Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

WBA Student Awards competition gets underway

Posted On: December 8, 2021

The 2021 WBA Student Awards for Excellence competition is OPEN starting today!

The WBA Education Committee reorganized and changed some of the categories to make sure more students’ works can be included in this year’s contest. Be sure to check it out by downloading the contest information here  ... Read More.   The deadline is Jan. 14 at 4 p.m. CT.   We’re also seeking nominees for the Student Leadership Award. The WBA Student Leadership Award is given to a broadcasting or broadcast journalism student of junior standing or above at a Wisconsin college or university who has most noticeably developed and exercised effective and creative skills in leadership.

Station helps ‘Backyard Dreams’ come true

Posted On: December 7, 2021

A charity started by an Eau Claire radio station helps make dreams come true for kids and adults.

“Backyard Dreams” was started by WAYY Sports Talk 105.1. It recently helped a 14-year-old boy who has a rare eye disease that will cause him to lose his vision. One of his things he wanted to do was to see LeBron James play. When the Lakers came to Milwaukee to play a couple of weeks ago the station sent him and his family to the game. The Bucks made it extra special by giving the boy and his family early access to watch the players warmup and Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a jersey for him.   ... Read More

Radiothon generates holiday gifts for kids

Posted On: December 6, 2021

Madison radio station WIBA-FM recently partnered with Blain’s Farm and Fleet for the annual Operation Toy Drive event to make sure every child in southern Wisconsin has something under the tree this holiday season.

Listeners were encouraged over a two-day radiothon to stop out to Blains Farm and Fleet in Verona and Madison, purchase a gift, and drop it in the Kids Helping Kids bins near the exits of the stores.

All donated toys were distributed to deserving families in southern Wisconsin by local law enforcement officers including Madison Police Department and Dane County Sherriff’s Office.  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses discuss inflation, money for schools

Posted On: December 3, 2021

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin’s Capitol are on the topics of inflation and COVID relief money for Wisconsin schools. These addresses are available for Wisconsin broadcasters to use as they see fit. Here are the summaries from WisPolitics:

— In this week’s Republican radio address, Sen. Julian Bradley, R-Franklin, discussed inflation and supply chain issues going into the holiday season.

“Republicans in Wisconsin are working overtime to stop overreach from Washington, D.C., to help your families,” he said. “Wisconsinites are doing better, but our work isn’t done.”

Wisconsin Republicans are also continuing to encourage people to return to work after long-term unemployment and blocking federal efforts to shut down natural gas pipelines in order to prevent rising energy prices,  ... Read More

Radio Milwaukee announces name, menu for new café

Posted On: December 2, 2021

Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-FM 88.9) revealed the name and menu for its new “sound café” at a community reception on Wednesday. The new space for creativity, collaboration and community will be called Deadwax and will feature an eclectic, ever-changing food and beverage program.

“Deadwax is a term for the space on a record after the last track and before the label,” Radio Milwaukee Executive Director Kevin Sucher said. “It’s the space in between, which is exactly what we want this space to be for our community.”

“We’re calling Deadwax a ‘sound café’ because the vibrations of music and community connection will be the soundtrack for the experience,” Sucher said.  ... Read More

More than $256K raised for families affected by Waukesha parade tragedy

Posted On: December 2, 2021

Communities across southeastern Wisconsin have come together to help those affected by the incident that occurred at the Waukesha Christmas Parade. Following a donation effort hosted by Milwaukee TV station WISN 12, $256,198 was raised to benefit the families impacted by the Waukesha tragedy.

“What happened in Waukesha affected the lives of so many, and took the lives of innocent people. It is heartbreaking,” said Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN 12. “Our hope is that all the families and victims of this senseless tragedy will be helped through the generosity of our great community.”

