Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

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!