Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

WBA Awards Gala sold out

Posted On: April 24, 2017


The WBA Awards Gala, scheduled for May 6 at the Madison Marriott West, is sold out.

The reception will begin at 5 p.m. with an open bar until 5:45 p.m. While drinks are complimentary only during the reception, there will be a cash bar available during the dinner and awards presentations. The dinner and awards presentations will begin promptly at 6 p.m.

This year’s theme is the Great Gatsby. I am told that there are some who NEVER have heard of The Gatsby.  For your inspiration, check out the following link  Have fun with it!  … Read More

Chippewa Valley broadcaster dies

Posted On: April 24, 2017
Michael Phillips
Michael Phillips

A lifelong broadcaster with a career in the Chippewa Valley has died.

Michael Anthony Phillips was born in Tennessee and started his broadcasting career in college, getting his first full time job in 1970 at WDGY in Minneapolis.

According to his obituary, in 1975 at the age of 27, Phillips bought WMNE-AM in Menomonie with a partner and started Phillips Broadcasting, which grew to six major stations in the Chippewa Valley.

During his career, Phillips supported many community organizations and charitable programs, in particular, the Toys for Tots program. He started a program in Dunn County in 1985 which has since expanded.  … Read More

WBA Media Technology Institute Lite

Posted On: April 24, 2017
Program Date:  June 13, 2017

The WBA Summer Conference in Sheboygan will feature a special one-day version of the Media Technology Institute designed to assist engineers in maintaining transmission systems, station compliance with the FCC, and reviewing critical skills and relationships.



10:00 AM:   Welcome with Michelle Vetterkind, WBA President & CEO
Welcome and Discussion of Schedule with Terry Baun
10:15 AM:   What can you expect to do as a Broadcast/Media Technologist?
11:00 AM:   RF Fundamentals for Radio/TV

Noon: Lunch

1:00 PM:    Basic FCC Compliance
2:00 PM:    People and Relationships –  … Read More

Tornado warning tests successful

Posted On: April 23, 2017

On April 20 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., two statewide tests of the Tornado Warning EAS code were conducted in Wisconsin.  The tests were highly successful, with all of the stations we were able to monitor across the state carrying both tests. The tests were originated independently by the five National Weather Service (NWS) offices that serve Wisconsin, and those NWS offices did a good job of issuing the tests at the exact same time in all areas leading to well synchronized tests statewide. This test day is another fine example of the close cooperation between your WBA and Wisconsin’s broadcasters,  … Read More

New resources for journalists covering racially sensitive issues

Posted On: April 20, 2017
NAB Awareness in Reporting

he National Association of Broadcasters, in a joint initiative with the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, recently unveiled an online toolkit entitled “Awareness in Reporting” to help journalists and newsrooms develop greater skill in covering race and racially sensitive news stories. The resource was unveiled at a kickoff event April 12 at the Newseum, which featured panel discussions with journalists and local leaders involved in recent race-related events.

The toolkit was created in response to increased news coverage of issues affecting communities of color stemming from civil unrest, including demonstrations following police-involved shootings and immigration reform protests,  … Read More

Walker Broadcast Management Institute names new graduates

Posted On: April 19, 2017

Nine new Walker Broadcast Management Institute graduates marked their end to the three year cycle of classes on April 20.

The graduates were serenaded with Pomp and Circumstance at the Fluno Center on the UW-Madison campus during a graduation ceremony. The students and recent Institute graduates heard from Deb Houden, PhD, an adjunct faculty member at the Wisconsin School of Business who talked about negotiation.

The graduation means nine positions are open for next year’s incoming class. The classes run in three year cycles, but students can join any year.

This year’s graduates are:

Bruce Barrows,  … Read More

Green Bay radio station marks 40 years

Posted On: April 11, 2017

A Green Bay radio station is celebrating 40 years on the air.

WIXX is on air at 101.1 FM and launched its current Top 40 format on Feb. 12, 1977.

To mark the occasion, the station played back memories submitted by past DJs, WIXX listeners and jingles from years past.

Boasting one of the largest FM signals in America, WIXX became known as “The Big One.”

“A radio station is merely a studio, some equipment, a transmitter and tower but when you add people, it becomes a living, breathing thing,” said Midwest Communications Vice President of Programming Jeff McCarthy.  … Read More

Move into future by sticking to your roots

Posted On: April 10, 2017
Terry Stevenson, Sales Manager, Seehafer Broadcasting

Generally speaking, people don’t need local radio to get the latest song from their favorite artist, or to hear new music from the next big star. With the Internet and the widespread use of smartphones, music is nearly always available anytime and anywhere. In the ever-changing, fast paced world of broadcast media, a question that can come up is simply, “Why local?”

It’s a great question, and as local leaders in the industry of broadcasting, it’s a question that each one of us should be taking very seriously. In order for local broadcast to remain current and relevant,  … Read More

Services set for 50-year Wisconsin radio veteran

Posted On: April 7, 2017

A memorial service is scheduled for a Wisconsin broadcaster who was in the business for 50 years.

