Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Pat Hastings retires from UW-Madison

Posted On: May 24, 2022

UW-Madison professor Pat Hastings is retiring after 22 years of teaching.

Hastings specialized in video and audio journalism. She is responsible for overseeing the Badger Report, a live streamed student produced newscast, which received many awards for student work. She also teaches Long Form Video Journalism, Reporting Principles and Practices, and Storytelling Through Sound.

In 2020, Hastings earned a “distinguished” prefix to her title of “faculty associate,” a designation reserved for staff whose performance “[requires] extensive experience and advanced knowledge and skills.”

Prior to joining UW-Madison, Hastings worked in radio and television news in Pittsburgh,  ... Read More

Cameron, Roths join Legacy Club

Posted On: May 23, 2022

A WBA Board member and a WBA Hall of Famer and his wife are joining the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation’s Legacy Club.

Paul Cameron is the chief operations officer for The Family Radio Network in Appleton. Chuck Roth is a retired broadcaster most recently with Quincy Media. His wife is LuAnn Roth.

The Legacy Club was formed in 1998 to provide a formal procedure and recognition for those who make bequests or agree to make bequests to the WBA Foundation in their wills. 

For more information on how to join the Legacy Club,  ... Read More

WBA Community Workshop: Digital Tricks for Finding Local Content to Share Online and On the Air

Posted On: May 20, 2022
Program Date: June 9, 2022

Blured image of businesspeople at coffee break at conference meeting. Business and entrepreneurship. Blue toned grayscale image.

At the Community Workshop, our Digital Dot Connector, Seth Resler, shows broadcasters how they can tap into the power of the internet to make their shows and social media posts more relevant to the communities they live in.


During the first 15 minutes of the webinar, enjoy your launch as you watch a presentation by Seth Resler of Jacobs Media. During the remainder of the hour, you’ll have the opportunity to virtually network with other broadcasters from all over the state!


For the networking portion, you will need to be on a desktop or laptop computer with a camera and microphone.  ... Read More

WPR’s Dr. Jonathan Øverby inducted into Folk Alliance International Folk DJ Hall of Fame

Posted On: May 20, 2022

Dr. Jonathan Øverby, host of the popular global music program “The Road to Higher Ground” on Wisconsin Public Radio, has been inducted into Folk Alliance International’s Folk DJ Hall of Fame. Øverby joins a short list of distinguished broadcasters from around the world who are past recipients of this honor, including the BBC’s Bob Harris, the CBC’s Holger Peterson, NPR’s Fiona Ritche and Radio Nacional de España’s Manolo Fernández. The honor was presented in a ceremony in Kansas City on Wednesday night.

“I grew up in the inner city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and there I learned the power of hatred,  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses focused on gun violence, investments

Posted On: May 20, 2022

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin’s Capitol discuss gun violence and incentivizing investments. 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, Sen. LaTonya Johnson says while Gov. Tony Evers acts to prevent violence, Republicans have chosen to ignore it.

The Milwaukee Dem criticizes Republicans on gun violence prevention. She also voices the need to do more due to Milwaukee Police recovering 3,279 guns and responding to 17,002 ShotSpotter activations in 2022.

“Back in November of 2019,  ... Read More

Owner of northern Wisconsin radio stations dies

Posted On: May 18, 2022

A broadcaster with two radio stations in northern Wisconsin has died.

Stephen Marks was President and CEO of The Marks Media Group. He died May 11 at the age of 72.

Marks Media Group owns five television stations and 14 radio stations, including WCQM and WPFP in Park Falls.

Marks started his broadcasting career at age 17 as a copywriter at WINX in Rockville, Maryland. While there, he was able to learn enough to pass the FCC 3rd class with number 9 endorsement license test.

His early career was spent in radio holding positions from marketing to management.  ... Read More

We see now why conventions matter

Posted On: May 18, 2022

For the past couple of years, the pandemic has forced many of our interpersonal activities onto platforms like Zoom or Teams. While these platforms existed prior to the pandemic, they definitely allowed us to keep in touch with clients, family, and colleagues after March 2020. Once again, digital came to the rescue and made our lives easier.

Conventions adjusted as well. We were able to meet virtually, and more enhanced platforms like Remo enabled us to not only view a presentation collectively, but allowed us to “sit” at virtual tables and converse with others seated there. At a time when many of us were locked in our basements,  ... Read More

Be an ‘I’ll Do It’ person

Posted On: May 17, 2022

Of the thousands of “How to Succeed in Business” books, mine would be the shortest. One chapter, three words: “I’ll do it.”

