Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Dick Zaragoza to receive 2020 WBA Distinguished Service Award

Posted On: February 19, 2020
Dick Zaragoza
Dick Zaragoza

The WBA’s now retired Washington lawyer, Richard (Dick) Zaragoza, will receive the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

The Award was established to recognize those who “reflect the values embodied in the Wisconsin broadcast industry of promoting economic vitality, engagement in civic affairs, advocacy for the First Amendment and dissemination of community information and community service, and support of diversity and a better Wisconsin.”

Dick was nominated by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Board and by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation Board.

Dick’s decades of service to the WBA and its members, as well as to the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (“NASBA”),  ... Read More

Doty to lead recruitment, retention for Morgan Murphy Media

Posted On: February 18, 2020
Kate Doty
Kate Doty

Morgan Murphy Media has named Kate Doty to the newly-created role of director of talent and team development.

She will lead company-wide efforts to find and build relationships with quality talent, help current employees grow their careers, and promote the overall company culture.

She previously worked in various marketing, sales, and research positions for Morgan Murphy Media at its Madison office.  ... Read More

New GM named for WKBT-TV

Posted On: February 17, 2020
Christopher Palmer
Christopher Palmer

Christopher Palmer has been named vice president and general manager of WKBT-TV in La Crosse.

Palmer has worked in broadcast management and sales for more than 20 years, most recently at WMC in Memphis, Tennessee where he worked since 2015.

He has previously worked at WTOL in Toledo, Ohio, KLAS in Las Vegas, WorldNow in New York, and WKMG in Orlando, Florida.

Scott Chorski retired as GM at WKBT-TV in January.  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses focus on public education funding, crime bills

Posted On: February 14, 2020

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin lawmakers focus on public school funding and a package of bills on public safety. These addresses are available for Wisconsin broadcasters to use as they see fit. Here are the summaries from WisPolitics:

— Rep. Sondy Pope in this week’s Dem radio address touted the Gov. Tony Evers’ call for a special session to increase public school funding in this week’s radio address.

The Mt. Horeb Dem said Evers plans to return public education to two-thirds state funding with $130 million in equalization aid for school district property tax relief.  ... Read More

WUWM duo awarded IRE fellowship

Posted On: February 12, 2020

WUWM-FM digital producer Lauren Sigfusson and reporter Maayan Silver are two of 25 journalists to be awarded a fellowship from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Sigfusson and Silver received a Data in Local Newsroom Training Program fellowship, which is funded by Google News Initiative.

Before working for WUWM, Sigfusson was associate editor for Discover magazine and Drone360 magazine. She has also written and edited marketing content for Uber.

Silver was previously an assistant producer for WUWM’s Lake Effect and before that worked as a criminal defense attorney.  ... Read More

Deadline nears for WBA Hall of Fame, Local Broadcast Legends

Posted On: February 12, 2020

The 2020 deadline for nominations to the WBA Hall of Fame and Local Broadcast Legends is Saturday, Feb. 15. 

To learn more about each and to find nomination forms, follow these links:

WBA Hall of Fame

WBA Local Broadcast Legends  ... Read More

Journalism Ethics and the Crisis in Local News

Posted On: February 10, 2020
Program Date: April 24, 2020

The Center for Journalism Ethics will host its 12th annual journalism ethics conference at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, Wisconsin. Titled “Journalism Ethics & the Crisis in Local News” the conference will be free and open to the public. 

This conference will bring together news media professionals, non-profit news leaders, media innovators, academics, students and the public to address the current crisis in local journalism with special attention to media ethics.

Panelists will take on topics such as funding models, transparency, disinformation, digital media, truth and trust. And participants will leave with a better understanding of the factors driving the current crisis,  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses focus on Black History Month, supporting agriculture

Posted On: February 7, 2020

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin lawmakers focus on Black History Month and supporting agriculture in Wisconsin. These addresses are available for Wisconsin broadcasters to use as they see fit. Here are the summaries from WisPolitics:

— Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in this week’s Dem radio address emphasized the importance of Black History Month.

“This month in Wisconsin, we celebrate Black history–our history,” he said. “And when I say our history, I mean everyone in our state, because Black history is Wisconsin history.”

