database

Posted On: July 21, 2017
Jim Sensenbrenner

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced a proposal this week to establish a database of licensing information for musical works and sound recordings.

The Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act is meant to help anyone using music look up the licensing status of the music to determine how they could use it legally.

“Across the country, businesses and establishments play or perform music for the enjoyment of their patrons, but the process of ensuring they are legally able to do so, as well as those who hold the license to the music or recordings being played are fairly compensated,  … Read More

Milwaukee radio stations collect five trucks of bottled water for flood victims

Posted On: July 20, 2017
Milwaukee radio stations collect five trucks of bottled water for flood victims

A group of Milwaukee radio stations helped flood victims in southeast Wisconsin by collecting five large semis full of bottled water.

iHeartMedia Milwaukee’s six radio stations started the effort after flash floods contaminated water wells leaving many residents in areas south and west of Milwaukee with no access to drinking water and without power.

iHeartMedia Milwaukee’s News/Talk 1130 WISN, FM106.1, 95.7 BIG FM, The Big 920, 97-3 NOW and V100.7 held the water drive on July 14 at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. On-air personalities Shannen O from FM106.1 and Producer Dave from 97-3NOW stopped by the Pettit Center to broadcast live during the event.  … Read More

Man involved in getting first TV station in Madison on the air dies

Posted On: July 17, 2017
Man involved in getting first TV station in Madison on the air dies (Herbert P. Jordan)

A Madison man involved in getting the first TV station in the city on the air has died.

Herbert P. Jordan moved to Madison in 1953 and went to work for WKOW-TV, where he helped get the station on the air, according to his obituary. He also worked for WTKM in Hartford, WISC-TV in Madison, and WHA-TV in Madison where he retired in 1990.

Jordan was a Prairie du Chien native, graduated from Hartford High School and got his engineering degree from North Central College in Illinois.

He was an amateur radio operator, using call sign W9LA.  … Read More

Radiothon helps charities serving children

Posted On: July 12, 2017
Radiothon helps charities serving children

Two Beaver Dam radio stations broke a record raising $126,852 through a radiothon for ten charities serving children.

The 20th annual WBEV-WXRO Children’s Radiothon started 6 a.m. June 22 and ended 27 hours later. It raised money through an on-air auction with items donated by local community members and advertising partners.

Money was collected with a fishing pole and a bucket on the roof of the radio station.

Radiothon helps charities serving children-2 Radiothon helps charities serving children-3

“When you think about how much (was raised) per-person, both in terms of the amount donated and how many dollars are impacting,  … Read More

Monona LPFM listeners can ‘adopt a watt’

Posted On: July 11, 2017
Monona LPFM listeners can ‘adopt a watt’

A Monona low-power FM radio station is encouraging listeners to “adopt a watt” as part of its first ever fundraiser.

The Friends of WVMO is selling naming rights for each of its 100 watts. A watt can be ‘adopted’ and named for $250 per watt.

“At WVMO, we have so few watts, each one could have a name!” said Will Nimmow, City of Monona Director of Community Media.

The Friends of WVMO use the money to defer the station’s start-up expenses and convert the WVMO newsroom into recording space. Funds raised will also be used to cover expenses related to sports coverage of Monona Grove High School away games and begin development of a mobile app.  … Read More

President’s Column

Michelle Vetterkind

Michelle Vetterkind

Busy summer features Pai visit, upcoming events

It was great to see so many of you at the Blue Harbor Resort for the WBA Summer Conference! I’m sure you’ll agree that our Conference Planning Committee did a great job in planning an event that was not only educational, but a lot of fun as well. We even had GREAT weather, unlike the last time we were at Blue Harbor.

Those who were in attendance at the Business Breakfast were able to hear from all the WBA Committee Chairs about the many great things your WBA Committees are working on for you, our valued members. As I mentioned in my remarks that morning, I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly highlight a few items that I happen to be extra proud of this year.


Your WBA was thrilled to host an event with new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Sen. Ron Johnson, who is also the Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. It’s definitely an exciting time for our industry, which was made apparent by the number of broadcast managers from all over the state who made the trip to Milwaukee for a Monday morning meeting.     

I enjoyed being able spend a bit of time with Chairman Pai and Sen. Johnson before the meeting to show off the WBA’s new Hall of Fame, complete with our fabulous touch screen video monitor, highlighting all 140 Hall of Fame videos.  I’ve since heard from both of them and, believe me, they were quite impressed with the Milwaukee meeting and our Hall of Fame.

