Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Mike, Patty O’Brien join Legacy Club

Posted On: February 22, 2019
Mike and Patty O’Brien
Mike and Patty O’Brien

The VP/General Manager of WCLO/WJVL in Janesville, Mike O’Brien, and his wife Patty, have joined the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation’s Legacy Club.

The Legacy Club was formed in 1998 to provide a formal procedure and recognition for those who make bequests or agree to make bequests to the WBA Foundation in their wills. 

For more information on how to join the Legacy Club, please contact Foundation President Michelle Vetterkind.  ... Read More

46 year veteran of WKBT-TV dies

Posted On: February 21, 2019
Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson, a longtime colleague of employees at WKBT-TV in La Crosse, has died.

Johnson worked at WKBT for 46 years. He retired in 2014. Many will remember him as WKBT’s weatherman in the days long before computers came to dominate the weather department. He was also the voice of many announcements on WKBT over the years.

His colleagues at the station say the word most commonly associated with Johnson is “gentleman.”

Johnson died Tuesday. He was 78.

Remembering Larry Johnson from WKBT-News 8 on Vimeo.  ... Read More

Marquette student to be recognized for leadership

Posted On: February 21, 2019
Tara Schumal
Tara Schumal

The general manager of the student-run television station on the Marquette University campus will be honored with the WBA Student Leadership Award.

Tara Schumal stood out right away as a leader, according to MU Director of Student Media, Mark Zoromski, who described how Schumal taught students who were new to the station.

“She was patient and kind and engaging, and her face beamed with delight as she watched her technical staff succeed,” he wrote.

Zoromski said Schumal was instrumental in making needed changes to the station’s culture. He described her as tough but graceful.  ... Read More

Webinar: The Danger of Broadcasters Being Tone Deaf to Internet Marketing Demands

Posted On: February 21, 2019
Program Date: March 12, 2019

What does a broadcast seller need to know to compete in today’s digital-minded world? How can you position broadcast to advertisers who are starting to favor digital advertising? What are the most successful complimentary digital/broadcast sales packages that really work? These questions and more will be covered in this informative session which is perfect for General Managers, Local Sales Managers, Digital Managers, and broadcast and digital sellers from stations of all sizes.

Presented by Mark Landon, LBS Digital Expert, Founder & Managing Principal of Recrue Media  ... Read More

Lavin named WBA Chair

Posted On: February 20, 2019

Steve Lavin, WBAY-TV, Green Bay, took the position of WBA Chair during the WBA Winter Conference Business Luncheon at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

Lavin replaces Steve Wexler, Good Karma Brands, Milwaukee, who finished his term as chair and will now serve as immediate past chair for the coming year.

The rest of the officers for 2019 are as follows:

Vice Chair-Radio/Chair-Elect
Chris Bernier, Radio Plus, Marinette/Fond du Lac

Vice Chair-TV
Don Vesely, WMTV-TV, Madison

Lupita Montoto,  ... Read More

4 Wisconsin lawmakers cosponsor Local Radio Freedom Act

Posted On: February 20, 2019

Four Congressmen from Wisconsin are among a bipartisan group of 124 Members of Congress supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act. The resolutions in the House of Representatives and the Senate oppose “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations.

Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI-3), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6), Sean Duffy (R-WI-7), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) are among the 119 House cosponsors.

The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) signals Members of Congress’s opposition to any potential legislation that would impose new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay.

“America’s hometown broadcasters are deeply grateful for this broad,  ... Read More

Braun featured in Alzheimer’s NCSA/PEP campaign

Posted On: February 20, 2019
Paul Braun
Paul Braun

Legendary Badger sports broadcaster Paul Braun is featured in an upcoming campaign sharing his personal story about spotting the warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

Braun’s wife was only 57 years old when she started exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s. She died eight grueling years later.

The Alzheimer’s Associations spots are airing on radio stations across the state. Thank you to Paul Blair and Mid-West Family Broadcasting for their contributions to this important campaign.  ... Read More

Milwaukee TV station hosts awards to recognize African American leaders

Posted On: February 19, 2019

Milwaukee TV station WISN-TV sponsored and hosted the 34th annual Black Excellence Awards on Friday. The awards honor African Americans from across the Milwaukee area who serve communities, inspire peers, and provide leadership.

The theme for this year’s awards was “The Excellence of Imagination, Boldness, and Innovation: Honoring our Entrepreneurs.” The event was held at the Italian Conference Center with WISN 12 News anchors Sheldon Dutes and Adrienne Pedersen serving as emcees for the ceremony.

“The recipients of these awards serve as inspiration to us all. They have made a significant impact on Milwaukee and all of southeastern Wisconsin,” said Jan Wade,  ... Read More

Scholarships to be given to 4 broadcasting students

Posted On: February 18, 2019

Scholarships will be given out during the WBA Student Seminar on March 2 to four students studying broadcasting in Wisconsin. The recipients are:

Erica Gelman

Erica Gelman

Erica Gelman is the 2019 recipient of the Morgan Murphy Media Scholarship.

Erica is attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is majoring in Journalism, English, and Psychology. Erica will graduate in the spring of 2020.

Erica is a past recipient of the Journalism School Irwin Simms Scholarship and the Charles M Hart Jr. Writers of Promise Awards. She has received numerous mentions and other awards for writing excellence including a Gold Medal in the 2015 Scholastic Arts and Writing National Competition.  ... Read More

Broadcasters mark the season by helping others

Posted On: December 27, 2018

Michelle Vetterkind

I hope you all had a joyous holiday season!  And….I’d like to extend a very special thank you to those of you who made year-end donations to your WBA Foundation!