Barnes highlighted Vel Phillips, the former secretary of state and the first black woman to hold statewide office,  ... Read More

Director, producer to headline WBA Student Seminar

Posted On: February 6, 2020
Phil Johnston
Phil Johnston

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA) Student Seminar is set for Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Marriott West, Madison (Middleton). Director, voice actor, film producer, and screenwriter Phil Johnston will present the keynote address. Johnston, who is a UW-Madison grad, wrote the screenplay for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012) and “Zootopia” (2016). He is also an Emmy winning news reporter at KARE-TV, Minneapolis. Johnston is featured on a panel in the morning and will hand out the 17th annual “Student Awards for Excellence” during lunch. In addition, the four recipients of the WBA Foundation Scholarships will be introduced.  ... Read More

Grant takes new approach to supporting future of broadcasting

Posted On: January 8, 2020

Michelle Vetterkind WBA President & CEO

While the WBA’s scholarships continue to support students looking to start a career in broadcasting, one of our scholarships is changing to a grant aimed at helping young broadcasters who might want help paying down their student debt.

The Results Broadcasting Scholarship is now the Results Broadcasting Education Debt Assistance Grant.

Grant originators Bruce and Don Grassman are interested in helping those who have committed themselves to a career in broadcasting by providing $1,000 in student debt relief.

We’re accepting applications now through Feb. 28 and will recognize the recipient at the WBA Summer Conference.

Young Professionals of the Year

And…we have another first in this newsletter. We’re listing the first two Young Professional of the Year honorees. Heather Storm and Eric Bartos are the first two of six Young Professionals we will recognize ahead of the WBA Summer Conference where we will name one of the six as our WBA Young Professional of the Year.

Do you have a YP on your staff who you think should be honored next year? You can submit nominations anytime

Fast turnaround on your survey answers

Thank you to those of you who responded to an online survey from Jacobs Media that we sent to our members. We wanted to know about the greatest challenges you’re facing regarding digital media.

The results of the survey were very clear: You want help with monetizing your digital efforts.

Well, we’re listening and so is Jacobs Media. Paul Jacobs is coming to Madison on Tuesday, Jan. 28, a day ahead of the Winter Conference, to make a presentation about monetizing digital. Jacobs Media is also going to focus on that topic in their columns and we will continue to work with Jacobs Media on other ways to help members with this critical topic.

Body cams likely to lead on State Legislative Day

We hope you will consider joining your fellow broadcasters on Wednesday, Jan. 29 in Madison to spend time with our state lawmakers. State Legislative Day is part of our Winter Conference.

This year we expect to be talking to lawmakers about a bill that would set rules regarding police body cameras, which include new rules about the release of video recorded by these cameras.

If you’ve never joined us for State Legislative Day, we can team you up with broadcasters who’ve done it before. Getting to know your local lawmakers can be an interesting and enlightening experience. We encourage you to get involved. Contact us to learn more.

Making a Difference

Wisconsin’s broadcasters have a lot to be proud of and it’s made so clear during the holiday season. Please check this out to get a taste of what your fellow radio and TV station members did to make the season brighter for people in their communities. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised and countless hours were dedicated to making life better for the people of Wisconsin. Your generosity knows no bounds!

You might already be a member

As we wrap up the membership renewal season, it’s a fitting time to remind you that anyone who works for a station that is a WBA member is, themselves, a member of the WBA.

The WBA offers memberships for retired broadcasters, associate members, but of course, most of our members are the radio and TV stations of Wisconsin and all the wonderful people who work at those stations.

I hope you and your families and friends a safe, happy, and fulfilling 2020.

Local newsrooms strive to inform communities without bias

Posted On: January 9, 2020
Steve Lavin
Steve Lavin

My name and email address is listed at the top of the station management contact page on our station website so viewers tend to send me the most emails with their questions or concerns. I get comments about anything you can imagine, and some are downright silly. A couple weeks ago I found out how critical “General Hospital” is to several viewers in our area. I guess live breaking news coverage of a violent attack on a school resource officer and the safety of 800 local high school students was not enough of a concern for them. Some viewers can’t understand why they received six inches of snow at their house when our meteorologists predicted 3-5 inches. Others are critical of our talents’ hairstyle or wardrobe. I could do a whole column on that subject.

