Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

WBA Foundation to Sponsor U.S. Senate Debate

Posted On: September 27, 2016

Market/Moderator/Panelists Confirmed The 2016 U.S. Senate debate between Senator Ron Johnson and challenger Russ Feingold will be held at 7PM CDT on October 14, 2016 at the WLUK Fox 11 Studios in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The one-hour debate will be offered statewide to Wisconsin television/radio stations for live and/or delayed broadcast. “The WBA Foundation (WBAF)  is honored to continue our more than 25-year tradition of these important debates as part of the civic and political process,”  said President & CEO Michelle Vetterkind. For the first time, social media will be incorporated into the debate to allow input, although limited, from … Read More

Poynter Sensemaking Summit

Posted On: September 7, 2016
Program Date:  October 1, 2016

Presenters: Al Tompkins, Senior Faculty, Poynter Institute and Elissa Yancey, MSEd, Director, Special Projects McMicken College of Arts and Sciences – University of CincinnatiAs a journalist, you are bombarded by press releases, studies and political announcements. You need help sorting through what is real, what is noise and what is flat-out deception. The Poynter Institute is offering a half-day workshop to help you ask key questions that will make your reporting more reliable and make your journalism stand out from others who just report what they hear at a news conference. We will: Help you sort through promises and claims … Read More

Business Succession Options

Posted On: September 7, 2016
Program Date:  January 26, 2017

Presented by your WBA Foundation While most business owners do not like to think about, or plan for, the transition of their business, the fact remains that most businesses will ultimately be sold.  In fact, the oldest baby boomers are currently 70+ years old and the youngest baby boomers are 52+ years old—this demographic of aging baby boomers means an estimated 65% of all closely held businesses will change hands in the next decade.  If you are thinking about the future, either buying or selling, or just interested, this seminar will get you thinking about options. Business ownership can be … Read More


Posted On: September 7, 2016
Kyle Geissler
Kyle Geissler

My enthusiasm for the future of broadcasting always crests this time of year. This is the week my students start showing up to take me online class through UW-Whitewater, Journalism for the Web. We no longer have to emphasize to students the challenges facing traditional media. They’re well aware, but they’re interested in getting into this business. They see the challenges, and they want in. That’s what we need. The challenge for me, as a teacher and someone who is working in the business, is to educate them about the business without making them feel as though they’re working in the same … Read More

Internships: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Posted On: September 7, 2016
Sandy Ellis
Sandy Ellis

As I write this column in the middle of reviewing our summer internships, I was inspired to look back on the past 5-years of the best and worst of our students’ experiences. Like most journalism and communication programs, at UWRF we encourage students to participate in multiple internships. Journalism students take internships during their junior and senior years when they have developed practical skills desired by media organizations. During the internship our students submit a weekly journal entry describing their internship activities. The following came from recent journal submissions by our majors. “This week I was able to work on … Read More

Millennial Insight from a Millennial

Posted On: September 7, 2016
Reid Magnum
Reid Magnum

At the WBA Summer Convention, the Young Professionals held a seminar on Millennials.  So who exactly is a Millennial?  Each generation has a name, and it’s grouped by years.  The Silent Generation are those individuals born from 1928-1945, Baby Boomers from 1946-1964, Generation X from 1965-1980 and Millennials from 1980-2004.  Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the United States. As I listened to some of the questions asked it was clear that a lot of people in broadcasting could benefit from learning more about the wants, needs and expectations of Millennials.  Besides being part of this … Read More

Public Records and Open Meetings Seminar

Posted On: August 30, 2016
Program Date:  October 12, 2016 OR  October 26, 2016

Attorney General Brad Schimel encourages the public and government officials to save the date and attend upcoming Department of Justice (DOJ) seminars on public records and open meetings laws, hosted by the DOJ’s Office of Open Government. In June of 2015, Attorney General Brad Schimel established the Office of Open Government to ensure that the Department of Justice preserves the proud tradition of open government in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s open government laws promote democracy by ensuring that all state, regional and local governments conduct their business with transparency. Wisconsin citizens have a right to know how their government is spending their … Read More

Should we scrap website comments?

Posted On: August 24, 2016
Kyle Geissler
Kyle Geissler

Should we scrap website comments? NPR just did. The arguments against website comments are as follows: They’re uncivil. They add little value. They deter voices that might provide valuable viewpoints. They are provided by a small fraction of the total number visitors to a website. Proper moderation take away valuable staff time I can’t object to these arguments. They’re all valid, and I’m not at all surprised to see NPR scrap them. I expect more to do the same. I would object to something else I frequently hear from those who advocate for ending website comments: The conversation has moved to social … Read More

Are FB Changes Actually Hurting?