We would also like to thank our valued members as…

Broadcasters made a difference while spreading holiday cheer

We are proud to say that radio and TV stations throughout Wisconsin celebrated the holiday season by helping their communities.

Stations held food drives, phone banks, contests, and other promotions to raise money and food to help causes in their communities and help those less fortunate during the holiday season.

Here’s a video that highlights just a few examples. If your station did something to help out, please let us know. Email kgeissler@wi-broadcasters.org.

Come to Your WBA Winter Conference and State Legislative Day

Your WBA Winter Conference and State Legislative Day agenda is set and we’re hoping to see you at the Madison Concourse Hotel on Jan. 30.

The day starts with the job fair followed by a valuable EEO session and our business luncheon where we will be honoring former Governor Tommy Thompson with the first ever WBA Distinguished Service Award.

That’s followed by the introduction of our new Legislative Committee, a legislative briefing, our annual visits to the State Capitol, and the legislative reception at the Concourse.

We hope you can also make it to Madison the day before the conference (Jan. 29) for a special session aimed at stations interested in podcasting and another aimed at young professionals.

Seth Resler from Jacobs Media will be at the Concourse that afternoon to talk about how to get started in podcasting, and if you’re already podcasting, how to grow your audience.

The young professionals’ session later that afternoon will be about state politics and will meet at the State Capitol. The group will tour the Capitol and then meet with Michelle Kussow from The Capitol Group who will talk about how laws are made and changed at the Capitol. The young professionals will also hear from veteran political reporter Jessica Arp. We hope the attendees will consider joining State Legislative Day the following day.

We will finish with a chance to mix and mingle at a fun venue on the Capitol Square. All broadcasters are welcome to join us at Cooper’s Tavern.

Please consider sending your staff members to these insightful (and fun) sessions.

WBA Awards competitions underway

The WBA Awards for Excellence competition and WBA Student Awards are both open and taking submissions. Don’t put off making your submissions!  Truly, we can’t stress that enough. The deadline for the WBA Awards for Excellence is Jan. 9 at 11:59 p.m. CT and the Student Awards close on Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. CT. Disqualifications have grown over the last two years, and many of those disqualified entries are submitted at the last minute. Awards Committee member Tom Swigert complied some tips to help you avoid disqualifications, and we even produced a fun video to help you as well. Find both here.

Nominations Open for WBA Hall of Fame and WBA Local Broadcast Legends

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15, but don’t delay! Learn more here:

WBA Hall of Fame

WBA Local Broadcast Legends

Finally, I’d like to highlight another popular WBA Member Service:


We’ve added a wonderful assortment of useful webinars for you (and your teams) for 2019. Put them on your calendar now before your schedule gets cluttered.

Jan. 8 – Drive Them To The Website – What Your Clients’ Broadcast Ads Must Do to Increase Online Sales

Jan. 17 – Creative Sales Ideas from Paul Weyland

Feb. 21 – Dealing with Consumer Anxiety about Fake News with Esther Thorson, Michigan State University

April 18 – Updating Website TOS Agreements

May 16 – Programming: You Are Doing It Wrong with Kevin Robinson

July 18 – Chief Operator Rules with Larry Wilkins, Alabama Broadcasters Association

Sept. 19 – What the Future Sales Team Looks Like and How You Can Prepare with Laurie Kahn, Media Staffing Network

Oct .17 – Recruiting and Hiring Better Sales People with Chris Lytle

You can find many of our webinars archived on our website. As always, our webinars are FREE to all WBA members.

As we turn to 2019, it promises to be an eventful year for your WBA! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019!

Thank you, as always, for your time and support.

Wex’s WBA New Year’s Resolutions

Posted On: January 1, 2019

Happy New Year to Wisconsin’s local broadcasters. It’s been an honor to serve as your Chair during this turbulent, exciting, and challenging year. I’ll leave you with some resolutions that I hope we all can agree are good for our industry, our state association and each other.

Resolution No. 1: Become a First Amendment zealot. The freedoms of the media, guaranteed in our sacred Constitution, have never been under attack in the manner they are today. State legislators try to gut Wisconsin’s open records laws. The President of the United States refers to the free press as the “enemy of the people.” Regardless of your political leaning, we need to be vigilant and more aggressive in protecting the First Amendment on behalf of our audiences and fellow citizens.

Resolution No. 2: Recommit to the WBA. Your state association advocates and serves on your behalf. Let’s reciprocate in bigger and more meaningful ways. Attend our conferences (and send more of your fellow employees), make donations to the WBA Foundation to help ensure our legacy, serve on WBA committees that interest you, run the NCSA/PEP schedules (this is our No. 1 funding source!). In short, our association needs all of us like never before. Let’s step up.

Resolution No. 3: Lobby with the WBA. Our state and federal elected officials work for us. Time and time again, when we’ve spoken with a strong and unified voice, we are heard. Join us for our state Legislative Day and the Federal Legislative trip to Washington, D.C.

Resolution No. 4: Invite young people into your business. Look around the management and ownership tables and you’ll likely see a group of dedicated professionals who love television and radio. But how many of them represent the next generation of professionals who will be making important decisions about our future? Speak to students. Invite younger broadcasters into the fold. Mentor a student. Our future depends on it.

Resolution No. 5: Be a change embracer. I decided a while ago to stop pining for the past. The future is here, it is now, and yes: everything is changing. Our industry has seen changes in technology, audience behavior, content and delivery of our products at breathtaking speed. But isn’t it reassuring that regardless of how we deliver our products, there is strong demand for information, entertainment, and local commerce solutions in our markets? 

Finally, thank you for your support of your WBA and to Michelle, Linda, Kyle, and Liz for “herding cats” and keeping us moving forward to our next year, which will undoubtedly be full of new challenges and opportunities. 

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