WISN 12 held a phone bank Nov.  ... Read More

WBA awards competition begins today

Posted On: December 1, 2021

Competition for the 2021 WBA Awards for Excellence begins today. Stations can now submit award entries through BetterBNC. All entries must be submitted by Jan. 12, 2022 at 6 p.m. CT.   For more on this and the other changes in this year’s program, check out this article from the WBA Awards Committee.   You can find more details on the WBA’s Awards for Excellence page and all the categories and submission instructions are available in this year’s awards brochure.   Good luck!

Awards committee unveils new tool for tracking award submissions

For a while now,  ... Read More

TV station’s food drive raises more than $141K for local families

Posted On: November 29, 2021

The ‘Food For Families Drive,’ organized by WISN 12 in Milwaukee and Hunger Task Force, has raised $141,633. The campaign, which has occurred annually for the last 10 years, ensures that families across southeastern Wisconsin have healthy meals for the holiday season.

“This is a difficult time for many, so it’s really inspiring to see how much generosity has been displayed during the fundraiser,” said Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN 12. “One thing we can always count on is our community coming together to help each other out.”

The 2021 ‘Food For Families Drive’ took place from Nov.  ... Read More

Weekly Radio Addresses encourage local shopping, grieving for Waukesha

Posted On: November 24, 2021

This week’s Weekly Radio Addresses from Wisconsin’s Capitol ask Wisconsinites to consider shopping local this holiday season and also address the tragedy in Waukesha. 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 wished Wisconsinites a happy Thanksgiving and urged shopping locally.

Evers said he is more thankful than ever to spend time with loved ones and celebrate safely.

“We are also incredibly grateful for the grit and resilience of our neighbors and our communities —  ... Read More

Fee decision shows power of association membership

Posted On: November 3, 2021

Many of you are already familiar with the many benefits of WBA membership you no doubt gather from reading this newsletter regularly, but you might not always know everything that’s happening behind the scenes on behalf of broadcasters across Wisconsin.

There was recently a powerful example of this when, in August, the FCC released it’s 2021 Regulatory Fee Order. Your WBA, along with NAB and the National Association of State Broadcast Associations (NASBA) filed Joint Reply Comments arguing that an earlier proposed increase in FCC fees could not be justified and that the burden of funding the FCC must be shared by all parties benefiting from its operation, including technology companies that benefit from the FCC’s efforts to make unlicensed spectrum available.

As a result, the proposed regulatory fees for broadcasters dropped by about 9 percent, putting broadcaster regulatory fees at or below 2020 levels. The FCC also launched a proceeding to consider expanding the universe of regulatory fee payers to include new types of entities, such as “unlicensed spectrum users, especially large technology companies.”

Also, the special pandemic relief broadcasters got from the FCC in 2020 remained in place for 2021.

The decision from the FCC was great for broadcasters for both the short term and long term.

But none of this happens without support from you, our valued members.

On the legislative side, this is also a good reminder to, as former State Legislative Chair and WBA Hall of Famer Roger Utnehmer would always say, “Never miss an opportunity to invite a lawmaker into your station.”

Roger’s right. Those connections are critical when your WBA and fellow broadcasters turn to lawmakers on any number of issues. It’s a great way to help you, your station, and your fellow WBA members.

I recently spent a lovely evening with WBA Hall of Famers Terry and Sandy Shockley. In case you missed it in the last newsletter, they have come up with a great way to raise money for the WBA Foundation and show support for broadcasting in Wisconsin. They’ve funded the production of these beautiful pins and pendants that you can buy for yourself and/or for your team. They’re $25 each and all you need to do to order is contact the WBA office.

Thank you Terry and Sandy!

The WBA Hall of Fame at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center is getting ready for a close-up. We’re preparing a new round of TV and radio spots about the Hall of Fame that we’ll have available soon for you to air. Don’t miss this chance to promote the greats from Wisconsin broadcasting.

Your WBA is looking forward to having a “normal” event year in 2022, although, like so much else, it’s going to be different than from before the pandemic. Primarily, there will be no Winter Conference, but we’re excited to move the job fair from the Winter Conference to the WBA Student Seminar on March 5 at the Madison Marriott West.

