Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

PHOTOS: Summer Conference underway

Posted On: June 20, 2018

Check out photos from our first day of the WBA Summer Conference and Wednesday’s golf tournament!  ... Read More

WTMJ-TV, WUWM to broadcast Democratic gubernatorial debate

Posted On: June 19, 2018

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Mainstage Theatre will be the setting for the first broadcast debate in the race for Wisconsin governor. All 10 Democratic gubernatorial candidates have agreed to participate – Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Andy Gronik, Mike McCabe, Mahlon Mitchell, Josh Pade, Kelda Helen Roys, Paul R. Soglin, Kathleen Vinehout, and Dana Wachs. 

The debate will air live on Thursday, July 12 from 6-7 p.m. on TODAY’S TMJ4 (WTMJ-TV) and WUWM-FM and simulcast on WGBA-TV (Green Bay). Additional media partners for the debate include WisPolitics, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and USA Today Network.

TODAY’S TMJ4 news anchors Charles Benson and Shannon Sims,  ... Read More

Preparations underway for 2019 Awards Gala

Posted On: June 18, 2018

Wow! What a night we had at the WBA Awards Gala. Hopefully you were there. If not, you missed a night filled with beautiful hats, dresses, handsome bow ties, mint julips, a bugler, a horse head, and just a few awards. Our Kentucky Derby theme was a raging success. Even I busted out a hat (and I never do hats!)

Our WBA Foundation raffle was a success and the winner took home $580. That’ll buy some mint julips!

It was another record setting year with 1,784 total award entries. Our social media following was at all time high and the Facebook Live feature seems to be very well received (and not cutting into attendance).  ... Read More

Burnell celebrates 20 years on the air in Oshkosh

Posted On: June 15, 2018

Bob Burnell is marking 20 years on the air at WOSH in Oshkosh. The milestone is being celebrated on Friday, the day of his anniversary. Friends of the show called in to congratulate him.

“We’ve had a lot of fun over the years,” Burnell said during his show. “There’s not many people can say that they enjoy coming to work…but I truly enjoy coming to work at the radio station.”

Burnell is the morning show host on WOSH and is also an account representative. 

Congratulations!  ... Read More

Get the WBA member app for Summer Conference, Toolbox

Posted On: June 14, 2018

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association app is updated and ready to help visitors to the WBA Summer Conference and the Young Professionals Toolbox event next week at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. It’s also available on iPad.

Features added for the WBA Summer Conference include:

–Maps to all the events and sessions inside the Hilton
–Push alerts to remind you of the events as they happen
–Information on sessions and speakers

Even if you’re not coming to the conference,  ... Read More

News director named to legislative committee on police body cameras

Posted On: June 13, 2018

The news director at WISN-TV in Milwaukee has been named to sit on a Legislative Council Study Committee to study the use of police body cameras in Wisconsin.

Ben Hart testified to an Assembly committee in January in opposition to a bill proposed in the last session of the legislature that would have established rules for how law enforcement releases body camera footage to the public. While the WBA supports efforts to regulate the use of police body cameras and the footage gathered by the cameras, the WBA expressed concerned about the bill citing portions of the proposal that would have made it more difficult to get access to the video.  ... Read More

Northwest Wisconsin TV anchor to host radio talk show

Posted On: June 11, 2018

Hayley Tenpas

A reporter and anchor who worked for two television stations in northwest Wisconsin is joining a Green Bay radio station to host an afternoon talk show.

Hayley Tenpas will host Focus Fox Valley on WHBY, which delivers local news and community minded conversation. She will cover family-oriented, community-driven topics and will put an emphasis on the people and organizations that help the Fox Valley thrive.

Tenpas started her career reporting for WJFW-TV in Rhinelander and was more recently the morning anchor at NBC 26 (WGBA-TV) in Green Bay.  She earned her broadcast journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  ... Read More

Student-run station undergoes rebranding

Posted On: June 8, 2018

A student-run radio station in Eau Claire is changing its name from Blugold Radio to Verge 99.9 FM.

“We’re rebranding not to reflect changes in what we offer to our listening area, but rather to better match what listeners have grown to love about our contribution to the regional music scene,” said Scott Morfitt, station manager.

The change takes effect July 1.

Listeners can expect the same mix of local, national and international indie music, along with the same community collaborations — from podcast series to hosted concerts at unique community locations to co-sponsorships of local cultural events —which the station has become known and won awards for.  ... Read More

WBA Foundation to focus on general election debates

Posted On: June 7, 2018

After much deliberation and discussion, the WBA Foundation Board has decided to withdraw its offer to hold live broadcast primary debates for the Republican U.S. Senate primary and Democratic gubernatorial primary.

The WBA Foundation will instead focus its efforts on continuing its more than 30 year tradition of holding general election debates. Details regarding the debates in the races for U.S. Senate and Governor of Wisconsin will be announced at a later date and will be offered on television and radio stations across the state.

“There is a lot of interest in these primary elections, which is why we initially made an attempt to hold these debates.” WBA President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind said.  ... Read More

WBA ramping up for busy season

Posted On: May 2, 2018

Michelle Vetterkind

Spring is (finally) here and your WBA Team could not be happier! I’m sure many of you (especially you Wisconsinites) feel the same way!

This is, without a doubt, it’s one of our busiest seasons at your WBA.   

