Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Grassman named chair of Conference Committee

Posted On: August 10, 2020
Don Grassman
Don Grassman

Don Grassman has been named chair of the WBA Conference Committee. He replaces Rick McCoy who retired from Mid-West Family Broadcasting earlier this year.

Grassman is President and co-owner of Results Broadcasting and President and co-owner of Tower Road Media in Waupaca.

The WBA Conference Committee is responsible for planning the WBA’s annual Summer Conference.  ... Read More

Ownership changes prompt dial, format changes at 5 La Crosse stations

Posted On: August 4, 2020

Five radio stations in the La Crosse area are undergoing dial position changes or format changes after La Crosse Media Group sold the stations to three new owners.

Magnum Media closed last week on its acquisition of 106.3 WQCC-FM, 102.7 KQEG-FM, 1490-AM WLFN from La Crosse Media Group and FM translator 97.9 from The Salvation Poem Foundation. The stations join Magnum’s other La Crosse Market Radio stations 96.1 WXYM-FM which is re-broadcasted on FM translator 107.3, 94.5 WTMB-FM, 1460 WBOG-AM which is re-broadcasted on FM translator 101.3.  Magnum also operates KQEG-TV in La Crosse which, after the digital re-pack is complete,  ... Read More

Radio group promotes Black-owned businesses

Posted On: August 3, 2020

A group of iHeartMedia’s radio stations in Milwaukee are launching an initiative to support Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and nonprofits.

The Brilliantly Black initiative is being led by radio stations V100.7 (WKKV-FM), FM106.1 (WMIL-FM), 95.7 BIG FM (WRIT-FM), 97.3 The Game (WRNW-FM), and The BIG 920 (WOKY-AM). The initiative is modeled after a similar program at iHeartMedia Chicago in which each radio station encourages listeners to visit its website and enter keyword “brilliant” to get more information about Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and community resources. The available information includes health and wellness businesses, fashion and beauty, community and faith organizations,  ... Read More

Broadcasters to air PSAs to promote voter education

Posted On: August 3, 2020

Wisconsin’s radio and TV stations are invited to participate in a nationwide PSA campaign to promote voter education ahead of the 2020 election.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) partnered with the League of Women Voters to produce and distribute radio and television PSAs in English and Spanish that were shared with stations across the country.

Stations are encouraged to run the spots through Election Day on Nov. 3.

“As broadcasters, we can serve an indispensable role in educating voters and driving civic participation, helping our communities understand the importance of exercising their right to vote,” the NAB wrote in a statement.  ... Read More

Local Radio Freedom Act gains support of majority of U.S. House

Posted On: August 3, 2020

A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives now supports the Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) after 12 House Members added their cosponsorship to the resolution opposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations. The resolution, which signals Members of Congress’s opposition to any potential legislation that imposes new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay, now has 223 cosponsors in the House and 27 in the Senate.

Wisconsin Congressmen 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) are cosponsors of the House bill.  ... Read More

Baun to resign in September

Posted On: July 28, 2020

Linda Baun

WBA Vice President Linda Baun will resign from the organization in September after 14 years.

Baun joined the WBA in 2006 and led numerous WBA events including the Broadcasters Clinic, the WBA Awards for Excellence program and Awards Gala, the Student Seminar, the winter and summer conferences, and numerous other WBA events including countless social events and broadcast training sessions. She coordinated the WBA’s EEO Assistance Action Plan, ran numerous committees, and handled administration of the WBA office.

“Linda’s shoes will be impossible to fill,” said WBA President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind. “Linda earned a well-deserved reputation for always going above and beyond what our members expected of her and the extra special personal touches she added to every event.”

“It’s difficult to lose somebody that has been such an integral part of your organization,” said WBA Board Chair Chris Bernier.  ... Read More

Magnum closes deal for 3 NRG stations

Posted On: July 27, 2020

Magnum Communications has completed the purchase three southern Wisconsin radio stations from NRG Media.

Included in the deal are Kool 106.5 (WKCH) in Whitewater, 107.3 WSJY in Fort Atkinson, and News/Talk 940 WFAW in Fort Atkinson. The deal was first announced in December.

NRG Media is based in Iowa and owns radio stations in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Magnum owns stations across Wisconsin.

Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction. The purchase price was not announced.  ... Read More

Eau Claire station flips to sports format

Posted On: July 24, 2020

An iHeartMedia station in Eau Claire flipped Friday to a sports format.

Classic Hits station “98.7 The Brew” is now “The Fan” 98.7/1400 (WBIZ-AM).

The station will broadcast Chippewa Valley area high school sports and professional sports including Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Vikings and Milwaukee Bucks.

