Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

WBA Awards offer recognition for election coverage

Posted On: December 14, 2018
Robert Kennedy
Robert Kennedy

As we get close to the deadline for submitting entries for the 2018 WBA Awards for Excellence I want to touch on one that is unique, is available to TV and radio, and will go toward the tally that determines the major awards: Station Of The Year and News Operation Of The Year.

That’s the Special Award Category…Election Coverage.

I’m focused on this particular award because election coverage is such a big deal for all of us and 2018 provided so much material for newsrooms, talk shows, and even many music stations.

In addition to the regular coverage of candidates for state and local races,  ... Read More

WPT announces education-focused partnership

Posted On: December 13, 2018
Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout
Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout

Wisconsin Public Television is getting involved in a new partnership to bring more resources to K-12 education.

The Timothy William Trout Education Innovation Lab is designed to create, connect, and activate world-class content creators in science, instruction and media with teachers and learners across the state and the nation. It will leverage the data, knowledge, and expertise of a top university, coupled with the national educational resources and reach of the PBS system, all focused and concentrated through Wisconsin Public Television.

The partnership also includes the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout,  ... Read More

McPherson named weekend co-anchor on WDJT-TV

Posted On: December 13, 2018

 Courtesy WBA Newsroom

Reporter Mark McPherson has been named weekend co-anchor on CBS 58 (WDJT-TV). McPherson will share the anchor desk with current co-anchor Pauleen Le.
The pairing is a bit of a reunion for McPherson and Le. They worked together in La Crosse early in their careers.
“I’ve had a great time… – MORE –  ... Read More

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Milwaukee PBS GM testifies on repack

Posted On: December 13, 2018
Bohdan Zachary
Bohdan Zachary

The general manager of Milwaukee PBS is asking federal lawmakers to consider relying on public televisions to take the lead on public education efforts regarding the spectrum repack.

Bohdan Zachary testified Tuesday to the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology about his experience with a frequency change in the Milwaukee market earlier this year. Milwaukee Area Technical College relinquished Channel 36, one of the station’s two channels, in the auction. Both channels now share Channel 10.

The hearing was on implementation of RAY BAUM’s Act, which includes $50 million for consumer education on channel reassignments.

Zachary told the committee Milwaukee PBS underwent an extensive public education effort because of the frequency change.  ... Read More

Sheboygan station switches to CHR format

Posted On: December 13, 2018

A radio station in Sheboygan is switching from a sports format to contemporary hit radio (CHR) format.

WCLB is now known as Z107.

The station is owned by Mountain Dog Media and operated by Marty Schibbelhut’s Martini Media. Alex Mann is the program director. Schibbelhut is GM of Mountain Dog Media’s WFON and KFIZ in Fond du Lac.  ... Read More

Krieghoff named GM at WMSN-TV

Posted On: December 12, 2018

Eric J. Krieghoff has been named general manager at WMSN-TV in Madison.

Krieghoff was most recently general manager of the Wisconsin division of Fairway Outdoor Advertising. He has previously held sales management positions at television stations in Madison and Green Bay. He was once an account executive and new business manager at WMSN.

Previous GM John DeSimone left the station in September after almost four years.

WMSN is a Sinclair-owned Fox affiliate.  ... Read More

WBA establishes Legislative Committee

Posted On: December 12, 2018

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is establishing a Legislative Committee made up of WBA members in each of Wisconsin’s eight Congressional Districts.

The committee was approved by the WBA Board to increase member involvement in legislative issues. Members of the committee will be involved in planning the WBA State Legislative Day in January, the WBA’s Washington DC trip in February, and other events and meetings as needed.

“WBA members have always been strongly invested in our association and this committee gives them the opportunity to get even closer to the legislative process,” WBA President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind said.  ... Read More

Phase 2 of repack underway; Tools available to help

Posted On: December 10, 2018

By Alvimann on Morguefile

Phase 2 of the spectrum repack, the second of 10 phases during which many TV stations across the country must move frequencies, began December 1 and will run through April 12, 2019.

Numerous tools are available to help the audiences of the 28 television stations in Wisconsin that are part of the repack stemming from the broadcast spectrum incentive auction.

The National Association of Broadcasters has built a website with resources to explain how the changes affect them.



For the audience:

–No new equipment is needed
–Over-the-air viewers will have to rescan their channels after a station changes frequencies
–The frequency change does not mean stations will be changing channels.  ... Read More

Radio Milwaukee honors local musicians

Posted On: December 10, 2018

Community radio station Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-FM) presented its annual local music awards last week.

More than 8,000 online ballots were cast for the 2018 Radio Milwaukee Radio Awards which were handed out Thursday.

The awards show featured performances by House of Renji, Paper Holland, Amanda Huff, Dramatic Lovers, and DJ sets by Moses.

A full list of winners can be found here.

 ... Read More

Morrissey recognized for dedication to WBA Newsroom

Posted On: November 1, 2018

Michelle Vetterkind

I hope everyone has been enjoying our beautiful (for the most part) Wisconsin fall weather.  As a life-long Wisconsinite (with the exception of a couple of years in Chicago), I must say fall is my favorite season…even if it means that the season that begins with a “W” will soon follow.

I would like to give an extra special recognition to someone who has worked tirelessly (albeit, behind the scenes) for your WBA to provide so many of you, our valued WBA members, with a wonderful service. Radio veteran and Wisconsin news enthusiast Tim Morrissey is handing off his responsibilities for WBA Newsroom after nine years of working for the site.