The Awards Gala, Summer Conference, and Broadcasters Clinic are all currently scheduled to happen during their normal times of year. Find that schedule here.

I recently turned over the gavel as chair of the Wisconsin Society for Association Executives. It was an honor to lead this esteemed group of fellow association executives, teams, and our valued industry partners. It was a tough year but I learned lot and we demonstrated the old adage that we’re stronger together. It was most definitely a highly worthwhile experience.

Finally, we just received more amazing evidence of the power of broadcasting. Many of you ran spots this year promoting the availability of funding for Wisconsin households to get access to the Internet. Well, Wisconsin has a take-up rate of more then 20-percent of likely eligible households enrolled. The national average is 15 percent. No doubt your efforts to promote the program have made a difference.

It’s just one more example of what makes broadcasters exceptional, especially our favorite…broadcasters from Wisconsin.

Michelle Vetterkind
WBA President and CEO

Planting seeds for future broadcasters

Posted On: November 4, 2021

I spent years in sales, reminding our sellers that we are simply farmers planting seeds. It’s an obvious metaphor for connecting with a new business and working to cultivate the relationship into a healthy client. Without good farmers, seeds don’t always grow.

I told our sellers if they stop planting seeds every day and take too much time to enjoy a healthy harvest, the future will bring an empty field and an empty checking account. Our sellers were trained to always plant seeds regardless of how bountiful the harvest was today. 

Our industry needs good broadcast farmers. What kind of farmer have you been over these difficult 16 months? 

It’s hard to farm when the water has been turned off and the sun doesn’t seem to shine as bright, but those seeds still want to be planted. Our young future broadcasters are waiting for your special mix of nurturing, development, and mentoring. 

We need to make up for almost two years of intermittent outreach and once again make it a priority. Make sure you reach out to local universities, colleges, trade schools, high schools, and job development centers to restart the conversation.

As you work on your 2022 budgets, please take time to develop a plan on how your station will connect with young future broadcasters. Post-pandemic outreach needs to feel, sound, and look different than 2019. Please keep these following action items top-of-mind, and let’s challenge ourselves to modernize and freshen up these familiar ideas by creating new initiatives.

  1. Don’t assume colleges and universities know you offer internships again. Be proactive and inform them.
  2. Job shadowing is perfect for providing a taste of our business. Excitement, fulfilling, and fun should be what is felt on a visit to your station. Do not go through the motions.
  3. Think about filling one full-time opening with two part-time employees from your local college, university, or trade school. This provides young broadcasters the chance to make money, learn the job, and become the perfect full-time employee upon graduation.
  4. Introduce yourself to the dean and professors at your local university. How many of you have had the chance to add to a professor’s curriculum with an in-class Q&A? Make sure they know you.
  5. Get involved in WBA Student Seminar each March.
  6. Get involved in Job Fairs both virtual and in-person held by the WBA.
  7. Set up an ongoing dialogue with students via virtual meetings. Find specific times every week that your station is available for 15-minute mentoring sessions.
  8. Connect current employees with their schools. Everyone wants to show they made it and would love to help nurture the next class of grads.
  9. Triple the number of times you connect with students and new employees in your workplace. Emotionally, the pandemic ruined a portion of their high school/college experience…relate.

Please feel free to provide Kyle Geissler your station’s ideas for connecting better with our future broadcasters and we’ll share them with your peers.

Geiger joins Young Professional Committee

Posted On: November 8, 2021

Natasha Geiger from WFRV-TV is joining the WBA Young Professionals Committee.

Geiger was born and raised in northeast Wisconsin, graduating from St. Norbert College in 2016 and started at WFRV Local 5 in Green Bay as a news producer in 2017. After three years as a producer, she was promoted to digital content director where she manages the day-to-day digital operations along with creating content for readers of northeast Wisconsin.

During her downtime she enjoys going to her family’s cabin, reading, writing, and watching TV.

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

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