Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Converge Radio station manager stepping down

Posted On: March 31, 2020
Scott Morfitt
Scott Morfitt

The station manager for a student-run radio station on the UW-Eau Claire campus is stepping down.

Scott Morfitt was hired in April 2016 ahead of the launch of what was then called Blugold Radio. The station (WDRK) was a donation from Mid-West Family Broadcasting to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Morfitt was there when the new station went on the air, he built a studio through crowdfunding, and rebranded the station to Converge Radio.

“I am eternally thankful for this opportunity to get to launch something truly dynamic in this community,” Morfitt said. “I am very thankful to both the UWiEau Claire Foundation for its faith in launching the station and to Mid-West Family Broadcasting for their generous donation.  ... Read More

Webinar: Managing through the Crisis: What Station Managers Need to Know from the FCC

Posted On: March 31, 2020
Program Date: April 2, 2020
David Oxenford
David Oxenford

The Wisconsin Broadcasters is hosting a brief webinar with Washington counsel David Oxenford to discuss the things that you need to know about FCC during the pandemic. Five questions to be answered include:

(1) Can I still contact the FCC if I need to?

(2) How does the pandemic affect FCC filing deadlines and the public file obligations?

(3) Has the FCC provided any relief for broadcasters?

(4) What was that political broadcasting ruling last week?

(5) FCC issues you should be considering if you are working remotely.

Join us Thursday for a discussion of these and other issues at 11 a.m.  ... Read More

Good Karma Brands helps Dodge County through pandemic

Posted On: March 30, 2020

Two radio stations run by Good Karma Brands are helping the people of Beaver Dam and Dodge County respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WBEV has been spending a major portion of its programming, particularly in the mornings, talking to numerous local businesses about how the pandemic has affected them, and what they are doing to continue running their businesses.

95X (WXRO) hosted a one-hour commercial free dance party on Saturday, March 28. The station played some of the biggest dance hits from the 80’s to today and encouraged listeners to turn up their radios and head to their porches,  ... Read More

Madison radio station takes community building online during pandemic

Posted On: March 30, 2020

Madison radio station Life 102.5 (WNWC) is helping its listeners through the COVID-19 pandemic by taking its community building initiatives and moving them online.

The station’s popular Family Fun Guide underwent a complete revamp to focus solely on safe-at-home activity ideas. The site now features virtual tours, arts and crafts projects, and imaginative endeavors all categorized to optimize the experience.

Life 102.5 is also launching its next installment of the Connected Life Book Club which serves to foster community amongst women of southern Wisconsin through the exploration of great books.

Participants will be discouraged from the regular community groups that meet and instead encouraged to engage via podcast,  ... Read More

Mid-West Family organizes webinar to help local businesses

Posted On: March 30, 2020

Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison hosted a free webinar to help local businesses coping with the economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The eight-station group teamed with the University of Wisconsin Business College, Madison Chamber of Commerce, and the local business organization Dane Buy Local to host the educational webinar.

The stations are also airing a heavy rotation of PSAs and made available free short announcements for local businesses to inform listeners about their operations under COVID-19. The announcements are also posted and promoted on a website directory.  ... Read More

Western Wisconsin TV station promotes healthy practices, local businesses

Posted On: March 30, 2020

WLAX-TV/WEAU-TV serving the La Crosse and Eau Claire areas working to help residents stay healthy and local businesses keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stations crated a webpage listing local businesses and restaurants that remain open during the “Safe at Home” order and is airing locally produced PSAs.

The stations also airing news updates and streaming a daily Nexstar series titled “Corona Virus Facts Not Fear.”  ... Read More

Learn how user habits are driving digital trends

Posted On: March 27, 2020

Jacobs Media’s annual Techsurvey is the radio broadcasting industry’s largest survey, with over 500 participating radio stations and more than 46,000 radio listeners in 2020. This study examines the online habits of radio audiences and has enabled us to identify key digital trends. This year’s survey will examine:

  • Smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod
  • On-demand entertainment options like podcasts, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV
  • Video gaming habits, including how radio broadcasters can take advantage of this explosive trend
  • Connected cars, their continued growth, and their impact on media consumption and driving
  • Why consumers continue to listen to radio and how radio can build on its strengths
  • Is nearly unlimited media choice turning into “media overload?”

Check out Jacobs Media’s webinar on the Techsurvey.  ... Read More

2020 Summer Conference canceled

Posted On: March 27, 2020

Michelle Vetterkind WBA President & CEO

WBA members,

First and foremost, I hope that you and your families are all safe and healthy!

