I am pleased to have had the honor of serving as Chair of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation during 2016. The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation (WBAF) has had another productive year under the leadership of Michelle Vetterkind. I am happy to report that your Foundation is in great shape and well positioned to be a strong partner with the WBA during 2017.
Communication with the WBA membership and the WBA board has become consistent and effective through Foundation reports in the WBA newsletter, my attendance at most WBA executive committee meetings and all WBA board meetings. WBAF reports presented at WBA board meetings continue to provide an excellent opportunity for WBA board members to provide direct feedback and guidance regarding the Foundation’s core activities of fundraising, public affairs, education and historic preservation. The WBA and WBAF joint board meeting that is held prior to the start of the summer convention provides the members of both boards the opportunity to communicate directly with one another.
WBANewsroom.com successfully launched Student Storytellers in January of this year under the stewardship of Dean Maytag, Susan Lewandowski and Tim Morrissey. There has been a wonderful response to this new element of the WBANewsroom. There are 10 state colleges and universities participating and students have submitted 35 stories (so far) for all of us to review and comment on. This project provides the WBA membership with a means to evaluate student journalists who hope to be a part of Wisconsin broadcast newsrooms upon graduation. It is also a wonderful opportunity for newsrooms across the state to learn more about how to package and present news to the generation of people that will be the future consumers of the content the WBA membership produces. Your feedback to these students is important to their understanding of the world of broadcast and digital news platforms. The WBANewsroom can be a daily resource for member newsrooms and an excellent recruitment resource. Please the time to visit the WBANewsroom and see the great work of Tim Morrissey and the student journalists in our state schools.
The Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame Video Kiosk that is a part of the Wall of Fame that was officially opened for display at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center in April of 2015 has been completed. There is now a video to tell the story of all 136 WBA Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame display is open to public 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The wonderful exhibition of the Hall of Fame plaques in the hotel’s main corridor is just up the steps from its main entrance. The kiosk is prominently located and visitors can easily search and view a Hall of Fame member presentation highlighting their contributions to Wisconsin broadcasting. Please make a point of visiting the Hall of Fame display at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Thank you to Susan Lewandowski for planning, populating and programming the Kiosk and to Jane Bartell and her talented team of producers/videographers for their work completing the Hall of Fame video backlog.
The U.S. Senate debate held in October was very successful. The citizens of Wisconsin were provided with a terrific venue to evaluate the candidates. The debate structure, established in 2014, allowed the membership in Green Bay/Appleton to work together to produce and distribute the program. A Social Media Desk was incorporated as a “member” of the panelist group to allow citizen participation via social media. The program was produced under the direction of WBA board member and WLUK News Director Juli Buehler and her team. WLUK was the host station for the debate. The program was once again a huge undertaking and would not have been possible without the cooperation and contributions of our member television and radio stations in Green Bay/Appleton. The Foundation is grateful for the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in the production of the debate.
The Foundation has been exploring with the WBA a means to pay tribute to Rick Jowett, beloved photographer and member of the WBA family who died in July of 2015. Michelle Vetterkind and I have been seeking a means to fund a fellowship in Rick’s name. We hope to establish a means for photojournalists of our member stations to apply for financial support that will allow them to participate in workshops or other training to further develop their skills. We hope to introduce this opportunity for growth in 2017.
The Foundation remains strong under the direction of Michelle Vetterkind. We are seeking opportunities to extend our support of Association initiatives that will increase the visibility of the contributions and role that broadcasting and broadcasters make and have in the State of Wisconsin and beyond. We need your financial support so that we can continue to help establish a lasting legacy for our Association and its Members. As a part of your financial planning, please consider a contribution to the WBA Foundation and/or becoming a member of the Foundation Legacy Club. All levels of giving are needed and are beneficial to our mission. Please contact the WBA for information about how to make your contribution with a check or credit card.
David Sanks, Chair
Wisconsin Broadcaster Association Foundation