Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Broadcasters Clinic named ‘Best Educational Event’ by SBE

Posted On: July 28, 2021

The SBE Wisconsin chapters and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has won an award from the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) for the Best Educational Event for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic held in October 2020.

One nominator noted, “They have consistently put on a highly attended event that has a strong mix of classic material, cutting-edge tech, and hands on presentations. They really try to make sure the wide scope of what is part of an engineering gig these days gets covered. Every year they seem to innovate even more with the presentation too. Starting in 2019 the whole event is now closed-captioned.  ... Read More

Webinar: Reporting on Deaths by Suicide

Posted On: July 27, 2021
Program Date: September 15, 2021

The Poynter Institute’s Al Tompkins and Kelly McBride


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, in fact far more people die of suicide than homicide, yet it gets a fraction of our media coverage. This workshop will help you find ways to cover this epidemic of preventable deaths by boosting your awareness, knowledge and skills in covering this vital topic.

We will:

-Explode some myths about suicide including 

            “It was a total surprise… nobody had any idea this was coming.”

Almost always there are signs that a person is considering ending their own life.  ... Read More

Sen. Johnson joins cosponsors of Local Radio Freedom Act

Posted On: July 24, 2021


U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is joining five members of the Wisconsin House delegation in supporting the recently reintroduced Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA). 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.

Representatives Bryan Steil (R-WI-1), Ron Kind (D-WI-3), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6), Tom Tiffany (R-WI-7) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) support the LRFA. The same group, including Sen. Johnson, supported LRFA in the last session of Congress.

Last session more than half the members of the U.S. House cosponsored the bill.  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses discuss state budget, personal property tax

Posted On: July 16, 2021

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin’s Capitol discuss the recently signed state budget and the vetoing of a bill that would have eliminated the personal property tax. These addresses are available for Wisconsin broadcasters to use as they see fit. Here are the summaries from WisPolitics:

— In this week’s Democratic radio address Gov. Tony Evers celebrated signing the 2021-23 biennial budget that both cut taxes and increased public school funding.

“I’m proud that after years of failing to deliver on their promises, Republicans in the Legislature have decided to join me in restoring our state’s commitment to two-thirds funding for our schools,”  ... Read More

Síle Shigley named host of WPR’s ‘Simply Folk’

Posted On: July 13, 2021

Síle Shigley has been named the permanent host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s long-running Sunday night folk music show “Simply Folk.” Shigley performed in the Celtic a cappella vocal quartet Navan for more than 15 years, playing across the United States, and she’s steeped in the musical traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man. She has worked at WPR since 2000, supporting “Simply Folk” as its librarian. She has been fill-in host on the show since 2013.

Some of the artists she’s excited for listeners to hear include the Avett Brothers, Cahalen MorrisoShigley venerates the show’s history,  ... Read More

WISN-TV wins Service to America award

Posted On: July 12, 2021

Milwaukee TV station WISN-TV is being recognized with a Service to America Award from the NAB Leadership Foundation.

WISN-TV was a finalist in large market television for WISN-TV Feeds the Hungry.

Within two weeks of the “stay-at-home order,” WISN knew they needed to find a way to feed the struggling members of their community. As people were being laid off, kids were also home from school without school lunches and there was limited food pantry access for the elderly due to the order. The team at WISN stepped up to the “plate” to help provide hunger relief.  ... Read More

Find opportunities for bettering yourself after pandemic

Posted On: July 9, 2021

You probably read the book, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Or, maybe that’s on your To Do list.

Years ago I heard of this great book to reorder my life and accomplish more in less time. I called the bookstore and ordered a copy. Soon after, the store manager called, “Mike, your book “Getting Things Done” is here at Janke Bookstore.” I said, “Great, I’ll swing by and pick it up tomorrow.” Two weeks passed! The phone rang at the radio station, “Mike, your book, “Getting Things Done” is still here at the bookstore!” I replied,  ... Read More

WBA slate of officers, directors announced

Posted On: July 9, 2021

The WBA Nominating Committee has set a slate of officers and directors for consideration by the WBA general membership.