The concern that I have seen most often lately are the comments like, “Although I have been watching your news religiously for 25 years, I can’t watch it anymore because your news is biased.” They rarely give specifics. They just claim bias. I enjoy corresponding with these viewers so I can learn more about their accusations. It’s funny how a local news station can be both conservatively biased and liberally biased all on the same day.

Can our local news organizations survive in our markets if we served up a favored slant in our local news coverage? The last time I checked, Wisconsin is a solid purple state. We would lose half our local news audience if we actually catered to one view or the other.  

I have had some conversations with others in the business, and this is what I think:

  • Cable outlets devote prime-time hours to opinion hosts giving their takes and perspective on the news. Many cable show hosts would admit they are not journalists as they clearly favor a certain political view.
  • For those who consume a steady diet of partisan cable news programming, watching (or listening to) local news outlets reporting facts without speculation or emotion can be quite jarring.
  • People hear what they want to hear.
  • Some news consumers are too willing to attack the messenger with accusations of bias even when established facts are reported.
  • These news consumers take out their fury on people who are thousands of miles away from where the national story is unfolding.

Wisconsin’s local broadcast newsrooms are full of excellent reporters and newsroom managers. They live and work in their local communities. They are focused on events in their communities and how events (both local and national) might affect the entire community. Their duty continues to be to inform, not entertain.

Steve Lavin, WBA Board Chair

What makes a good leader

Posted On: February 5, 2020
Juli Buehler

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”


And Vince Lombardi would know best. He never had a losing season in the NFL.


So what traits do news directors recognize in their leaders? Juli Buehler is News Director at WLUK-TV FOX 11 News in Green Bay. She helps us uncover the answer.


I reached out because I think for young staff members emerging as the leader they want to be can sometimes be intimidating— especially in a newsroom with veteran or senior staff.


Buehler highlighted three areas: Creativity, a desire to always learn, and the ‘buy-in’.


“I think creativity is one of the most important traits of a new or future leader. The creativity to work a story, add that extra graphic, write that compelling lead sentence … all combine to set an individual’s work apart from the crowd,” she explained.


She said journalists should look at every assignment as an opportunity.


“Sometimes in a desire to lead, individuals forget that important aspect of learning,” Buehler said.


“When we hire new journalists it is important to realize that the individual has a great deal to learn every day – from everyone in the newsroom. Don’t close yourself off to guidance or assistance, because you think you need to lead and that leaders know it all. That is far from the case.”


She said good leaders are good learners.


Lastly, she explained individuals who are supportive of colleagues and the strategic mission of the newsroom will rise to the top.


“Someone who understands the brand and why the newsroom operates the way it does — and not “fight” the system simply to do so. Mentoring is an important part of newsrooms these days as more and more ‘newly minted journalists’ join newsrooms of all market sizes. It is important to “buy-in” to the newsroom’s strategic goals. It is important to “buy-in” to where you are working. Support your colleagues and the brand goals. Serve your community.”

Heather Poltrock, WSAW-TV, Wausau

Financial planning for young broadcasters

Posted On: February 4, 2020

Heather Storm

Keep in mind, I am not a financial professional, so take this advice with a grain of salt, but these are my experiences as a young professional who was once afraid to give up any part of my paycheck (first gig was $18,000). While still young enough to be considered a young professional, I’ve also worked in the industry and saved enough to see results.

Start Now

I’m going to begin by repeating everything your parents have told you: “I know you’re not making that much, but you need to start saving for retirement now.” Yes, they are 100 percent correct. The sooner you begin, the better off you will be once retirement comes. When you put off saving money for a 401K or other program, it becomes far too easy to continue procrastinating. And in investing, as in all things, time is money. Every year (or month) you spend avoiding retirement planning is money lost.  

The First Step 

It’s not as difficult as you think! First, find out what type of 401K program your company offers by meeting with human resources. Many employers offer 401K matches up to a certain percent. Learn what that threshold is and even if you want to start small, you may be able to opt in for an automatic percentage increase each year until you reach the maximum. Trust me, you won’t miss the money, but you will be able to see it in your retirement account! Mine is set for an automatic increase and I’ve watched my overall account balance double in two years. Other employers will offer stock options or employee ownership. If all else fails, meet with a financial planner on your own, such as Morgan Stanley or Principal. I have personally used both, but find Principal to be especially user friendly, particularly for newer investors.