If you want to succeed, it’s that simple. Be an “I’ll do it” person.

I’ve seen evidence time and time again of how those three tiny words can change an organization. In fact, one glorious moment of my career would never have happened if it weren’t for those three words.

It was fall of 2013, shortly after our class based UWM PantherVision newscast aired an investigative report exposing holes in UWM’s preparedness for an active shooter situation.  ... Read More

WBA Awards Gala photos available now

Posted On: May 17, 2022

Thank you to everybody to came to the WBA Awards Gala to celebrate the great work broadcasters did in 2021. It was a great event!   We now have photos from the event to share with you. Here’s a sampling:   This year we’re making all the photos from our photographer available to you to view, download, and order prints. You must get permission from whoever is in the photos you download if you want to use them for business promotion.    Find the photos here Password: gold   Find the full list of winners here. Find the same list here with links to the winning entries.  ... Read More

Springtime means renewal for your WBA

Posted On: May 17, 2022

This spring is a spring we’ve been waiting for for such an oh so long time. Since 2020, we’ve been waiting for the day when we could bring back our beloved in-person events. These events are about more than just the agendas. They’re about connection, which is something particularly important to broadcasters.

The easing of the pandemic has made this spring feel extra special. We’re saying goodbye to an extended winter from in-person activities and welcoming a fresh feeling that comes from reigniting our time-honored traditions.

On May 7, we finally got to bring back the in-person WBA Awards Gala, which we haven’t been able to celebrate together since 2019. It was a wonderful reunion and an amazing night to honor the terrific work our Wisconsin broadcasters did in 2021.

Your WBA Awards Committee is already hard at work on the 2022 awards and 2023 gala, which will return to the Madison Marriott West on May 6, 2023.

We also recently got to mark the return of the Walker Broadcast Management Institute which was also on hiatus the last two years because of the pandemic. The group of students was most definitely excited to see each other again after such a long break and also welcomed a group of new students to the three-year cycle. Five more students graduated from the Institute this year so if you’ve been thinking about joining the institute, there will be some open seats in 2023.

A heartfelt thank you to Joan Gillman for leading the institute and this year’s instructors, Steve King, Moses Altsech, and Tom Walker.

Your WBA Summer Conference is on the horizon so please make plans to join us. We’ll be at the La Crosse Radisson June 22-23 to provide you with two very full days of education, networking, and fun. The Media Technology Institute is back for three days of sessions. 

We’re particularly excited to recognize our 2022 Local Broadcast Legends and WBA Hall of Fame inductees. We’ll take time to recognize each of them at the conference on June 23.

The renewal and revival of these in-person events is a reminder for us to not take for granted the opportunities, connections, and relationships we so enjoy when we’re together. I hope you, like me, are inspired to take the energy from these events into 2023 and beyond.

Michelle Vetterkind, CAE
WBA President and CEO

Broadcasters should focus on retention, reinvesting, reimagining

Posted On: May 16, 2022

Broadcasters take great pride in keeping our communities informed and entertained, even during the most difficult of environments. Like for many businesses, the past two years has been challenging. The financial stability of our broadcast stations was challenged, yet our unwavering public responsibility as a “first informer” won out. Radio and television stations throughout Wisconsin quickly pivoted to producing and performing newscasts from home. Radio on-air personalities set up in-home studios. The NAB calls this “localism.” Wisconsin broadcasters proudly call it doing our job. 

Two years later, stations are feeling the sting from a slow recovering business landscape and the emotional toll on employees.

As one news director recently told me, the last two years has easily been the biggest challenge of their career. The pressure of keeping employees safe and healthy while keeping the community informed is daunting and rewarding at the same time. A 20-year news veteran may call the last two years the toughest of their career, but what about the hundreds of employees that experienced it immediately after graduation?

Eager new employees still exists in each of our stations, but the number of them applying has shrunk. What can we do to help slow and reverse this industry trend?

Investing is a simple three-phase approach to help slow down the exodus of current employees for greener pastures and help increase the number of applicants in the short and long term.


It’s 2022, and our industry has changed.  Why are we still filling job titles rather than job needs? If you have a $16 an hour open position in your station, would it be better to give 16 current employees a $1 an hour raise rather than fill the open position? Would giving eight employees a $2 an hour raise ($4,160 a year) prevent them from looking for greener pastures? Hold onto your true leaders and future stars by investing in them, because replacing them will most likely cost more.