“The Chippewa Valley is often a house divided when it comes to Wisconsin and Minnesota sports teams,” said Dave DeVille, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Eau Claire. “We’ve curated a home base station for all sports fans to enjoy.”

Full Programming Lineup:
The Power Trip 5:30 a.m.  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses address unemployment insurance claims and WisCovered program

Posted On: July 24, 2020

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from the Wisconsin Capitol highlight the issues of unemployment insurance claims and the WisCovered program. These addresses are available for Wisconsin broadcasters to use as they see fit. Here are the summaries from WisPolitics:

— Rep. Romaine Quinn in this week’s GOP radio address criticized the Evers administration’s response to unpaid Unemployment Insurance claims.

Unemployment Insurance claims from the pandemic shutdown are growing while more than 100,000 Wisconsinites still wait for a response, the Rice Lake Republican said.

“The time for rhetoric and excuses from the Evers administration is over.  ... Read More


Broadcasters serve communities through adversity, uncertainty

Posted On: July 9, 2020

Michelle Vetterkind WBA President & CEO

Broadcasting is hard. And yes…it’s always been hard.

You don’t do it because it’s easy. You do it because you truly believe in the public service you provide to your local communities and your fellow Wisconsinites.

But right now, it’s especially hard. We know that the pandemic and the recent protests have placed an incalculable toll on your ability to do your jobs and stay on the air. Many of you are taking tremendous risks to perform your jobs that you probably never anticipated when you joined this field…broadcasting.

That said, you’re still here and you’re still broadcasting.

In my 25 years with the WBA, I have never (ever) been prouder of our industry. We’re fortunate each day to see the positive energy you bring to your communities and we do our best to shine a spotlight on those amazing examples.

Your WBA is here for all our broadcasters. We are your go-to resource. If you visit the WBA website you’ll find a compilation of resources to help with the pandemic and responding to civil unrest along with all the resources you already rely on, like our legal hotlines, and modified resources, like our virtual Summer Conference (keep reading for more on that).

If all you need is for someone to listen, we’re here for that too.

Now, a few more items of note for you:

Summer Conference goes virtual

As you know, your WBA called off its in-person Summer Conference which would have been held a few weeks ago in La Crosse, but we know your need for professional development has likely grown during this challenging time, so we’ve compiled a series of exciting events in July to help you. We have a two-day virtual sales and management media summit called “Rising Above” on July  22-23, two separate two-day journalism workshops with Al Tompkins from Poynter on July 20-21 and July 27-28, and a Virtual Job Fair that will run the week of July 20-24. You can learn about all of these events on your WBA website.

In June, as part of our WBA Assistance Action for EEO Compliance, we held an EEO session with David Oxenford. We hope those who attended found it enlightening.

Planning underway for Broadcasters Clinic

We are so very proud of our Broadcasters Clinic that draws broadcast engineers from throughout the country. This year’s Clinic is scheduled for Oct. 13-15 at the Madison Marriott West. An agenda will come soon but early bird registration is open now! Learn more here.

Congratulations to WBA Award winners

It was a competitive year for the WBA Awards and while we couldn’t celebrate your amazing work in person, we hope you all got a chance to participate in the online recognition. If you haven’t already, please send us photos with your awards so we can share with everyone else! Email contact@wi-broadcasters.org.

All the award winners are available here and here [PDF] and in the most recent print WBA newsletter. Your WBA Awards Committee is already working on plans for next year. A special thank you to American Awards and Promotions which shipped all the awards directly to the stations this year. It was a huge task.

And…congratulations again to all the winners!

WBA ships about 6,000 face masks to members

Your WBA recently got a shipment of face masks from Wisconsin Emergency Management and FEMA and shipped about 6,000 to station managers that requested them. We hope the masks are helpful in keeping everyone safer as they bravely serve their communities.

More responses needed for bylaws vote

Station managers should have received notice from your WBA of the need for your stations’ votes on changes to the WBA bylaws. To make a valid vote, we need to hear from at least 80 percent of member stations. If you haven’t responded, please do. If you have questions, please contact Kyle Geissler at kgeissler@wi-broadcasters.org.

Take pride in the role you serve!!

I would be remiss not to draw attention to the truly amazing efforts you continue to give to help your communities through this pandemic. We have some of the latest examples here, but these are just the stories that we’re aware of. We know there are many, many more.

It’s an extraordinarily busy time for all of us, but please take a moment this week to reflect on your role and take pride in it. It doesn’t matter what your job is. Everyone at your station is contributing and everyone should take the same measure of pride.

When we reflect on this time from sometime in the future, I’m confident we will see it as a moment that set a new standard for future broadcasters.

We need you. Your communities need you. Stay safe.