Speaking of the WBA’s Hall of Fame, make sure to put next year’s Summer Conference on your calendars now, as it will take place June 20-21, 2018 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. We are so excited to have recently completed the video backlog; a major, multi-year project for your WBA and WBA Foundation.  Next year’s conference will provide the perfect opportunity to celebrate the new home for your WBA’s Hall of Fame. 


There’s an upcoming event that’s certainly near and dear to our hearts here at your WBA. While we’ve been working on it for some time now, our Rick Jowett Fellowship is finally coming to fruition. We’ve partnered with the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) to offer a Madison Driving Short Course to be held on August 18-19 on the UW-Madison campus right on Lake Mendota. This year’s short course is being held in memory of our own Rick Jowett. The event will also highlight the introduction of the Rick Jowett Fellowship. 

Your WBA Foundation has established a fund to support a Rick Jowett Fellowship as means to pay tribute to Rick Jowett, beloved photographer and long-time member of the WBA family who died in July 2015. The fellowship will assist aspiring professionals, dedicated career professionals of our member stations as well as students of the visual media with skills training and professional development. A very special thank you to those who have already contributed to this Fellowship (and for anyone else you would like to, just let us know).

Rick grew up in a media family. His grandfather was CEO of Forward Communications which owned several television stations throughout the country. His family was also involved in print media at the Wausau Herald. Rick began his career in high school as a photographer working for the Wausau Herald.

Rick completed his degree in journalism at UW-Madison in the late 70s. Following graduation, he started his career in broadcasting as a still photographer at WMTV-TV in Madison.  

Rick began working with the WBA in 1985 as our photographer, along with everything else he would help us with J.  He served graciously and unconditionally until his passing in 2015.

We hope you’ll consider joining us for this special event. 


Finally – make sure to join us for this year’s WBA – Doug Chickering – WIAA Sports Workshop. It will be held Aug. 3 and will feature a game between the Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.

I mean really, what’s better than a day at the ballpark?

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of summer. 

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

Chair’s Column


What makes a successful station?

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise. Risking more than others think safe. Dreaming more than others think is practical. And expecting more than others think is possible! You still need a few things – diligence and compassion – for employees and clients. Intelligence and some guts to do the basics as best as you can, and the perseverance to keep on doing. And getting back to the basics.

Some people think our vocations are doomed. Not so. Some think handing over radio/TV sales to a machine is very clever. Not so. Without delivering ideas to a client; without knowing a client’s needs and without bringing them solutions, nothing will happen. A machine can’t do it. But some owners have been so distracted they think machines are to replace people, not make people produce more which is what Mr. Watson (IBM) told us would happen. Unfortunately much of what some owners are doing might produce higher profits, but our short history teaches us that doesn’t happen either. Two large groups who tried it are ready for bankruptcy.

We serve three audiences: listeners, clients, and employees. Each is as important as the other. Good relationships between and among these groups is paramount. Selling advertising and producing results can be tough. It has daily ups and downs.

So, what makes a successful station? Success does. And how to achieve it? Work hard, think hard, and pay attention to everything around you.

When was the last time your sales manager spent a day or so in-field with salespeople, old and new? It’s not fun for either the manager or the salesperson unless the attitude is fun and educational. But it does produce results. And the client gets to create a better bond with the stations. You are there to solve his/her problems and he/she believes you will. When was the last time your air personalities had an air check? Have you ever tried bringing a client to a sales meeting where you have a bunch of experts at solving marketing problems? It’s magic. Ever take an air personality on a sales call? Those are the people the client listens to every day and is anxious to know them. That could help sell anyone. Ever brainstorm sales problems with program people. They’re pretty normal people and understand the problems and questions being raised. You’ll also soon see how problems between the departments fade away.

When did your management last do an INA (Individual Needs Assessment) with employees? It’s amazing what these will uncover for you and for the employee. At first, they’re not comfortable, but what effort is at first? Some of the best employee changes have come from these meetings. Not elimination of employees, but fulfillment for employees and the company.

A word about ratings: When will we start measuring what will produce results? It’s nice to know how many people are listening – it helps our egos. But doesn’t it make more sense to know how many widgets the client sells? After all, that’s why he/she’s advertising. The expense of ratings (and it’s way overpriced) is not doing its job. They’re based on potential not on successful results. It’s sad that we’ve drifted along all these years with half a loaf and paid through the nose for it. Local clients can tell you how many widgets moved off the shelf.

Our stations have great power in their hands. Passing fancies (digital, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can’t do it. We can. We can grow businesses. We can make a beginning dentist become someone who has to hire half a dozen more dentists. We can make the smallest credit union the largest home lender in town. We can help a plumbing supply business grow and expand from a small market to several larger ones.

We’ve done it. IT WORKS.

Featured Video

Bill Hurwitz, Hall of Fame Inductee 2017

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