The WBA Gala has concluded. Did you invest in your employees and submit their work for award season? It is an easy expense line to cut when things are tight, but recognition and pride can go a long way to an employee’s happiness. Don’t shortchange yourself and not make that investment.

Recruitment Short-term to Mid-term:

Do the department heads at every Wisconsin college and university know you by name? Showing up to a job fair is not recruiting; it’s going thru the motions. Our number one job is to recruit, so make the effort to invest in building relationships with our leaders in higher education. While some faculty may think their only job is to teach, the good professors and their administrators know that placing students is top priority.

Recruitment Mid-term to Long-term:

Broadcasters must invest in building relationships at the middle school and high school level. Get kids excited about radio and television. Every visit to a high school to cover a sporting event is an opportunity to show off our business. Your employees better look like they are having fun.

Planting seeds with teachers and administrators to talk about broadcasting must be more than weather in the classroom and high school sports coverage. It shouldn’t surprise us that the broadcast curricula college students are most excited about are the same areas that they were exposed to the most as a kid: sports and weather.

Your Wisconsin Broadcasters Association continues to be a resource to help members shepherd this change. The WBA Education Committee, Conference Committee, and Association and Foundation Boards will continue to help members embrace a changing industry.

Don Vesely
WBA Board Chair
WMTV-TV, Madison

Milwaukee journalist named WBA Young Professional of the Year

Posted On: May 12, 2022

A multimedia journalist at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee is the WBA’s 2022 Young Professional of the Year.

James Groh was the highest ranked of the five young broadcasting professionals recognized this year for making a significant impact on their stations and communities. The group was selected from a group of nominees ranked by a subcommittee of the WBA Board of Directors.

The four other honorees are Naomi Kowles from WISC-TV in Madison, Ben Brust from Good Karma Brands, Nick Tabbert from WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, and Sara Smith from WITI-TV in Milwaukee. All four were recognized in earlier issues of the WBA newsletter.

Groh got his starts at a sportswriter for the Chico State newspaper where be bought his own equipment to call baseball, soccer, and volleyball games. He transferred to Syracuse University to pursue sports broadcasting and began covering news stories as well just to get more practice writing, filming, and editing. He eventually fell in love with news and made the switch from sports to news.

Groh joined WTMJ-TV in 2018 and was the station’s first-ever digital MMJ, a testament to his expertise in numerous digital platforms.

The nomination from his station said Groh elevates every story he touches and provided examples of how he makes stories unique, memorable, and fun. He created his own franchise, “On the Go with Groh,” and his content helped the station launch a new show titled “Milwaukee Tonight.” He’s also produced an award-winning documentary-style series titled “My Block” which shows the Milwaukee area’s many neighborhoods through the eyes of the people who know them best: The residents.

Groh said young professionals can usher in a new era of journalism, especially on the local level.

“We are producers and consumers of news. That situates us in the perfect position to create the kind of content we want to engage with,” he wrote.

To other young and aspiring broadcasters, Groh said practice, practice, practice.

“The more you can practice, the better you will become,” he wrote. “Plus, you need to actively think about how this story can be different. Take 15 minutes before you leave for your story to identify ways that this story has been done before and what you can do to put a unique spin on it.”

Going forward in the news business, Groh said he sees more resources being diverted to bolster digital teams at local new organizations.

“The traditional news format must adapt to the ways people view content on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. I think we will see a shift in the way we package and deliver news given the specific medium,” he wrote.

All honorees, including Groh, will be recognized at the 2022 WBA Summer Conference, June 22-23 at the La Crosse Radisson.

If you’d like to nominate a young professional for this recognition, you can do that here. The deadline is Sept. 30.

Wallace joins WBA Young Professionals Committee

Posted On: April 7, 2022

Kyle Wallace, the Director of Content at the new 101.7 The Truth in Milwaukee, is joining the WBA Young Professionals Committee.

Wallace has a passion for building relationships, community service, and helping others meet their goals. He considers working at 101.7 The Truth is a once in a lifetime opportunity. He was there for its inception, and saw it go from an idea to an actual radio station. The station helps amplify and lift the voices of those who aren’t often heard through traditional media.

In his short time at the station, he said he has learned many valuable lessons but none more valuable than the power and influence of radio. He said seeing people use their voice to enact positive and measurable change is a true career joy.

Wallace received his bachelor’s in communication from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and then went on to earn his masters in Sports Administration from Central Michigan University.

Among many initiatives, the WBA Young Professionals Committee has a mentorship program, suggests sessions for WBA events, and connects with young broadcasters with the aim of helping this important group of broadcasters.

