Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Stations gather school supplies for thousands of children

Posted On: August 15, 2019

Milwaukee TV station WISN-TV and radio station WHLH-FM raised more than $46,000 for classroom supplies during the seventh annual “Class Act School Supply Drive.”

The stations teamed up with the Salvation Army to host a phone bank Wednesday and dedicated airtime to raise money and fill a school bus with backpacks, notebooks and other needed supplies.

“Class Act is a very meaningful project that we look forward to every year,” said Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN 12.  “When we can work together with the community and our generous viewers to help children go to school ready to learn,  ... Read More

WBA moves to new member app

Posted On: August 15, 2019

The WBA has a new member app to more closely integrate member services.

The new app is available now and includes:

–Member directory
–News headlines
–Job postings
–Podcast directory
–Other WBA resources

This is a fairly new app from our database vendor and we expect many new features to be added in the near future.

The “MemberPlus” app is available now and can be found here:



To log in to the new app,  ... Read More

Fellowship available for Broadcasters Clinic attendees

Posted On: August 9, 2019

A fellowship is available to cover expenses for attendees of the Broadcasters Clinic.

The Don Borchert Fellowship honors the founder of the Broadcasters Clinic conference and provides all expenses to attend the Clinic in Madison Oct. 15-17.  The application is available here.

This fellowship program is possible through the financial support of all four Wisconsin SBE Chapters, and the WBA.

Early bird registration for the Clinic is currently open and runs through Aug. 30. The agenda and online registration are available here.  ... Read More

Directory shares podcasts from Wisconsin broadcasters

Posted On: August 8, 2019
From markemark on Morguefile
From markemark on Morguefile

A new directory on the WBA website catalogs podcasts published by Wisconsin’s radio and TV stations. More radio and TV stations are podcasting their programs and exclusive content to reach the podcasting audience.

The directory can be found here and it’s linked in the “For the Public” section of the navigation on the WBA website.

The search bar in the directory can be used to find podcasts by city, topic, or call letter.

The directory launched with 34 podcasts listed, but we know there are more podcasts out there. To submit your podcast to be included in the directory,  ... Read More

Janesville radio deal closes

Posted On: August 2, 2019

The sale of two Janesville radio stations is complete.

Bliss Communications announced in June that it would sell its two Janesville radio stations (WCLO-AM/WJVL-FM) to Ben Thompson, CEO of Big Radio.

The sale closed this week.

WCLO-AM began broadcasting in 1930 and was the first radio station operated by the Bliss family. WJVL-FM began broadcasting in 1947.

Ben Thompson is CEO of Big Radio and is part of a father/son operation, locally operating eight stations from its offices in Beloit, Freeport, Monroe, and Janesville.  ... Read More

2019 Broadcasters Clinic dedicated to Gary Mach

Posted On: August 2, 2019
Gary Mach
Gary Mach

The 2019 Broadcasters Clinic will be dedicated to Gary Mach, who dedicated 35 years of service to the Broadcasters Clinic Committee. The 2019 Clinic will be his last Clinic on the committee.

Mach’s career spans nearly six decades and has put him in every level of support from staff engineer to corporate engineer. He successfully completed several facilities upgrades during his career, in additional to countless engineering accomplishments, like rebuilding transmitters and studio systems. During his time working with Wisconsin Public Broadcasting and PBS, Mach’s facilities and staff produced many award-winning television programs. He designed the telecommunications facilities for the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts and the Center for Television Production,  ... Read More

Sparta GM dies at age 57

Posted On: August 1, 2019
William Hoffman
William Hoffman

Sparta-Tomah Broadcasting General Manager William Hoffman died Wednesday. He was 57.

During his eleven years with the company he helped guide WCOW to five CMA and three ACM nominations as well as being named “Station of The Year” by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in 2015 and 2016.  

A funeral will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sparta. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, and at the church on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until the time of Mass. Online condolences may be offered to the Hoffman family at www.schanhoferfh.com.  ... Read More

Early bird rates kick off Broadcasters Clinic registration

Posted On: July 31, 2019

Broadcasters Clinic

Registration is now open for the Broadcasters Clinic, which will be held Oct. 15-17 at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton.

The agenda for the three day engineering conference is available here. There you will also find information about hotel reservations and the speakers who are scheduled to appear at the Clinic.

Early bird pricing is in effect until Aug. 30.

Exhibitors can also register by visiting this page and anyone interested in being a sponsor can review all the sponsorship opportunities here.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Broadcasters Clinic in October.  ... Read More

Rosen takes PD duties at WSSP

Posted On: July 31, 2019

WSCR Chicago Program Director Mitch Rosen is taking up PD duties at 105.7 The Fan (WSSP) in Milwaukee.

Program Director Tom Parker is retiring. He was PD at WSSP since 2009.