Larry Jay “Hoien” started in radio in 1964 at KRAD in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. He worked at WAUK-AM in Waukesha, WRIT-AM and WYLO-AM, WEZW-FM and WFMR-FM in Milwaukee and joined WTKM in Hartford in 1997. He left WTKM last spring. During his career he was on air, recording commercials and selling advertising. He’s also done on-air work and booth announcing for WITI-TV.

A service is scheduled for May 6 from 1-4 p.m. a Schauer Arts Center, 147 N.  … Read More

President’s Column

Michelle Vetterkind

Michelle Vetterkind

I’m sure you’ll agree that there is no shortage of legislative issues affecting our industry at the moment. From the Incentive Auction Repack and Relocation, to Performance Tax,  to advertising deductibility, to retransmission consent, to openness issues, just to name a few. The list goes on and on. As always, know that your WBA is here to serve you, our valued members, and to advocate on your behalf. Advocacy has always been one of the most (if not THE most) valuable services your WBA provides. However, one crucial aspect of your WBA’s advocacy efforts are the relationships that YOU have with your elected officials (at both the state and federal levels). Never underestimate how very important those relationships are. Our WBA State Legislative Day and our WBA DC Trip are two such examples of how YOU shine and truly make a difference.   

Please join me in extending our appreciation to the following members of the Wisconsin State Legislature/Congress for their support of Wisconsin’s broadcasters:

Signed on to Local Radio Freedom Act

Congressman Glenn Grothman

Congressman Mike Gallagher

Congressman Ron Kind

Congressman Sean Duffy

Senator Ron Johnson



Signed on to the Yoder/Engle (Tax Deductibility Letter) – in our support

Congressman Glenn Grothman

Congressman Sean Duffy

Congressman Mike Gallagher

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner


Co-Sponsors – our Technical Fix Legislation for our Sales Tax Exemption
Rep. Joel Kleefisch (co-author)
Rep. Jill Billings
Rep. Ed Brooks
Rep. Steve Doyle
Rep. Andre Jacque
Rep. Scott Krug
Rep. Bob Kulp
Rep. Beth Meyers
Rep. Nick Milroy
Rep. Jeffrey Mursau
Rep. Lee Nerison
Rep. Todd Novak
Rep. Romaine Quinn
Rep. Keith Ripp
Rep. Ken Skowronski
Rep. Pat Snyder
Rep. Lisa Subeck
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt
Rep. Paul Tittl
Rep. Travis Tranel
Rep. Ron Tusler

Senator Howard Marklein (co-author)
Senator Janet Bewley
Senator Robert Cowles
Senator Jon Erpenbach
Senator Daniel Feyen
Senator Dave Hansen
Senator Devin LeMahieu
Senator Stephen Nass
Senator Lena Taylor
Senator Patrick Testin


If you haven’t signed up for your WBA’s Summer Conference events, please do so now!  I’m sure you’ll agree the Conference Committee did a wonderful job with the agenda. 

Please join me in congratulating our 2017 WBA Hall of Fame Inductees: Ben Beno, Leonard Charles, Bill Hurwitz, and Larry Meiller, and our Local Broadcast Legend Award Recipients: Ben Jakel, William “Bill” Lipman, Jack Martin, and Terry Stake.

I look forward to seeing you (and celebrating with you) in June at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan!

For now, enjoy the beautiful spring weather. 

And…..thank you, as always, for your time & support!

Chair’s Column


2017? Just You Wait!

2017 looks like a year in flux. A whole new administration is unpredictable. For us in the media, it can be a circus, in more ways than one. We have an unpredictable president, that’s for sure. Those who work for him are too. It appears the new FCC chair, Ajit Pai, plans to do some things that’ll make it easier for us to operate. The public file listener letters will go away, and even more changes are being discussed at the FCC that might make it easier for us to operate.

The funny thing is that those changes come and go, but it doesn’t seem to really make it any less work, it’s just a different kind of work. We don’t have to manually erase tape carts anymore, just push a key. 

Certainly there’s a lot to do in WBA, Our awards show has more than 1,700 entries, a record. We’re working on a project to honor Rick Jowett, our late photographer for a generation or two. We plan to be involved in Honor Flights again. This time we’re working with Vietnam vets. WBA will be working harder to replace the income lost when some NCSA clients cut budgets or simply went away. Budget cuts mean service cuts. But we’ll be working hard to replace that income or reduce services. You already know membership dues have increased. It was a long time coming. And the value surely matches the amount we now pay.

Each station will have work to do. The TV people have to deal with their spectrum project. Someone will have to get to the Legislature/Department of Revenue to change the sales tax picture to make sure any money spent by those stations becomes a deduction. The bill passed in the last legislature was faulty in that regard.

In radio, FM chips for cell phones are getting more plentiful. There were more than a thousand FM translators licensed to strengthen the signals of AM stations. That will probably start again.

The commission will probably work on cutting more of our red tape providing more flexibility to serve our audiences. The red tape needs to reflect the current marketplace, not 1977.

That’s my first newsletter to the membership. Hope to see you all in Sheboygan in June. And, thank you for your trust in electing me as WBA chair.

Featured Video

Chuck Roth, Hall of Fame Inductee 2016

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