Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Moody to program new urban alternative channel in Milwaukee

Posted On: October 25, 2021

Public radio innovator and “Rhythm Lab Radio” creator and host Tarik Moody will lead 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s new Urban Alternative channel as its program director, the station announced Monday.

In early 2022, the station will hire additional Urban Alternative staff members and will share the channel’s name and brand identity. The new channel is slated to launch on June 19, which is Juneteenth Day. 

“Tarik is an incredible visionary,” Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-88.9FM) Executive Director Kevin Sucher said. “He has been instrumental in Radio Milwaukee’s pursuit of the Urban Alternative channel, and his nationally syndicated program ‘Rhythm Lab Radio’ has pioneered this sound across the country.   ... Read More

La Crosse area engineer retiring after 33 years

Posted On: October 22, 2021

An assistant chief engineer who’s been working at a La Crosse TV station for 33 years and serving on the Broadcasters Clinic Committee for 24 years is retiring.

Mark Burg joined WLAX-TV in 1988, working to build what would become FOX 25-48.

“Everyone in town was hoping we were going to be Fox, and this was before Fox even had the NFL” Burg said. “When we became Fox people were happy. When Fox got the NFL and Packers, everything changed. It was great.”

“Then we kept adding to it, one step at a time,  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses on sporting bills, broadband

Posted On: October 22, 2021

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin’s Capitol  lawmakers focus this week on funding for broadband access and a package of bills on sporting issues. 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 discussed the importance of funding for broadband access and closing the digital divide.

“I’m proud that in the budget I recently signed we provided $129 million for broadband expansion projects, and just last week we announced the recipients of $100 million in Broadband Access Grants that we funded through the American Rescue Plan,”  ... Read More

Terry West retires after 40 years in broadcasting

Posted On: October 21, 2021

WAXX 104.5 ‘S Terry West is retiring after more than 40 years in broadcasting.

West made her final appearance Friday on WAXX in Eau Claire. She spent most of her career on WAXX and sister station I-94 (WIAL).

West’s career started in 1980 when she was selected as a Brown Institute School of broadcasting scholarship winner, one of just two winners from 1,200 applicants. She was the first woman to work in radio in Grand Forks, North Dakota where she got her start at KKXL in 1980. She joined I-94 in Eau Claire in 1983 and in 1992 she first appeared on WAXX and has been the midday host for 29 years.  ... Read More

Brust named to Bucks radio team

Posted On: October 20, 2021

The Milwaukee Bucks have named Ben Brust as the team’s radio analyst for home games on WTMJ Radio and the statewide Bucks Radio Network. Brust will join Bucks new play-by-play announcer Dave Koehn in the radio booth at Fiserv Forum this season.

A former University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team standout, Brust currently co-hosts a local sports talk radio show, “Scalzo and Brust,” from 4-6 p.m. each weekday on 94.5 FM ESPN Milwaukee and 100.5 FM ESPN Madison. He’s also served as a television color analyst and studio analyst for college basketball games on the Big Ten Network since 2017.  ... Read More

Luljak named interim leader of WPR

Posted On: October 20, 2021

Tom Luljak, recently retired vice chancellor for university relations & communications at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will serve as interim head of Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) until a national search can be completed for a permanent director. He takes over from Mike Crane who stepped down on October 1.

WPR has contracted with the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) to provide executive consultation and leadership for the network.

“We are grateful to NETA for their support services during this period of transition,” Educational Communications Board (ECB) Executive Director Marta Bechtol said. “We are excited to be working with Tom,  ... Read More

Radio Milwaukee to add café, outdoor seating

Posted On: October 19, 2021

The 88Nine Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-88.9FM) studios in the Walker’s Point neighborhood will undergo a major $770,000 renovation and expansion for a new café and eatery that will feature a full food and beverage menu and covered outdoor seating.