As I realize this (sadly) is a recurring theme, it is with deep regret and sadness that the WBA Conference Committee and the WBA Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel the WBA 2020 Summer Conference in La Crosse. Please know this was not an easy decision, yet the current state of affairs locally, statewide, and nationally make it difficult if not impossible to properly prepare for and plan our 2020 summer event. 

The Summer Conference was scheduled for June 17 and 18,  ... Read More

Wisconsin’s broadcasters step to help during pandemic

Posted On: March 27, 2020
From middlewick on Morguefile
From middlewick on Morguefile

Wisconsin’s radio and TV station are stepping up to help their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some examples of how they’re helping:

Changes coming to WBA events in 2021

Posted On: March 11, 2020

Michelle Vetterkind

Some big changes are coming to your WBA event schedule in 2021 which will affect the Winter Conference, State Legislative Day, and Student Seminar. While there are a lot of reasons for the change, we’re most excited about bringing more resources to the WBA Student Seminar. A key change is moving the WBA’s winter job fair and EEO sessions to the WBA Student Seminar. There are many more exciting changes to come. Read more here.

Successful push for passage of body cams legislation

Those who attended our State Legislative Day in January know that one of the key asks this year was for passage of a bill regarding the use of law enforcement body cameras. Those efforts paid off when both houses of the legislature approved the bill on a voice vote and Governor Evers signed it into law. A Legislative Study Committee overcame significant differences to create a bill that won the support of law enforcement, the media, criminal justice attorneys, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Your WBA supported passage of the bill this session so that the effort and remarkable outcome of the committee’s work could be realized. A really special thank you to everyone who pitched in. Read more here.

Zaragoza be recognized for contributions

Your WBA, and, indeed, all other state broadcaster associations, would not be what they are today without Dick Zaragoza. As our legal representation in Washington DC over many, many years, his contributions are difficult to enumerate. In addition to his tremendous service, he’s also a good friend! We hope you can join us at the Summer Conference in La Crosse this coming June to recognize his contributions. Read all about Dick here.

WBA members bring their voice to DC

Eighteen representatives of your WBA visited Washington DC at the end of February to make our annual calls to our representatives on Capitol Hill. The meetings were productive and positive. Your positive work in your communities helps us demonstrate to your representatives the value of broadcasting and your strong commitment to serving your local communities. Thank you to everyone who joined the trip and served as wonderful ambassadors of your WBA membership. Read more here.

Student Seminar

We had more than 140 students at the 2020 Student Seminar where we also handed out the WBA Student Awards for Excellence. We announced to the students our plans to add the job fair to the seminar next year. The announcement got a warm reception. Thank you to all the broadcasters who took time out of their weekends to spend time with our future broadcasters. Read more here.

CES provides glimpse of future

Your WBA was on hand this year as the future of technology was on display in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’s always an eye opening show! We toured the show with Jacobs Media, which provided a broadcaster’s perspective on the new tech and what it will mean for listeners and viewers. This was the first year Jacobs provided and tailored a tour to NASBA members. I strongly urge you to follow the developments at CES. Numerous publications cover the event, including Jacobs Media which also publishes a podcast about CES. Check it out!

Your WBA has a lot coming up yet in 2020. We look forward to seeing you at the Walker Broadcast Management Institute April 14-16 in Madison, the WBA Awards Gala on May 2 at the Madison Marriott West, and the WBA Summer Conference June 17-18 in La Crosse. Your WBA team is excited to have so many opportunities to connect with you, our valued members. Stay safe and have a wonderful spring!

Success highlights importance of member involvement

Posted On: March 13, 2020
Chris Bernier
Chris Bernier

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is regarded as one of the best state broadcasting associations in the country. This is according to Sen. Gordon Smith, the President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

During our recently completed legislative trip to Washington DC, we also heard this from many leaders of other state associations. The WBA is so highly regarded because of the dedicated work by our President, Michelle Vetterkind, and the staff, but equally as important, is our membership!

Our membership’s relationships with our elected officials are one of most significant things we can do as local broadcasters. Calling on them during State Legislative Day and in DC is very important. But even more pivotal are the meetings in the district. Having the State Assembly and State Senate members as well as Congressional and U.S. Senate members visit your radio or TV station is invaluable.

If you need background on important issues for one of these meetings, don’t hesitate to contact the WBA office for support. Also, when we have these local meetings, we should constantly remind the elected officials of our value, how we are involved in virtually everything that happens in our communities, and the millions of dollars that Wisconsin Broadcasters help raise for their communities every year.