Broadcasters step up during unbelievable times

Posted On: July 7, 2020

What a tremendous job Wisconsin Broadcasters have done during the pandemic. I think it is safe to say virtually every radio and TV station participated in or produced their own community events to help residents.

Midwest Communications in central Wisconsin teamed up with WAOW-TV recognizing hometown heroes. Many stations assisted local businesses, some offering free advertising by encouraging businesses to call in to their morning shows to talk about what was going on at their business. That was just part of what WBEV and WXRO did in Dodge County. They also had a community dance party on March 28. Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison hosted a free webinar to help local businesses coping with the economic downturn. And of course, “Jump Around,” on Saturday afternoons had the entire state jumping in their driveways, patios, and yards. A brief respite from the times.

You will find a list of recent events and programs that Wisconsin broadcasters did to better their communities on page 7 and you can find the complete list here.

The Economics of Broadcasting

Unfortunately, many people were furloughed or terminated during the pandemic. Many of the broadcasters that I have talked with participated in the Payroll Protection Plan. If they had furloughed anybody, they have brought everybody back. Also, they all spoke very favorably about the PPP.

Hopefully, business will return to normal and there will be no new layoffs or terminations. When will the business return? It could be well into 2021. So many events have been canceled and will not return until next year, like fairs, concerts, and sporting events.

If you have ideas that have made up some of this lost revenue, please share with the WBA so we can pass them on to our members.

Chris Bernier, Chair, WBA Board of Directors


Use your talents for volunteerism

Posted On: July 8, 2020

Heather Storm

As local broadcasters, community is arguably our industry’s greatest strength. Not only are we fortunate enough to super serve our neighbors with vital information and entertainment, we’re also in a position to fully immerse ourselves in the cities from which we broadcast. And because this line of work requires a glossing knowledge of a multitude of subjects and connections to other organizations, opportunities abound to serve our community outside of hours on the clock. These occasions for community action can be executed with as much or as little attention as the situation appropriates. They can be branded and promoted as station events or performed quietly as private citizens.

So, you want to be active in your community on a personal and professional level? As broadcasters, we can do more than simply show up. What can we do and how do we use our skills and connections as broadcasters to achieve these connections to our local neighborhoods?

Telethons and radiothons hold potentially the greatest impact, particularly financially. Lasting anywhere from an hour to several days and benefiting local individuals or national charity funds, these events require planning and creativity in programming. A grand example is the Radio Cares Radiothon raising half a million dollars nationwide for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Relief, but smaller scale events at individual stations provide significant impact as well.

Individually, the most common request for radio and television personalities is hosting events. This includes everything from fundraisers, to 5Ks and galas, and requires public speaking and impromptu skills. Events with live auctions necessitate your best persuasion skills to get those items sold to the highest bidder. While these appearances are typically reflective of a station partnership and sponsored promotionally, smaller and unaffiliated opportunities exist as well. Why not DJ a sick (or perfectly healthy) kid’s birthday? Or host a fun run at your child’s school?

What other skills can we employ besides speaking and bringing awareness to a cause or event?

  • School presentations—Plenty of students from elementary age through college are looking for industry leaders (and novices) to discuss varying careers and even more generic topics like interviewing and resumes.
  • Troop tours—Many scout troops seek a broadcasting badge and can earn this by touring stations. This can be as simple as a 30-minute tour around a station showing them what the facilities look like and discussing roles of jobs in the industry.
  • Mentoring—This also includes groups from elementary schools (help a morning announcer perfect their technique) all the way through high school and college (help them learn about salaries, negotiating, and finding internships).
  • Individual, routine volunteer activity—This could include regular volunteer hours at an animal shelter or children’s hospital, strengthening your professional relationship with the organization and local leaders.
  • Donating personal or station sanctioned items—This requires minimal time and may include an advertising campaign (personally funded by you or donated by the station) or sports memorabilia you had signed through professional endeavors or on your own.
  • Social media—Whether you’re a social media manager or simply a station contributor, you can use these skills to assist a small, local non-profit organization and help them reach a greater potential.
  • Audio and video editing—Dance groups, school performances, and really any non- profit with limited resources can always use these skills for necessary projects.
  • Team building—Want to help sales and programming work together or help a new on-air team bond, organize a group outing to serve the community! Some cities offer “volunteer buses” where you’re taken to a surprise location to work on a project for a few hours (ex. decorating cookies for a nursing home party or walking dogs at an overcrowded shelter).

As broadcasters, we are fortunate enough to provide essential information to our community on the clock, but we also have a vast array of talents that we can service off the clock, privately or publicly, on large or small scales. Let’s go out and make our neighborhood a better place, one broadcaster at a time!