Let me highlight a few of upcoming events:

Wisconsin Army National Guard

Vetterkind with Wisconsin Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Capt. Mike Olson and Battalion Commander LTC Dean Nemecek

I recently had lunch with Recruiting and Retention Capt. Mike Olson and Battalion Commander LTC Dean Nemecek from the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

We, and they, are so pleased with the renewed partnership at the National Level – and we all so appreciate the support that you, our valued members, have provided for the Army National Guard with our NCSA/PEP Program. 

Our Guard friends are also in the process of making visits to several Wisconsin stations. We so appreciate the support you’ve shown them. I know they have certainly enjoyed your hospitality. 

You’ll be seeing many of our Wisconsin Army National Guard friends at the upcoming WBA Awards Gala and the WBA Summer Conference.  Please join us in making them feel welcome!   

Awards Gala

What can I say? Record entries (and it’s looking like record attendance as well). It’s going to be a GREAT night! Do you have your Kentucky Derby outfit yet? I do! My goal for the night is to not hit my co-host, Steve Wexler, in the head too many times with my hat!

Jowett Fellowship

Don’t forget that applications for the (first ever) Rick Jowett Fellowship are due on June 1.

We’re tremendously proud of this Fellowship in honor of our friend and are most appreciative of everyone who has contributed to the Jowett Fellowship fund. We’ve also had several multi-year pledges. If you’d like to contribute, just let me know!

Summer Conference

This year’s WBA Summer Conference is shaping up to be one of our best ever! If you haven’t signed up yet, please do so now! I’m sure you’ll agree the Conference Committee did a wonderful job with the agenda. We’re thrilled to have NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith joining us and we’re also looking forward to the debut of The Toolbox! The WBA Young Professionals have done a great job with planning this one-day event that will take place on Friday following the conference. Make sure to show your support by sending the Young Professionals at your station. You’ll be glad you did!

Hall of Fame Inductees and Local Broadcast Legends

Referring to two proud highlights of the events, please join me in congratulating our 2018 WBA Hall of Fame Inductees:  Tom Koser, Chris Lytle, Bob Smith, and Gary Timm and our Local Broadcast Legend Award Recipients: Kathy Keene, Margaret Neader, John M. Wadd, and Jeff Wagner.

I look forward to seeing you (and celebrating with you) in June at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center in downtown Milwaukee. It’s most fitting as the hotel is also the home of the WBA’s amazing Hall of Fame display. You definitely won’t want to miss it!

Primary Debates

And….of course, our debates! While your WBA Foundation has a rich and proud history of offering debates for the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate elections in the general elections for over 30 years, we’re excited to venture into hosting debates for the primaries this year. The Democratic candidates for governor will debate Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. in Madison. The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate will debate Saturday, July 21 at 7 p.m. in Wausau. WBA Hall of Famer Jill Geisler will moderate both debates. The general election debates will be scheduled at a later date.


I look forward to seeing many of you over the next couple of months (and some of you, multiple times)!

Your WBA Team is well aware that we’re blessed to have such tremendous member participation! Please know that we don’t take it (or you) for granted.

Thank you, as always, for your time & support!

Engage with interns and up-and-coming broadcasters

Posted On: April 20, 2018

TV was going to replace radio. FM was supposed to replace AM. Tapes would supplant records. 8-tracks would kill tapes. Cable would end television. Later, satellite would be the end of terrestrial radio. And today, digital audio and video is predicted to foreshadow the end of free, over-the-air television and radio.

Of course, none of this turned out to be true.

Instead, broadcasters adjusted and revised business strategies to meet consumers and advertisers where they are: on the air, online, and over numerous digital platforms.

None of the tremendous technology and media advances over the past 50 years should scare us. In fact, they ought to energize and stimulate our thinking, propelling us forward to innovate and create new ways to reach our audiences on behalf of our advertisers.

What does scare me, however, is our inability and/or reluctance to recruit, train, promote, and encourage young people to become part of our industry.

Perhaps like you, I had the broadcast “bug” when I was a kid. I created a “faux” radio station in my room in my folk’s house in Shorewood, Wisconsin when I was 14 years old (“WEXL, We Excel In Music!”). I rode my bike to Journal’s WTMJ when I was 17 years old and asked if I could be on the radio. I was told “no”, but was invited to meet radio personality Jonathan Green, who asked me to hang around, answer the phone, get his coffee, and learn all about broadcasting. That was the beginning of a journey that would take me from unpaid intern to the head of the radio division.

If an intern showed up in your lobby today and expressed interest in TV or radio, what response would they get? Would someone come out and talk about our business and potential opportunities with them? More to the point, are young people interested in our business in the first place?

As I think about the WBA’s many outreach programs and activities, I find the work we do with students the most inspiring. At the recent Student Seminar, I met many young energetic and talented students eager to talk about careers in media. Many of them were lured by on-air positions and some even seemed surprised to hear about the many opportunities in production, sales and marketing, and promotion.

I hope you’ll support these efforts, including the Young Professional’s “Toolbox” one-day seminar on June 22, right after our summer conference in Milwaukee. New initiatives like this one, in addition to Ken Beno’s work with students across the state, help position our industry as forward-thinking and relevant to a new generation of broadcasters.

In your own stations, I hope you’ll actively engage with interns and up-and-coming broadcasters so they can hear from you how rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling our industry can be. I am going to recommit myself this coming year to become more active in these efforts in my own company and within our own WBA.

Media technology will continue to evolve, bringing with it new challenges and opportunities as audiences seek new ways to consume our content. Let’s make sure there is a new generation of young broadcasters excited and prepared to welcome them to our changing business in the years to come!

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