The café and eatery will be operated by Milwaukee chef and restaurateur Chad Meier, who owned the top-rated fine-dining restaurant Meraki in Walker’s Point. Meraki specialized in world dishes made with local ingredients. It closed in August 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meier said he is excited about the new café and eatery and working with Radio Milwaukee to reactivate its currently empty retail space.  ... Read More

Wisconsin broadcasters sought to meet virtually with students

Posted On: October 19, 2021

The virtual networking students and broadcasters participated in during this year’s online Student Seminar was so popular, we’re creating another opportunity to connect online coming up Dec. 1-3.

Broadcasters willing to meet with students for a one-on-one online meeting are encouraged to contact Kyle Geissler at kgeissler@wi-broadcasters.org. Send in the times you’re available on Dec. 1-3. Sessions will be 15 minutes. Please also send in a 2-3 sentence bio and a headshot.

Once we have a list of participating broadcasters, we’ll ask students to sign up for times to meet the broadcasters. The WBA will coordinate with broadcasters and students and provide a platform for video conferencing.  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses take on violence prevention, sporting bills

Posted On: October 15, 2021

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin’s Capitol discuss investments in violence prevention and bills supporting sporting heritage. 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 talked about new investments in violence prevention and victim support.

“Violence in our communities, like any public health issue, is not inevitable, and that’s why we’re investing 25 million of these dollars toward stopping violence before it begins,” he said. “And, in addition to violence prevention, $20 million of this investment will go to help support victim and survivor services in Wisconsin.”  ... Read More

Photos provide important reminders

Posted On: September 24, 2021

Perhaps it wasn’t noticeable, but in newsletters since the outbreak of the pandemic, we haven’t seen much of you. We love including photos in the newsletter from our events and station visits, because, well, who doesn’t like to see photos of your fellow broadcasters?

Thankfully, many of you were gracious enough to share photos with us from your community activities during the pandemic and of the new workspaces you created in your homes.

However, I’m thrilled to report that we’re finally (finally) back to publishing photos from two in-person WBA events!

You’ll find photos inside the newsletter from our WBA Summer Conference held Aug. 25-26 at the beautiful Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan and the award-winning Broadcasters Clinic held at the Madison Marriot West. These events were truly wonderful opportunities to reconnect in person.

We had great attendees, inspiring speakers, and honored our amazing Local Broadcast Legends and WBA Hall of Fame inductees. We recognized Terry Stevenson, our first ever Young Professional of the Year award recipient and Dick Zaragoza, the recipient of the WBA Distinguished Service Award. It was a full two days. We also hosted NAB President and CEO Senator Gordon Smith who provided our keynote address.

Thank you so very much to our sponsors who made it possible.

While we won’t gather in person again in 2021, we’re excited to get back to a “normal” schedule in 2022.

Speaking of photos, if you attended the Summer Conference, you might have noticed our video photo display near the registration table. The slideshow featured 677 photos from the WBA’s huge photo archive. We recently digitized thousands of photos dating back to at least 30 years ago. We were happy to share these glimpses into the past as part of our celebration of 70 years for the WBA.

While we welcome more faces back to our newsletter, we’re also welcoming new faces to your WBA Board of Directors. I would like to highlight our incoming chair, Don Vesely, who takes over for Chris Bernier who served a rare 19-month term as chair. We also said thank you to outgoing board members Dean Kallenbach, Jeff Welton, and previous board chair Steve Lavin. Thank you all for your service to the WBA Board.

Your new WBA Board was named in August and already held its first meeting in September. We’re excited to welcome Marta Bechtol, Anne Brown, Randy Hawke, Suzanne Hoffman, and Chris Palmer.

A special thank you to Scott Trentadue for his many years of service to the WBA Foundation Board as he’s retiring from the Foundation Board. Chris Bernier was elected to Trentadue’s seat on the Board and the Foundation Board welcomed Colleen Valkoun who will take Beriner’s seat on the Foundation Board as a representative from the WBA Board.