Posted On: August 15, 2016
Kyle Geissler
Kyle Geissler

Facebook has released a series of algorithm updates lately, but have they actually affected broadcasters? This article suggests that broadcasters have been mostly left unharmed by the changes. “…the changes have not had a noticeable effect on local news outlets publishing on their Facebook pages — in fact, many markets are seeing their best engagement numbers of 2016.”   That’s not to say that broadcasters won’t be affected in the future. It’s worth paying attention to your performance on a regular basis. The list of variables that affect performance on Facebook is a long one. The more time you spend with those … Read More

President’s Column

Michelle Vetterkind

Michelle Vetterkind

Is your station among the list of stations that participate in the WBA’s NCSA/PEP program?

The WBA’s NCSA/PEP Program is what allows your WBA to provide you with the majority of the many services/offerings we do.

To help provide you with an idea as to how reliant the WBA (like all State Broadcasters Associations) are on NCSA/PEP income, this graph shows the relative contribution of NCSA/PEP income to the overall WBA revenue budget for an average year. 

If you are on the list (and the majority of you, by far are) – THANK YOU!    If you are not on the list, I strongly urge you to take part in this important partnership.  Any questions as to how the program works, please feel free to me directly at mvetterkind@wi-broadcasters.org or give me a call at 800-236-1922.  I’d love to talk to you!

To highlight just a few of our upcoming events!

Saturday, October 1 – The Poynter Sensemaking Summit – Wisconsin has been chosen by the Poynter Institute as one of the few lucky states to offer this half-day program with Al Tompkins & Elissa Yancey.  The Summit will help make your reporting more reliable and will make your journalism stand out. 

October 13 – 15 – our Broadcasters Clinic.  As a matter of fact, it’s the 60th Anniversary of the Broadcasters Clinic.  You won’t to miss this Award-winning, 3-day regional event that last year drew attendees from 24 states.  I’d like to congratulate our own Linda Baun, Leonard Charles and the entire Clinic committee for again being recognized by the National Society of Broadcasters Engineers for the BEST Regional Convention!  Certainly well-deserved!  Make sure to send your engineers (and managers – come join us for the Exhibits – we’d LOVE to have you there!  You will NOT be disappointed.

Finally – in keeping with our time-honored tradition for the last (more than) 25 years, your WBA Foundation will be hosting a U.S. Senate Debate between incumbent Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold.   The debate will take place on Friday, October 14 – in the Green Bay/Appleton market.  As always, it will be offered statewide to Wisconsin television/radio stations for live broadcast.    

As we always encourage you to do during the August Recess, your WBA also helped facilitate several District Meetings with our Members of Congress.  Here are group photos from our meetings with Congresswoman Moore (4th District – Milwaukee) and Congressman Mark Pocan (2nd District – Madison).

Until the next issue of your Wisconsin Broadcaster, don’t forget to enjoy the pleasures our Wisconsin Fall season has to offer: the beautiful changing of the leaves (such a wonderful Wisconsin treat), football, cozy sweatshirts & sweaters, bonfires, and of course, spending time with friends and family.

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

Chair’s Column

Tom Allen

Tom Allen

These days, the average worker stays in his or her job for 4.6 years. That’s according to the most recent bureau of labor statistics numbers I could find.

Those same stats show that with younger workers, many of the folks we employ in our television and radio stations, the length of time spent in a job is even shorter. As a News Director friend of mine says, “I hire people for a living, and do a little TV News on the side.”

Which brings me to the subject of workplace longevity, and how our view of that continues to evolve. Most of us have a fair number of employees in our stations who have been there for decades. We often celebrate employee anniversaries of thirty or forty years, some even longer. I wonder what that will look like in a decade or two. Will a twenty year anniversary be the milestone that forty is today? I think that’s quite possible. And while we realize that the tradition of people spending an entire career with one organization is long gone, does that mean we need to be resigned to the fact that job hopping is the new norm?

While there will always be turnover, and a certain amount of that is actually healthy, I think most of us want to create a work environment where people truly enjoy being part of the team, and have no desire to leave.

First Call, an employee assistance program, notes that there are four key factors needed to create and maintain a positive work environment. They are:

  • Telling people what you expect of them.
  • Showing interest in your team members.
  • Creating an encouraging environment.
  • Recognizing and rewarding good performance.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Well, I’ll be the first to admit that when things get hectic, when budgets aren’t being met or I’ve spent a day on complicated HR issues, my next thought isn’t always to show interest in a team member, or reward someone’s good performance. Yet, that’s exactly what we should be doing on a consistent basis. It’s important to remind ourselves to not get so caught up in putting out fires that we neglect to shine a light on all the positive things happening around us each and every day.  

And since we started with the subject of longevity in the workplace, I’d like to recognize the significant longevity we have with our wonderful WBA staff. This year, Michelle celebrates 21 years with the WBA. And Linda and Liz each have more than a decade of service. I know I speak for all of you in thanking each of them for everything they do for our Association!    

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Larry McCarren, Hall of Fame Inductee 2016

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