Tim Morrissey

Tim Morrissey

Tim was first hired in 2009 to write content for the Kidder Broadcast News Resource Center, which is now known as WBA Newsroom. Under his care, the site has grown into an important resource for practicing journalists and anyone interested in learning more about journalism’s role in the gathering and dissemination of information to the public.

The site features relevant and updated information about Wisconsin laws regarding news coverage, quick explanations of how our state’s court system works, pro tips on shooting video and writing, and even a link to a site where every place-name in Wisconsin is accurately pronounced. It was underwritten by a generous grant from veteran journalist and WBA Hall of Famer R. Perry Kidder.

Tim researched the information on the site and made sure it always had the most recent information.

He also grew the WBA Newsroom’s presence on Twitter where Wisconsin journalists gather to commiserate online. He promoted the site and engagement among journalists working in Wisconsin broadcasting.

As Tim is moving on to a more relaxing way of life, responsibilities for the site are now being transferred to the WBA team. It goes without saying that Tim is definitely responsible for making the site the valuable resource it is today.   

Tim – on behalf of the WBA Membership and the WBA Team, THANK YOU for all you’ve done for Wisconsin’s broadcast journalists!

WBA Foundation

I hope you had a chance to watch as your WBA Foundation continued our proud nearly 30 year tradition of hosting statewide debates for all general election races for all U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. This year we brought statewide attention to two key races: The U.S. Senate debate was on Oct. 13 in the Wausau/Rhinelander market and our gubernatorial debate was on Oct. 19 in the Madison market.

The WBA Foundation thanks our long-time debate sponsor, WAICU, and everyone in the host markets who worked so hard to make these debates a success.

It’s been interesting to look back at my notes from when both boards asked us in early 2013 to come up with a new WBA Debate Plan, with a goal of being more inclusive of our membership by encouraging a more market-based approach. From the formation of the Debate Committee (with recommendations coming from both boards) to the re-evaluating and refining throughout a 6-month period with the final plan being passed at the Joint Board Meeting in 2014, it’s been a wonderfully rewarding experience to see the final plan put into action. Four years later, we’ve held debates in all five markets.

I think the best part (for me) has been watching how well our markets have worked together…competitors who come together, willingly, respectfully, and gracefully for a common cause and to bring our WBA Foundation mission to light…to better educate and serve the public and to promote the civic and political process. I’m also inspired by the outpouring of support and encouragement from our entire membership. 

I hope you’ll agree that while there’s always room for improvement, overall, this is a footprint your WBA, your WBA Foundation, and YOU, our valued members, can be proud of.

(oh….and….if you haven’t had a chance to watch them yet, they’re on our museum site: wisconsinbroadcastingmuseum.org)

Broadcasters Clinic

And last, but certainly not least…

Make sure to take a look at the recap of this year’s amazing, award-winning (many times over) Broadcasters Clinic! It’s hard to believe but the Clinic Committee, under the leadership of Kent Aschenbrenner (and of course, our own Linda Baun who puts many of her own special touches on the entire 3-day event) put together an event that topped last year’s Clinic. Yes, our nationally-recognized Clinic becomes more popular every year! PLEASE make a note to send your engineer next year (and GM’s, we’d love to have you join us on the impressive exhibit floor; a perfect opportunity for you and your engineer). It’s often said that our Broadcasters Clinic is the best event of its kind in the country, drawing in attendees from an average of 20 states per year. And, lucky you, Wisconsin broadcasters…it’s right in your own backyard.

We’d love to see you there!  Mark your calendars for Oct. 15-17, 2019 at the Madison Marriott West.

Remember to vote on Nov. 6 (if not before)

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away.

On a personal note, I know I am most thankful to be able to work with your WBA Team, Linda, Liz, and Kyle. I’m also truly thankful to work with you, our wonderfully active, engaged, and supportive membership!

Thank you, as always, for your time and support. I hope you all have a safe & blessed Holiday Season!

Chair’s Column: For The Birds

Posted On: October 31, 2018

Have you ever seen those huge flocks of starlings flying in formation, changing directions in the blink of an eye? They look like giant clouds of birds moving in the same general direction before they inexplicably change course. According to Smithsonian Magazine, hundreds of starlings can change direction in half a second.

I saw one of these “starling clouds” the other day on my way to WTMJ and it got me thinking about our industry, our state association, and the businesses we are responsible for. I came away with three takeaways:

No. 1: A few birds make all the difference. Smithsonian Magazine actually captured these birds on video then slowed the footage down to better understand what was really going on. It turns out that a small group of birds decide, in a nano-second, that it’s time to change direction, and the entire flock follows suit. These “lead birds” have no fancy titles or formal leadership roles. Apparently, they sense opportunity (favorable wind drafts, insects for meals, e.g.) and decide it’s time to change. In our state association, our industry, or in your TV or radio stations, is there a small, influential group of people who see opportunity and can change where you’re going?

No. 2: Speed wins. It’s mind-blowing how quickly the birds change direction. They don’t stop down for analysis, committee meetings or data dumps. Once they see an opportunity, they act. Are we built for speed, or are we bogged down in process and bureaucracy?

No. 3: It’s simultaneously a team sport and an individual sport. In slow-motion video, you can see that each starling is acting quite individually; that is, they are not all doing the same thing. So, while they are free to act pretty much on their own, to succeed they have to generally all go in the same direction. What a production!

The next time you see one of those big clouds of darting, speeding starlings, ask yourself if your organization behaves like those winged creatures. Are you built for speed, full of influential team members (regardless of title), who can seize new opportunities? Do we encourage wild individualism even as we ask everyone to go the same direction?

It seems likely that our business, our industry and even our own state association could learn a thing or two from these seemingly simple but complex clouds of inspiring starlings.

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