We recently celebrated another legislative victory in the state when Governor Evers signed into law the bill regarding the use of law enforcement body cameras. This was one of our talking points during State Legislative Day and in local meetings, plus the phone blitz that many of you participated in just before the vote. This is another triumph in a long list of successes we have had thanks to our members.

Your involvement in the array of activities put on by the WBA is truly what makes the WBA if not the best, one of the best associations in the country! Thanks!

Get the best lighting for your headshots

Posted On: March 31, 2020
Heather Poltrock
Heather Poltrock

I’ve been taking headshots for our staff at NewsChannel 7 for about 10 years. In that time ‘my recipe’ for lighting and editing has changed. Mostly because I’ve learned a lot along the way.

My preferred set up is in our studio, with a three-point light kit. I also turn our studio overhead lights on  half-power. However, the most important part is correctly lighting the face.

Here’s a pull back of my set up.

And another angle.

The light to the right of subject’s face, is medium softbox with a filter. It’s about 2 ½ feet away. Your light’s power will determine how close it should be. That’s something you’ll need to play with. My two other lights are lighting the right side of the face (25-30% power, 3700K for color temperature) and the backlight is lighting her hair at 100% and 3700K. I light using the ‘hair light’ to add dimension.

Here’s what this shot looks like straight out of the camera, or SOOC.

If you don’t have three lights to work with, you can still achieve a beautiful headshot with just one or two lights.

Here’s what the shot would look like if we were to turn off the fill light to our left. See, it really is adding a lot. However, to make this shot better, we could move our light from the right, more straight on to light her whole face.

Or, here’s what it would look like if we turned off the backlight.

And here we are only using the light to the left.

As you can see lighting makes a huge difference in the outcome of the photo.

Editing appropriately is also a big part of achieving a professional image. Personally, I like to smooth skin, brighten eyes, sharpen the image, and up the saturation or ‘bold’ my color. Above is my final image.

And here’s a side-by-side

As you can see, we’ve done just enough, but not too much editing.

Best of luck find your perfect lighting recipe!

Heather Poltrock, WSAW-TV, Wausau

YP Corner: Earning money with shopping apps

Posted On: March 19, 2020
Heather Poltrock
Heather Poltrock

As promised, the month of March will be devoted to money topics. 

In the last six or so months, I’ve been able to ‘make’ $160 using iBotta and Rakuten.

Now, ‘make’ perhaps isn’t the correct word because you have to spend money to earn money.

So, how does it work? You need to download the apps and create an account.

With iBotta, certain items are eligible for money back. Kind of like a reverse coupon. Money varies from ten cents to a few dollars, depending on the item. Is it time-consuming? Yes. However, like I said in about six months I’ve earned $99.75 on iBotta. Once you reach $20 you can transfer the money to your checking account. There have been a few times when I’ve gone grocery shopping and haven’t earned a thing. I’ve also never altered what I buy to take advantage of the money-back offers.

There are dozens of stores connected to iBotta including Target, Amazon, Aldi, Kwik Trip and the place I redeem the most offers—Pick N Save. I should mention there is also an option to shop online through the app to earn money back, but I used Rakuten because it seems like you get more money back.

As for Rakuten, you shop through the app to get a percentage of your purchase back. To date, I’ve earned $62.02. A major chunk was due to getting a $25 sign-up bonus. And the other earnings were mostly due to online shopping around Christmas time. As I mentioned, you get a percentage back and that percentage fluctuates. The other day Kohl’s offered 15 percent back on purchases. But typically most stores offer 1-5 percent.

I’m a little uncertain of the Rakuten cash out calendar. I’ve gotten money back in September, November, and February. And it shows my next payment will be in May.

Overall, I believe both apps are worth my time and I haven’t been bombarded with junk emails or phone calls.

Heather Poltrock, WSAW-TV, Wausau

Young professionals show what they bring to broadcasting

Posted On: March 16, 2020
Jesi Hartman and Greg Scalzo
Jesi Hartman and Greg Scalzo

Two more young professionals are getting recognized for the mark they’re leaving on broadcasting in Wisconsin.

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 2020, and one of those five has been identified as the first “Young Professional of the Year.”

The four other honorees are Heather Storm from Woodward Radio Group in Appleton and Eric Bartos from Wisconsin Public Radio and the two young professionals profiled here: Jesi Hartman from WKOW-TV and Greg Scalzo from Good Karma Brands in Madison. Storm and Bartos were profiled in the January/February issue of Wisconsin Broadcaster. The Young Professional of the Year will be announced in the May/June newsletter and awarded at the WBA Summer Conference on June 18 in La Crosse. The honorees will also be recognized at the conference luncheon.