As provided by WBA by-laws, Don Vesely, WMTV-TV, Madison, the current WBA Vice Chair and Chair-Elect, will automatically be elevated to the position of Chair of the Board at the 2021 WBA General Membership meeting. The committee made the following nominations, which will be voted upon by the general membership during the WBA Summer Conference in August.


  • Vice Chair – Radio/Chair-Elect: Lupita Montoto, WLMV (La Movida), Madison
  • Vice Chair – TV: Jan Wade,
  •  ... Read More

Hybrid events can keep the “broad” In broadcasting

Posted On: July 8, 2021

Seth Resler

One of the more perplexing aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that as we recover from it, there’s no clear finish line. How will we know when it’s really over? No lifeguard will blow a whistle to give the all-clear sign and tell us that it is safe to go back into the water. Different people who have different health histories, who have different household configurations, and who look to different sources of information are going to have different attitudes towards the recovery. While some are chomping at the bit to return to “normal” life, others are more cautious.  ... Read More

Coming together: A routine worth celebrating!

Posted On: July 7, 2021

After a year of not knowing what’s around the corner, it’s certainly comforting to see the gradual return of routines. We hear from so many in broadcasting about the importance of being nimble and open to new ideas. Well, if you survived the last 14 months, you can most definitely call yourself nimble!

Your WBA prides itself on a nimble response to our members’ needs, but there’s no doubt that a return to holding our time-tested events is a comfort. Like you, we hope to take the lessons of the last year and apply them to our many (many) years of experience serving you, our valued members. And….that starts with everything your WBA currently has on deck.

WBA Summer Conference

At the beginning of the year, we didn’t know if we’d even have a Summer Conference in 2021, but after cancelling the 2020 conference, we were certainly hopeful. We have so much to celebrate! A new class of Hall of Famers and Local Broadcast Legends, our Distinguished Service Award honoree, Dick Zaragoza (who now plans to join us in person to receive his Award – yay ), and our first Young Professional of the Year, Terry Stevenson. All these celebrations were put on hold in 2020.

Your Conference Committee met early in the year to plan for a potential 2021 Summer Conference and the committee asked about moving our June dates at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan to August. We asked, and it worked! The new dates, Aug. 25-26, gave the vaccine rollout more time to take hold and gave your WBA and the Conference Committee more certainty about being able to plan the event.

I’m thrilled to say that the change paid off.

We initially expected modest attendance, given trepidation over the pandemic, but have recently found that the prediction given by some of our members was indeed correct. That is…our members cannot wait to celebrate this Summer Conference.

The Blue Harbor Resort, by the time you read this, has probably sold out of hotel rooms (an unprecedented event in itself – not to mention TWO MONTHS ahead of the conference)!! Along the lines of being nimble, we immediately added blocks of rooms at other hotels in Sheboygan that you read about on the Summer Conference page on the WBA website. We will keep that page updated with the latest information. We certainly would love to have everyone under the same roof, but we’re excited to see so much excitement for the Summer Conference. Please know that your WBA Team will do our best to make everyone’s experience as seamless as possible. 

And of course, another cause for celebration: It is the 70th Anniversary of Your WBA! We plan to recognize the milestone at the Summer Conference with a fun trip down memory lane.

Broadcasters Clinic

Broadcasters Clinic also changed this year due to the circumstances of the pandemic. This (wonderful) gathering of broadcast engineers from throughout the country typically happens on a Tuesday through Thursday in mid-October, but because the NAB Show was cancelled in the spring and rescheduled for mid-October, the (nimble….do we see a pattern here :)??) Broadcasters Clinic Committee worked with the Madison Marriott West to find alternative dates for the 2021 Clinic.

That said, Clinic will be held Wednesday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 10. We’ll still be at the Madison Marriott West and we have heard from many excited vendors who are greatly looking forward to reconnecting with broadcast engineers.

The Broadcasters Clinic Committee did its work (virtually, this year) to come up with an outstanding agenda which you can find here. Registration is open now and early bird pricing is in effect until July 15.