WBA recognizes 2 young broadcasting professionals

Posted On: March 9, 2022

Young professionals are making their mark on broadcasting in Wisconsin and the WBA is recognizing them.

The WBA Young Professional of the Year Award seeks to recognize young broadcasters who have made a significant impact on their stations and communities. A subcommittee of the WBA Board of Directors selected five young professionals to recognize in 2022, and one of those five has been identified as the “Young Professional of the Year.”

Two of the other honorees were identified in the last Wisconsin Broadcaster, Ben Brust and Naomi Kowles. The Young Professional of the Year will be announced in the May/June newsletter and awarded at the WBA Summer Conference on June 23 in La Crosse. The honorees will also be recognized at the conference.

Our next two honorees are Nick Tabbert and Sara Smith:

Nick Tabbert

Company: WQOW-TV

Position: Sports Director

Years at station: 1.5 (4.5 at WXOW/WQOW)

Started in broadcasting (year): 2014

How did you get into broadcasting? I had an interest in broadcast TV while in college at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, but I really got serious after an internship at WXOW-TV. Amy DuPont, who currently anchors at WKBT in La Crosse, was the morning anchor at the time. She pushed me to apply for the internship. By the end of the summer, I was convinced broadcast TV was the right path for me. If you want to go back to my childhood, I was the kid who created my own broadcasts in my head as I played basketball, football, etc. in the yard.

How do you view the role of young professionals in broadcasting? Young professionals mean everything to smaller market TV stations like WQOW. Not only are they sharing the top news stories of the day, they are innovating how TV stations reach viewers through social media and online platforms, which I feel is crucial for the industry moving forward.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters? A few things come to mind. First, understand the importance of establishing and strengthening relationships. Your job will likely be more enjoyable and easier if you can connect with your sources. Sometimes the best stories come from conversations! Next, do not be afraid to ask questions or for advice from others. We all have so much to learn, and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Do not be afraid to ask other reporters, or even the meteorologist, producer, or director for insight about telling a story. Sometimes an outside perspective can help you tell a better story. Finally, I think this job becomes easier once you find your voice/the way you like to tell stories. It took repetition for me, but once I got comfortable, I found it easier to deliver highlights or script my feature stories. You should still strive to be creative, but having that ‘base’ is helpful.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you? I feel the industry is going to continue seeing a change in how we deliver content to viewers and what we prioritize. It seems like every month, more and more people tell me they don’t watch the news or don’t have cable, so I am prioritizing my workflow to reach audiences on social media and online platforms before I finish writing scripts for newscasts.

I believe local journalism will always be relevant, but I am concerned about viewership numbers decreasing. I am striving to create unique local content that will engage my audience.

Sara Smith

Company: WITI FOX6

Position: Executive Producer, Special Projects

Time at station: 14 years

Started in broadcasting (year): 2004

How did you get into broadcasting? I originally went to college to become a teacher, but quickly realized that wasn’t for me. I started taking more communications and journalism classes. Eventually, I connected with a producer at the ABC affiliate in Green Bay (WBAY) and job shadowed her. I couldn’t get enough of the newsroom. I loved the urgency, the atmosphere, and the satisfaction of seeing my work on TV. I was hired as a full-time producer before I even graduated. Three years later, I moved to Milwaukee to start a job at FOX6 and worked my way from line producer to executive producer to the EP of special projects and overseeing the investigative/consumer units.

How do you view the role of young professionals in broadcasting? I see young professionals in broadcasting as those who should think outside the box and break the mold. Just because it’s been done one way for years doesn’t mean that’s the only way. Maybe that’s telling the story in a new way and not in the traditional ‘track-bite-track-bite’ sense.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters? Be aggressive. Don’t wait for someone (a supervisor or colleague) to come to you. Instead, take the initiative and ask what else you can do or offer up that idea or suggestion. Ask for feedback and be okay with criticism. A good manager will tell you areas of improvement and help you get better. Your success is their success is the station’s success. Take chances. Many of my greatest career advancements happened because I said, ‘yes.’ At one point, I gave up a safer spot producing an established show and took on a newly-created program, even though success wasn’t guaranteed. The risk paid off and led to more responsibilities, eventually allowing me to manage a team.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you? Interactive: I think so many people are consuming their news in ways other than the traditional ‘turn on the TV.’ There’s a big push to other platforms (YouTube, social media, etc.) and that’s where we’re sharing so much of our content. It’s exciting to see and our digital team works really hard (and diligently) to make sure our content gets into the hands of viewers.