Set Goals

Many workplaces offer meetings with a third party financial advisor. These meetings determine how much you should be taking out of each paycheck in order to be on track for retirement, considering inflation, cost of living, employee match percentage and many other factors. If you want to increase your paycheck contribution to the full match amount permitted by your employer, this advisor can assist you in the steps to achieving this goal. Another interesting route to explore is the age at which you could be financially able to retire (it may be earlier than you think). A professional once advised me to map out my living expenses and debts, followed by the approximate cost of everything I want to have or experience in my lifetime (a boat, trip to Australia, childrens’ college educations, etc.) and to determine my goals from there. This exercise puts your goals and the ability to financially achieve them in perspective. The possibilities may pleasantly surprise you!


Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Most advisors and programs allow you to automatically diversify your stocks. You are not choosing your favorite brands, a well prepared algorithm does the work for you! If your employer offers company stock options, do not choose only this and forgo a 401K contribution plan. If you’re putting away $20 a paycheck into a savings account, great, but still contribute to your 401K. 

Life Insurance

Another opportunity in your financial planning…life insurance. The recommendation varies depending on your life situation, but if you have children or even a serious significant other, life insurance may be a wise choice. I witnessed a classmate with two children lose her husband in an athletic accident at age 30. Thankfully, they had life insurance, which quite frankly, kept them afloat. Again, the sooner you begin, the better you (or in this case, loved ones you may leave behind) will be. 

Market Shake Ups

Remember not to let market volatility intimidate you. You may opt for more or less aggressive investments on your money and this can be changed as you see fit. DO NOT PANIC during market drops or crashes. When your balance sometimes goes down, it will come back up, and “you are not retiring tomorrow, are you?” (wise words from a more senior co-worker). We are not in the business of stocks, we are in the business of broadcasting! We wouldn’t want financial advisors doing our job, so let them do theirs! I’ve also learned not to check your balance daily, especially in times of market volatility. Don’t stress, just act, and let the money do it’s work for you.

Heather Storm, Woodward Radio Group, Appleton

Young professionals should focus on work, life balance

Posted On: February 3, 2020
Cory Gylock
Cory Gylock

As I sit here on #SuperMonday, reflecting back on another crazy Packer postseason run and final Super Bowl push over the last several weeks, I am reminded of the importance of “unplugging.”

Balancing work and life is something that seems tricky for Young Professionals. For most YPs, life leading up to being a professional is a series of “short sprints,” making balancing life and school a very simple thing to do. Elementary school, followed by middle school, then high school, and finally college, these “short sprints” not only consist of shorter days but also longer breaks, giving students something to always be looking forward to.

At what point is a YP actually prepared for the “marathon” that is having a career? Most often times the answer is that they are not prepared, they just get thrown into the “marathon” with a lifelong training in “short sprints” and are expected to just figure out how to make it all work within the framework of their life.

As you begin your career journey, the work/life balance that you are comfortable with should be just as important to consider as your career path itself.

Read more

Cory Gylock, WLAX-TV, La Crosse

Find tools to save time

Posted On: January 30, 2020
Katie Warren
Katie Warren

With a busy start to the year, it is important to make sure you keep your thoughts in order and keep track of deadlines! Below are 3 great free tools you can use to help track projects, sales, and to-do’s all while being on time!

  • Trello- works on desktop and as an app on your phone. Great for project management and tracking daily/weekly/monthly tasks. You can even share it and collaborate with other people.
  • Google Streak- Hard to keep track of contacts and emails? You can create a sales funnel, email funnel, project funnel, ect… and attach emails directly to your entries. You can figure out where you are in the process without digging through the email chain.
  • Waze- Did you know you can plan drives? on days where I have many meetings, I plan all of my drives in waze and it notifies me 10 minutes before I need to leave for each meeting (and it takes into account traffic and delays).

Katie Warren, Midwest Communications, Green Bay


Download the WBA “MemberPlus” App

WBA Awards Gala begins in...


Recent Tweets