Heather Storm, Woodward Radio Group, Appleton

Covering a protest? Be prepared

Posted On: July 8, 2020
Chet Daniels
Chet Daniels

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press shares some useful guides to help you better understand your rights and avoid incident:

https://www.rcfp.org/resources/police-protesters-and-the-press/

Tips to grow your station Facebook page

Posted On: July 1, 2020

Does growing your station’s Facebook page, or any other social platform, seem like a daunting/ time-consuming task? If so, I have some tips to supplement the content you’re already sharing!

Post engaging content

As more and more people turn to social media to get their news, you want to make sure your content is showing up on your followers’ feeds first. One way to make that happen is by creating content that your audience wants to engage with. If your post is creating a conversation, Facebook will deem that post as important and make it show up for your followers before less-engaging content. 

How do you make a post engaging? Ask a question! The first graphic is going to garner a lot more comments than the second graphic.

   

Engage with your audience

Having a smaller number of dedicated/engaged followers is better than having a ton of ‘ghost followers.’ A follower who doesn’t engage with your content will not benefit your page in the long-run. A great way to recruit dedicated followers is to engage with them!

How do you feel when a brand or celebrity responds to you on social media? Probably pretty good! That’s how your audience feels.Your audience will feel more connected and dedicated to a brand (aka your station) if they feel like they have a personal relationship with you.

Respond to comments on your station page as the station or assign on-air talent to respond to followers once and awhile.

Create shareable content

If your audience shares your post, that means their friends are seeing it as well, and allows a greater chance for more people to discover your page. So, what makes a post shareable? Some attributes to a shareable post include shocking, noteworthy, useful or easy to consume (short and to the point text). Also, posts with images or videos are more likely to be shared than a link or status. 

This post has an image, gives noteworthy information, asks a question and has a link to more info. No wonder this performed well! This post had more than 1,500 shares.

Cross-promote

Recruit your followers from other social platforms. Share your Facebook post on Twitter, have a swipe up to your Facebook page on an Instagram story. Remind them why they should be following you on Facebook (what will a follower benefit from following your Facebook page that they won’t get from your Twitter?). Also, help your on-air talent by sharing their posts on your page as well.

Get personal

Show off your skills, your talent, and what’s going on around the station. Your viewers are curious and they love to engage with light-hearted content. 

  • Make use of Facebook lives
  • Show any new features or faces around the newsroom
  • Share life updates of your on-air talent
  • What do your anchors do off air? Take selfies? They want to see that too!


If you follow these tips, I guarantee that you will have a healthier Facebook page!

If you have any questions, you can reach me at andrea.stegman@gray.tv or message me on my work Facebook page.

Andrea Stegman is a Social Media Specialist for Gray TV. She is stationed at NBC15 in Madison and works with all stations in Grays 93+ markets.

Koser to start boutique ad agency, leave Young Professionals Committee

Posted On: June 11, 2020

Young Professionals Committee Chair JT Koser is leaving Koser Radio Group in Rice Lake and will resign from his position on the Young Professionals Committee.

Koser was one of the founding members of the Young Professionals Committee when it formed in 2011. He also served on the WBA Board of Directors from 2015 to 2019. He played a leadership role in young professional initiatives that included the mentorship program, the YP of the Year Award, and numerous events geared toward young broadcasters, including The Toolbox.

Koser and his wife Katie are moving to the Twin Cities area in July where JT will be building his boutique agency focused on small independently owned businesses.  

“I want everyone throughout the WBA to know how grateful I am for the time I’ve had with all of you,” Koser wrote. “I have especially enjoyed my time with the Young Professionals and the WBA Board. I truly believe the future of the broadcasting industry is very bright, with Wisconsin leading the charge! In my college years I always knew I wanted to start my own business, but choosing the specific area was always a cloudy subject. This is why I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work right alongside my father and his radio stations over the last decade, as it has truly helped me understand my love for advertising, especially when it comes to helping the small business owner.”

Koser encourages broadcasters to continue focusing on what they do best: localism.

“I believe that local radio and TV stations have one of the greatest opportunities in this quickly changing landscape, where you can be a true resource for businesses that need to reach their target customers in their local area. Locally owned businesses won’t get personalized service from Google, Facebook or any other large digital-only option. They need a local entity to help them navigate what’s best for their business in their own community, and local radio and TV Stations are the best ones to help them do it.” 

Koser also said he will continue to promote radio.

“While I am going to miss working with you, I won’t be too far away. Rest assured…radio and TV are among my TOP recommendations for any business and their advertising! Lastly, I want to recognize Michelle, Linda, Kyle, and Liz for their incredible leadership. The WBA has such an amazing team, without a doubt they’re simply… the best!

Koser also invites WBA members to contact him if you’re in the Twin Cities area.

Another founding member of the YP Committee, Terry Stevenson, will take the role of YP Committee Chair going forward.

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