While these two events will have speakers, meals, celebrations, and the other things you would expect at a WBA event, this year they will also feel like a family reunion.

You have no idea how much your WBA team is looking forward to celebrating with YOU, our WBA Family (in person)!

Chair honored to serve unusual 18-month term

Posted On: July 7, 2021

Here we are in July already! As we get older, we can’t believe how fast time flies, except for a year ago during the pandemic. The Brewers are now at 100 percent capacity. The Packers are planning to operate at full capacity. And perhaps the biggest event of the year, the WBA Summer Conference at Blue Harbor in Sheboygan at the end of August. Maybe I’m a little over the top! The highlight of every Summer Conference for me is the Hall of Fame and Local Legends presentations. I am just amazed at the terrific broadcasters we have and to hear their stories is so inspiring.

This marks my last column as the chair of the WBA. When I hand off the gavel at the Summer Conference next month it will mark the end of an 18-month term as chair. Normally the term is one year but because of a change in the bylaws in January 2020 we moved the change of chair to the Summer Conference. It is quite an honor to have been selected to chair the best state broadcast association in America! Our membership is spectacular as is our management team in Madison. We have turned from a yearly operational deficit to a surplus. The surplus has been added to our investment accounts, to be there if we should have some difficult economic times in the future.

Your WBA is in great shape!  

Why reporters should cold-call for more thorough storytelling

Posted On: July 28, 2021
Heather Poltrock
Heather Poltrock


/ˈkōl(d) ˌkôl/


  1. make an unsolicited call on (someone), by phone or in person, in an attempt to sell goods or services.

Ah, yes. A very popular tool amongst the sales folks. Welp, I’m going to hijack the term and let you know cold-calling is something reporters can add to their toolbox too.

How about: “make an unsolicited call on (someone), by phone or in person, in an attempt LEARN!”

I think as journalists we sometimes forget how helpful people can, and want to be.

For example, if you regularly attended an editorial news meeting in the fourth quarter of 2020, someone likely pitched ‘lumber prices’.

They were high. Much higher than normal, but why? Supply? Yes, but why?

I needed some answers. So I Googled lumber yards and picked one that appeared to be locally-owned to avoid the corporate permission obstacles.

Our conversation went a little something like this:

 “My name is Heather Poltrock. I work at Channel 7. I know the lumber industry is seeing some unusual pandemic-related problems, especially pricing and I want to know if you can help me understand what is going on so we can better tell the story. Not for an on-camera interview, just for my understanding.”

Our conversation lasted nearly a half-hour and turned into many story ideas.

Here’s the dets. The problem was rooted in the worker shortage plus low-interest rates.

The best questioned I ask—“What do you think the solution is?” 

That answer was the most valuable component of our conversation and I’m glad I thought to ask it.

I’ve used this approach many times without really intentionally dubbing it a strategy.

Our job as journalists is to answer questions, but if you’re not educated enough on the topic to ask the right questions you won’t be able to do a very good job.

Best of luck on your questions quest!

Heather Poltrock
WSAW-TV, Wausau

Veteran Wausau DJ shares advice, stories, ideas for radio newbies

Posted On: July 15, 2021

“Morning radio is the place to be!”

And no one knows that better than WIFC’s Dave Kallaway. His radio career spans four decades, with nearly three in his current role.

“We were allowed to listen to the radio in high school, in typing class, and that’s where I first got the bug that radio might be my thing,” he said.

I know Dave Kallaway professionally and I can share that he’s the same radiant guy in person, on-air and at events. So I had to know, how does a guy stay so passionate about broadcasting year after year?

He explained the unique joys and the freedom to be creative that this career has.

“Create events that you’re passionate about. My wife and I love to dance. So that’s where our WIFC Disco Cures Cancer dance came from. We knew we just wanted to dance but what if we did a public dance, and what if we did it to raise money for a charity. We really thought that whole concept would last a couple of years, but we ended up doing it for 19 years!”

He said he’s been married to his wife for 40 years, and they were married on-air, on the radio.

So what advice would he give his younger self in the early years of his career?