Meet Jesi Hartman and Greg Scalzo:

Jesi Hartman

Jesi Hartman

Company: WKOW-TV and WAOW-TV

Position: National Sales Manager WAOW – Wausau and Regional Account Executive WKOW – Madison

Years at station: 8

Started in broadcasting (year): 2012

How did you get into broadcasting? I previously worked in media at a local advertising agency when my rep at WKOW reached out to suggest I join her at WKOW. After a little convincing, I took the leap and have been at the same station since.

How do you view the role of young professionals in broadcasting? I view the role of young professionals as an integral part in broadcasting. Fresh ideas and experiences can be of great value to build upon what has already been created.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters? Collaborate. You are a resource to your colleagues and they are a resource to you. When you bring different perspectives together, wonderful things can happen. Also, don’t hesitate to think outside the box and try ideas that haven’t been done before.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you? I believe the future of broadcasting will continue to play an essential role in our lives. Over the years one shiny object after another has been introduced in the industry, yet broadcast television remains to have the proven track record in delivering content and showing results.

Greg Scalzo

Greg Scalzo

Company: Good Karma Brands / ESPN Madison  

Position: Sales Director/On-Air Host

Years at station: 10

Started in broadcasting (year): 2010

How did you get into broadcasting? I started working at the student radio station for UW-Madison (WSUM). That experience really taught me about the industry and the skills necessary to get in the door with Good Karma Brands. I was able to work as an intern for ESPN Madison while in college and was promoted to a part-time teammate by my senior year. At that time, I was focused on covering the Green Bay Packers- working with our team in Green Bay to secure and distribute sound while producing and doing some on-air work. After graduating I was hired full-time in a hybrid role combining sports marketing sales and on-air hosting.

How do you view the role of young professionals in broadcasting? The world is changing faster than at any point in history. We are stewards for an industry that is reliant on the trust and interest of the public, in a world with increasing options and shrinking attention spans. As technology advances, it is up to young professionals to hold true to the pillars that created the trust and connection that built the broadcast industry, while being innovative and confident enough to try new ways to engage our audiences. We must push the industry forward, not to simply survive but to grow broadcasting. We can’t look at new technology or new strategies as a threat, but a resource to expand our idea of broadcasting and further our connection with consumers and the public at large.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters? Try different things, whether roles, formats, industries, or ideas. I thought I wanted to be a sportswriter and spent time in that field before realizing it wasn’t for me. Try different things. See what you like. Be honest with yourself. Don’t say no, meet people, and remember that your reputation is all you have. In everything you do, make sure to work hard, listen, be honest, follow through, and over-deliver. Start early in crafting the right reputation and it will create the right opportunities in your career.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you? The future is all about creating the right content to build an emotional connection and engage with the audience. Listening choices used to be based on property: What was available through a handful of radio stations/mediums and there were only a few ways for content to get in front on an audience. Technology blew that model up, and we’re still in the early stages of the digital age. Now great content can come from anywhere, and there’s a lot of it. The bar is higher, so there needs to be serious focus on creating the best content possible to create a connection and engage the audience. They in turn help to support advertising partners and create more resources to improve content and grow audience. It’s no longer about being safe and putting something on a channel because the audience is loyal to that station. The audience is loyal to great content.



YP Corner: The trick to bulking up your saving account

Posted On: March 4, 2020
Heather Poltrock
Heather Poltrock

I know January is the month when most people set goals or resolutions, but for me, spring, especially March is when I make the most change in my life.

For one, I usually get my tax refund and two; what aids change better than a change in the weather?

This month, I’ll focus my YP articles on smart money moves.

By far, the best money-saving tip I’ve ever picked up was having a saving account at a bank different than where my checking account is.

Previously, when the two accounts were connected at the same bank, I’d continually ‘rob’ myself to get things I wanted. (Notice how I said ‘wanted’ instead of ‘needed’?) 

My current savings account, which is a joint savings account with my husband, has no debit or checkbook connected. That means if we want money from it, we have to drive there and get it. Since that money never ends up in our checking account, because it is directly deposited into savings, we never think about it or make plans to spend it.

I get paid twice a month. From each paycheck, I have $100 automatically transferred to the savings account. My husband is paid weekly and automatically transfers $60. In a few years’ time, we’ve been able to save an incredible amount.

If you’re interested in setting up automatic deposits into a separate account, you’ll likely only need to fill out a new form from your station office manager or HR department. If that’s not an option, most banks allow you to divert funds from your checking account to another account.

Heather Poltrock, WSAW-TV, Wausau


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