Enterprising: Some of the best stories we do as a station come from ideas and angles that aren’t what just comes in a press release. It serves the viewers in your market to come up with stories and angles that are unique. Find that ‘character,’ work your sources, talk to neighbors. Chances are, those few simple things will help make your story that much better.

Entertaining: As a Special Projects EP, I have a (rather healthy-sized) place in my heart for longer-form stories. Stories that take time to develop, are shot beautifully, and edited with finesse. I think the viewers appreciate those types of stories from time to time – the ones that make you feel good and share some of the ‘good’ happening in our communities.

Young broadcasting professionals recognized for contributions

Posted On: January 6, 2022

Young professionals are making their mark on broadcasting in Wisconsin and the WBA is recognizing them.

The WBA Young Professional of the Year Award seeks to recognize young broadcasters who have made a significant impact on their stations and communities. A subcommittee of the WBA Board of Directors selected five young professionals to recognize in 2022, and one of those five has been identified as the “Young Professional of the Year.”

The three other honorees will be identified and profiled in this and upcoming WBA newsletters and the Young Professional of the Year will be announced in the May/June newsletter and awarded at the WBA Summer Conference on June 23 in La Crosse. The honorees will also be recognized at the conference luncheon.

Our first two honorees are Ben Brust and Naomi Kowles.

Ben Brust

Company: ESPN Wisconsin / Good Karma Brands

Position: On-Air Host & Marketing Consultant

Years at station: Four years

Started in broadcasting (year): 2017

How did you get into broadcasting? I started in broadcasting in 2017 guest hosting ESPN Wisconsin’s morning show, Wilde & Tausch, with my current co-host Greg Scalzo. In November, I joined Good Karma Brands and ESPN Madison full-time. I started hosting Scalzo and Brust alongside my co-host, Greg Scalzo, the following spring. The show airs across ESPN Wisconsin every weekday from 4 to 6 p.m.

How do you view the role of young professionals in broadcasting? The role of young professionals in broadcasting is finding unique ways to entertain and engage their audience, while challenging the status quo and pivoting as consumption habits change. The things that listeners and fans are looking for when they turn on the radio now compared to 20 years from now will constantly evolve. In sports broadcasting, young professionals need to appeal to the sports fan that watches every single game, knows every stat, lives, and breathes the game, while at the same time reaching the sports fan who is a casual consumer.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters? I would tell other young broadcasters to learn and involve themselves in as many different parts of the industry as possible. Learn how to produce and run the board, write copy, brainstorm different show topics and angles, build relationships with others in the industry, develop a social platform—be in as many places as possible, never say no to an opportunity, and be a sponge as you learn and grow in the industry.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you? The future of broadcasting is moving more towards being interactive and fun. Fans and listeners turn on your station to be entertained, and it’s about ultimately continuing to find ways to be compelling, while driving audience and listenership. With the accessibility and convenience of streaming services and podcasts, younger generations are still using audio as an outlet to connect and be entertained.

Naomi Kowles

Company: WISC-TV, Morgan Murphy Media

Position: Lead Investigator

Time at station: 14 months

Started in broadcasting (year): 2018

How did you get into broadcasting? I took the roundabout: I majored in International Studies and went abroad after college to teach English in Mongolia for about 15 months, while doing graphic design on the side. It wasn’t until I returned and the publisher of a small local paper in northern Wisconsin approached me about a job that I gave journalism serious consideration. I covered city and county government as a freelancer for 10 months, then got a job as a full-time producer at a Wausau station in the fall of 2018. I missed reporting too much, however, and found myself on the station’s investigative team about six months later.

How do you view the role of young professionals in broadcasting? We’re here to learn from the veterans, while pushing the needle on accepted norms. I’m surrounded by talented and exceptionally sharp young journalists, both at my station and among my other broadcast and print colleagues, and I’m tremendously encouraged by the way we are challenging the industry to grow and adapt.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters? Read. Listen. Learn. Repeat. And, no matter how many times I fail to learn this myself, don’t lose your identity or your personal life while serving up news to your community.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you? I am passionate about deeply researched and sharply-reported broadcast journalism: the kind of investigative reporting that can’t be found amid the online rush of instant information, your local Facebook community scanner pages, or in the police incident reports. Our audiences are hungry for longform, beautifully told stories that share something about the world that couldn’t have been found anywhere else. Our communities need carefully told, deep-dive reporting that challenges the status quo and changes policy like never before. The future of broadcasting is depth—and adaptability.

Nominations for next year’s Young Professional Award can be submitted here. Nominations close Sept. 30, 2022.


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