Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Kiernan returns to WTMJ-TV in new role

Posted On: March 23, 2018

A former news director at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee is returning to the station in a new role.

Jeff Kiernan has spent the last 15 years working for CBS managing several legacy newsrooms around the country and is now returning to WTMJ-TV in a new leadership role as senior director of local content. He will oversee broadcast news operations for WTMJ-TV and the station’s digital and social media content strategies.

“It’s a full circle moment for me,” Kiernan said. “As passionate as I am about good reporting and powerful storytelling, I’m just as passionate about the Milwaukee area.  ... Read More

Public radio, TV to host State Supreme Court debate

Posted On: March 23, 2018

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Rebecca Dallett and Michael Screnock will discuss issues central to their campaigns for a seat on the state’s highest court in a debate that be will be broadcast statewide 7 p.m. Friday, March 30.

Live from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, the 2018 State Supreme Court Debate will be broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), and streamed online at wpt.org, wpr.org and WisconsinVote.org. The debate is presented by the partnership of Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio.

The debate will air less than one week before the general election on Tuesday,  ... Read More

Bellport to retire from WMTV-TV morning show

Posted On: March 22, 2018

Christine Bellport

WMTV-TV anchor and morning show host Christine Bellport will retire in mid-May. Bellport worked in television for 28 years, and was morning show anchor on NBC15 for 14 years.

Bellport’s broadcast career began in 1990 at WAGE Radio in Leesburg, Virginia, and she then worked at WTOP-FM in Washington, D.C. She also worked at KUSI-TV in San Diego and television stations in Tucson, Arizona, and Savannah, Georgia. She joined NBC15 in September 2004.

“From day one, Christine understood that she was here for the viewers– to tell their stories and keep them informed every morning. She allowed the viewers into her life and made sure she made an impact every day,” said Don Vesely,  ... Read More

Geisler to moderate GOP primary debate in Wausau

Posted On: March 22, 2018

Jill Geisler

Veteran television debate moderator and WBA Hall of Fame inductee Jill Geisler will moderate a WBA Foundation debate for Republican primary candidates in the U.S. Senate race. The debate is scheduled for Saturday July 21 at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast from WSAW-TV.

Geisler holds the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago. She’s from Wisconsin and was one of the first female news directors of a major market affiliate when she was news director at WITI in Milwaukee. She’s an author and travels widely to conduct seminars for newsroom managers and leaders.  ... Read More

Scripts available: Live code tests scheduled for April 12

Posted On: March 21, 2018

STARTING THURSDAY – APRIL 5, please air PSA’s (:15 & :30 scripts) for the Live-Code Tests (scheduled to take place on April 12).

In cooperation with Wisconsin Emergency Management, the National Weather Service will conduct two tests of the real Tornado Warning EAS Code, one in the afternoon and a second one in the evening, on April 12, 2018 as part of Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. The State of Wisconsin has received a waiver from the FCC to use the actual EAS Tornado Warning Code for these statewide tests. If there is a threat of severe weather at the time of the afternoon test,  ... Read More

WBA Foundation expands debates to statewide primaries

Posted On: March 19, 2018

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation is expanding its election year tradition of hosting broadcast debates by adding debates for this year’s statewide primary races. The hour-long debates for the Democratic gubernatorial race and Republican U.S. Senate race will be offered to radio and television stations across the state for live or delayed broadcast.   “The high level of interest in this year’s elections prompted us to organize debates for the hotly-contested statewide primaries,” WBA Foundation President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind said. “We are proud that Wisconsin’s broadcasters can bring the citizens forums that can help them be informed voters.”   The Democratic candidates for governor will debate Friday,

Website helps viewers know when to rescan for repack

Posted On: March 15, 2018

A FCC website can help television viewers know when they should rescan their televisions to avoid losing channels because of the spectrum repack.

The FCC’s DTV reception maps now include information on when stations are scheduled to change frequencies for the repack, which is when viewers will have to rescan their televisions to continue getting all of their channels.

The interactive map is available here:

Twenty-eight television stations in Wisconsin will be affected by the repack, which is the result of a recent spectrum auction. Viewers should know:

–No new equipment is needed
–Over-the-air viewers will have to rescan their channels after a station changes frequencies
–The frequency change does not mean stations will be changing channels.  ... Read More

Madison TV station welcomes new meteorologist

Posted On: March 14, 2018

Madison TV station WKOW-TV has a new meteorologist.

John Zeigler debuted Monday on 27 News weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.  He comes to Madison from WJZY in Charlotte, North Carolina where he was the chief meteorologist. His previous experience includes morning meteorologist at KOLR in Springfield, Missouri as well as positions at KQDS in Duluth, Minnesota, and KARE in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

Zeigler is originally from Minnesota and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Cloud State University.  ... Read More

Commercial, public radio teams up to highlight local hip hop

Posted On: March 13, 2018

A commercial radio station and public radio station are teaming up to produce a local hip hop show in the Chippewa Valley.