We’re grateful for everything you do for your local communities. Keep sharing your local service stories with us so we can continue sharing your inspiring acts of public service with everyone.

And be sure to smile for the camera!

Broadcasters should be ‘proud to serve’

Posted On: September 24, 2021

Each year, Mike O’Brien and I team up at the Student Seminar for a session on advertising sales. The session provides a great introduction to radio and television sales and demonstrates how it impacts station operations. We also talk about the traits that are important in a broadcast salesperson…the salesperson DNA.

Every year Mike uses the phrase “servant’s heart.” He explains to the students that the best account executives/salespeople at their core want to help businesses grow. They have a servant’s heart.

The WBA is lucky to have a collection of committee members and board members that have a servant’s heart. Without a strong membership, our association would faulter. We are fiscally strong because our members are active and participate. The leadership of Michelle Vetterkind and her team is unmatched by any other state association, but that same team can’t do everything our membership needs. A modern association must have members that don’t simply pay dues or fill board seats, they must participate with a servant’s heart. Our Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has such a heart.

During my time on the Board and on the Executive team, that enthusiasm has not been lost on me. Since 2014, I have had the opportunity to work with the finest broadcasters in Wisconsin. I have become more knowledgeable on the threats that face our industry. To put it simply, I’ve become a better broadcaster because of all of you. I am proud to serve as Chair of the WBA and will do so with a servant’s heart.

Don Vesely is currently Vice-President and General Manager of WMTV television in Madison, WI.  Previously, Don worked in Rockford, Illinois from 1994-2001.  Since October 2001, he has worked at WMTV in the roles of Account Executive, Local Sales Manager, General Sales Manager, and GM.  Don succeeded WBA Hall of Famer Bob Smith as GM in 2013 when Bob was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for Gray Television.

Should you buy a home if you have a short-term contract?

Posted On: September 1, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, OR - FEBRUARY 16, 2016: ReMax Integrity listing with a for sale sign is now pending as the real estate market picks up again and prices go up.

It’s undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions in a person’s life – buying a house. But how do you know if you’re ready? Or if it’s even a good move, given the fact you most likely have a contract that’s only two or three years?

Reece Van Haaften is the former Sports Director at WSAW-TV in Wausau. He and his wife recently moved to Knoxville, Tennessee to continue his broadcast career at WATE-TV. He spent three years in Wausau and during that time bought and sold a house.

He said he started out renting in Wausau.

“We stayed in an apartment for three months while searching for a house, which my wife, Jess, did a tremendous job at. Unfortunately, it cost us more for doing month-to-month in an apartment, but it paid off in the long run,” he said.

Buying a home in Wausau was their first home purchase.

He says here are the pros: You have an opportunity to make a good investment, you get a place to call your own, and not have to deal with an apartment neighbor. Plus, you’ll save money if you have pets since apartments charge extra for them.

And the cons: You have to have liquid cash available for any maintenance, so that can restrict you. If you plan to move, you could lose out on equity. And of course, yard maintenance.

He said anyone thinking about owning a home should do their research about homeowner’s insurance.

“Jess and I wish we knew more about home insurance because our roof collapsed. It caused us to figure out what our insurance covered really quickly.”

He said when they went to sell their home they profited 44 percent. However, what they didn’t realize was that seller pays the commission to the realtor when the home sells. Typically, about 5-7 percent on the overall sale of the home.

“It helps that housing market is on fire currently. We also renovated our entire upstairs after the roof collapsed, so we did put some money into the house. Unfortunately, the flip side is we aren’t expecting to make as much money in our next house because we’re buying while the housing market is hot.”

If you think you’re ready to buy a home the first step is visiting a bank to get pre-approved. This process involved income and employment verification. You’ll tell the bank what price range of home you are interested in. Then if you’re approved, you’ll receive information about loan options and interest rates. Once you find your home, this information will be finalized.

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

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