“Chill out on the air and talk to the audience. When I started out, there was a lot of screaming going on. DJs that sounded like they were auctioneers and that got old fast. Just talking to listeners, playing good music, having a good time. That’s the way to start your day,” he said.

It’s not uncommon for an incident or a co-worker to make broadcaster’s work-life uncomfortable. I asked Dave if there had ever been a time he thought about pursuing something else.

He said the thought of leaving radio never occurred, but there were times when a boss wanted him to be someone he wasn’t.

“Fortunately those times were very short-lived and worked through,” he said.

Kallaway said the part he enjoys most about morning radio is getting to work with other talent.

“Most other shifts there’s only one person. It’s much more fun to work on the air with others. The other part is getting to do so much in our communities… with events and charity things. I love that part of the gig.”

Kallaway said he’s spent time studying how to interview guests.

“I’m sure I sucked at that early on, but I followed a lot of pros along the way and tried to pick up the techniques to asking good questions and being ready when you get short answers, no answers, or in some cases where you’re ready to ask 20 questions and you only get to ask one question because the guest is such a talker.”

If you are concerned with the initial low salary at the entry-level, Kallaway offers the reminder of the growth potential in this career.

“The guy who hired me at WIFC is now the ops manager of the iHeart radio’s country division– a very big step up from working in Wausau, Wisconsin. The other aspect of the low pay thing with radio is that it’s a job that can turn into several jobs and opportunities for making more.” For Kallaway, that’s hosting events and photographing them.

And I had to ask (and man, I am I glad I did) what’s your favorite radio memory?

“One of my favorite bits to do was the “WIFC Mow to Lambeau.” I literally rode a riding lawn mower from Wausau to Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The idea was to have listeners guess how long it would take and if you were closest then you won the mower and tickets to see the Packers play the Bears!

Eighteen hours and 21 minutes.

That’s how long it took if you are wondering.

Heather Poltrock
WSAW-TV, Wausau

How to safely connect with viewers on social media

Posted On: July 14, 2021

Sara Maslar-Donar

Social media is an incredible tool for connecting with your audience. But the line between sharing and oversharing is a fine one.

Sara Maslar-Donar is the anchor of WKOW’s Wake Up Wisconsin Weekend morning show and reports for the weekday morning show. She was also recipient of the WBA’s ‘Best Online Personality” award, placing second.

She offers this advice for those using their social media pages to connect with viewers and listeners.

When it comes to sharing your personal life, it’s up to your own personal preference. But the advice I can give is this: In this day and age, we all need to be extremely careful about what we let people know.  Reveal to viewers the things that will help them understand who you are and what makes you tick: Your hobbies, your love of animals, your favorite way to spend a Friday night! But remember: these are strangers. They aren’t entitled to know anything you don’t feel safe or comfortable sharing. 

Heather Poltrock
WSAW-TV, Wausau

Nominations open for Young Professional of the Year

Posted On: July 8, 2021

Nominations are open for a WBA award to recognize the young professionals forging new paths in broadcasting.

The WBA Young Professional of the Year Award seeks to recognize young broadcasters who have made a significant impact on their stations and communities. Nominees must be under the age of 40 at the time of their nomination and must have spent a minimum of two years at a radio or TV station in Wisconsin. Finalists will be selected based on their contributions to the industry, spirit of innovation, and community involvement.

The award was established by the WBA Young Professionals Committee and nominees will be judged by a subcommittee of the WBA Board. The subcommittee will select the six finalists and the winner from those finalists. All six will be profiled in WBA publications and recognized at the WBA Summer Conference. The winner will be awarded at the 2022 Summer Conference in La Crosse.

Anyone can make nominations. Nominations will be accepted in the form of a letter of recommendation not to exceed 500 words. Nominations are currently open and will be due by Sept. 30 at 5 p.m.

Submissions can be made here.

The first YP of the Year award will be presented to Terry Stevenson at the WBA Summer Conference on Aug. 25 at the Blue Harbor resort in Sheboygan. Join us in Sheboygan to celebrate!

Questions? Contact Kyle Geissler at kgeissler@wi-broadcasters.org.

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