Rosen will split his time between Milwaukee and Chicago. He’s been PD at WSCR since 2005.  ... Read More

President’s Column: FCC visits Wisconsin

Posted On: July 15, 2019

Michelle Vetterkind WBA President & CEO

Representatives of the FCC’s Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division visited Wisconsin in June as part of a two-state swing through the Midwest to talk to residents about consumer issues.
WBA was represented at all the public meetings and local broadcasters promoted and attended the visits.

Nelson family announces new scholarship

The family of newly inducted WBA Hall of Fame member David L. Nelson announced at the Hall of Fame ceremony the creation of a new WBA scholarship in Nelson’s name.

The new $1,000 scholarship will be available along with four other previously created scholarships during the next cycle of scholarships available through the WBA.

The Hall of Fame ceremony was an emotional one with great speeches to mark the careers of four amazing broadcasters: Clif Groth, David L. Nelson, Fannie Mason Steve, and Dean Maytag. If you haven’t already checked out their Hall of Fame videos, be sure to visit the Wisconsin Broadcasting Museum where you’ll find them on the homepage.

WBA joins radio executives at NAB fly-in

Your WBA was on hand during for a NAB “Fly-In” event in Detroit in June that brought together radio executives to discuss radio’s partnership with the automotive industry. We learned about the future of audio consumption, how that future is being viewed by the auto industry, and maintaining radio’s prominence in the dashboard.

NAB officials also provided updates from Capitol Hill and talked about the 2020 elections.

This was the first time the NAB held a fly-in in Detroit.

Bucks Senior VP headlines WBA Summer Conference

We were thrilled to have Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry with us at the WBA Summer Conference at the Osthoff Resort. He spoke during the keynote luncheon held June 13. Alex talked about the success of the team, the 2020 Democratic National Convention coming to the Fiserv Forum, and the future of Milwaukee.

Please read about the rest of the conference in the newsletter. We had a full agenda of engaging sessions, special sessions for engineers, a day of training for young professionals, and inspiring recognition of our Local Broadcast Legends and four new Hall of Fame inductees.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 17-18, 2020 when the WBA Summer Conference returns to the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse.

Celebrity golf outing event coming in 2020

Your WBA Foundation is excited to bring you a new event in 2020: The WBA Foundation Celebrity Golf Outing.

The event will be held Aug. 4, 2002 at SentryWorld golf course in Stevens Point. Watch for future announcements and the launch of a website dedicated to this event.

We are seeking sponsors as well as stations to commit to running ads about the event in support of our title sponsor. To join this exciting inaugural event, please contact me: mvetterkind@wi-broadcasters.org.

Recognize your young professionals

Finally, we’re creating an opportunity for you to recognize your amazing up-and-coming broadcasters. The WBA Young Professionals Award will be given out at the 2020 Summer Conference, but we’re seeking nominees right now. The nomination deadline will be coming up in September. Read more here.

In the meantime, have a safe, fun summer and make some time to relax and enjoy a warm Wisconsin. We earned this!

Broadcasters emphasize importance of local elections

Posted On: July 12, 2019
Steve Lavin
Steve Lavin

It seems strange to be writing about voting and elections in the off-year of the election cycle. If it were an election year, politics would occupy much of our conversations, commercial time, and news content. State and federal elections are generally good for the broadcast industry, both in advertising revenue and news interest. Pundits would be predicting turnout, discussing various polling data points, and public sentiment.  No worries…that time is just around the corner.

This past spring we all had the opportunity to vote in local elections. As responsible citizens I trust you took full advantage of your right to vote. But it is disappointing to hear that 26.6 percent turnout was considered “strong” for an April election. Those turnout numbers were enhanced by highly contested mayoral races in two of the three largest cities in Wisconsin as well as a race for an open seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. Without the State Supreme Court race or large city mayoral races the spring election would likely have seen turnout in the teens.

Citizens shouldn’t forget that in April we were electing school boards, village trustees, city council members, county supervisors, not to mention voting on numerous school and municipal referendums.  In general, one’s quality of life is affected more by getting value for your local property tax dollar than who we elect to represent us in Washington or Madison.

As broadcasters, we cannot force our viewers or listeners to care more about local elections. We do, however, give them opportunities to pay attention to local issues and local elections. I know our Wisconsin talk and news radio stations highlight local issues and local elections by offering opportunities for interviews. Our broadcast TV news departments certainly cover many of the larger issues, opportunities, and candidates in forums or in interviews.

Based on resources and time, local broadcasters can only highlight a limited number of issues, elections, or candidates and from what I have seen and heard, we do a great job. We might all do well to extend coverage to our digital products like podcasts, digital forums, or OTT opportunities to give more local candidates the opportunity to be heard.

Thank you to those who care enough to run for local positions in town, village, city, and county government and on school boards. They are not doing it for the glamour or the money. They do it because they truly care about the quality of life in your community. They are the ones who get the calls when the roads are not plowed or the garbage is not picked up, and they don’t have a staff to take the calls and respond to constituents.

-Steve Lavin


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Dean Maytag, Hall of Fame Inductee 2019

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