95.9 jamz (WEAQ) and Blugold Radio (WDRK) are collaborating on “Midwest Hip Hop” which will air Sundays at 9 p.m. on 95.9 jamz, and Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Blugold Radio 99.9 FM.

“Midwest Hip Hop” will focus on hip hop artists from the Chippewa Valley, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the rest of the upper Midwest. The show will also focus on up-and-coming artists and highlight hip hop concerts in the region.

“It is very important for us to reflect local hip hop music in our community,” 95.9 jamz Music Director Luc Anthony said.  ... Read More

If your station is a WBA member, so are you

Posted On: March 1, 2018

Michelle Vetterkind WBA President/CEO

We just came off a successful WBA Winter Conference and State Legislative Day and as I write this, we’re finalizing preparations for the WBA Student Seminar and the WBA DC Trip. These are a few of the many offerings and opportunities your WBA provides for our members.

Speaking of WBA membership, I have to share something with you that recently reminded me “Never Assume.”  Earlier this year, I overheard a comment made by someone who works at one of our WBA member stations. She was unaware that she was a member of the WBA. She assumed that just her station was a member. I have to admit that at first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I started to wonder how many others think the same thing.  I shared this at our January board meeting and many were struck by the thought… “I wonder if my employees know that they are members of the WBA?” Since then, we’ve tried to highlight “If your station is a member of the WBA, YOU are a member of the WBA.” You’ll notice it front and center on our e-newsletter we implemented this year. It was also mentioned during the Winter Conference and we will continue to do so at WBA events.  In the meantime, if you could please help us to spread the word on this at your stations, it would be most appreciated.   


Make sure to send your Young Professionals to The Toolbox!

It’s an event that’s been solely put together by our WBA Young Professionals Group (with a bit of oversite from Linda and Kyle in our office).  It will take place the day after our WBA Summer Conference this summer in Milwaukee. 

Many of our stations are stepping up with sponsorships for the event – as Hannah Anderson and Terry Stevenson from the WBA’s Young Professionals group made excellent presentations at both of our board meetings (Association and Foundation) and during the Business Luncheon at our Winter Conference.

I know they are still accepting sponsorships.  What a great way for you, our valued member stations, to show your support for the future of our industry!


The WBA Walker Broadcast Management Institute will take place April 17- 19 on the UW-Madison campus. The Institute, which is in its 21st year, is the first of its kind to be sponsored by a state broadcasters association. This year’s event has been sold out since Jan. 23, which is surely a sign of a highly successful event. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Joan Gillman, who has coordinated the program since its inception.  We’re grateful that Joan really likes us and, despite her Emeritus status at the School of Business, UW-Madison, she’s willing to continue to work with us on the program, securing top-notch sessions and speakers each year. Make sure to register early for next year’s Institute. You’ll be glad you did, as these 128 graduates can attest to.

I look forward to seeing many of you over the next several months at one of our many WBA events: Walker Broadcast Management Institute, WBA Awards Gala, WBA Summer Conference…and that’s only the first half of the year.

Thank you, as always, for your time and support!  We wouldn’t do what we do without YOU, our valued members. Don’t forget that if your station is a member of the WBA, YOU are a member of the WBA.

Chair: Get involved in the WBA

Posted On: February 15, 2018

It’s an honor to represent you this year as your WBA Chair!

I don’t have any magical formulas to share with you for prosperity or success, but I will use my first column to ask one thing of you and your staff this year: ENGAGE with your WBA.  Perhaps like you, I spent some of my early years as a Wisconsin broadcaster vaguely aware of the work being done by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. I attended some award galas and dutifully showed up for EEO seminars so I could claim license credit. Doug Kiel, himself a former WBA Chair and one of Wisconsin’s own broadcast treasures, encouraged me to get more involved. It didn’t take long for me to better appreciate the work WBA (and the WBA Foundation) was doing on our behalf. In an industry with challenges aplenty, your WBA is working daily to advocate for us so we can compete in a changing marketplace; train us so our teams are better prepared to conduct commerce and serve our communities and represent us so that others see and hear the important things we are doing in Wisconsin.

I assumed there were a few passionate people driving all this work, and I was grateful for their commitment to us.  Now, looking back, I realize that “those passionate people” must be us. You and me. Your staffs. Your colleagues. Your competitors. If you believe as I do, that our future is bright but comes with all manner of new challenges and opportunities, then I ask you to ENGAGE with your state association in a big way.

  • Come to our winter and summer conferences (…and bring a bunch of your people with you).
  • Attend the many workshops and seminars WBA provides.
  • Offer to serve on our board of directors or on one of our committees.
  • Support our primary fundraising mechanism, the NSA/PEP program, by running the spots on your stations in strong rotations.
  • Help us influence policy and law by lobbying with us on Legislative Days in Madison and in Washington, D.C.

I’m honored to be your WBA Chair this year, and I’m grateful that you hung with me this far in my first column. Please reach out to me (steve.wexler@scripps.com) or any of your WBA staff if you’d like to be more involved and more engaged. We need you, we value you, and I hope we can count on you to become part of those passionate people driving service and excellence on behalf of Wisconsin’s broadcasters.

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