Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Submissions for WBA Student Awards closed

Posted On: January 13, 2018

Submissions closed at 11:59 p.m. Friday in the WBA Student Awards.

High school and college students from around Wisconsin made 241 award submissions for this year’s contest. The total is up from 2016 when students made 203 submissions.

The students awards will be handed out on Feb. 24 at the Student Seminar at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton.  … Read More

Interest remains strong for Walker Institute

Posted On: January 12, 2018

The Walker Broadcast Management Institute is in its 21st year and continues to sell out. The course sold out in 2017 and we expect it to sell out again in 2018. Attendees will gather in April at the UW-Madison School of Business and spend three days learning about marketing, creativity, and developing talent. Thank you to the Walker family estate for the endowment that supports the Institute. It’s the foundation’s largest endowment so far. Here’s this year’s agenda:


April 17, 2018

Marketing and The Future

  1. How has broadcast marketing changed?
  2.  … Read More

Student Awards deadline is Friday night

Posted On: January 11, 2018

The deadline for the WBA Student Awards is Friday at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

Students can submit their work here.

Learn about the rules and award categories here.

The awards will be handed out at the WBA Student Seminar on Feb. 24.

Good luck!  … Read More

Wisconsin broadcasters break another record for award submissions

Posted On: January 11, 2018

Wisconsin’s radio and TV stations broke another record by submitting 1,784 entries to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Associations Awards for Excellence.

Last year stations submitted 1,783 entries. Submissions have increased every year since 2005.

The submission deadline for the 2017 awards was Wednesday night.

Stations are competing for awards in numerous categories for news, sports, weather, advertising, public service, and digital and social media. Stations are also competing for Station of the Year and News Operation of the Year awards that are determined based on points earned by winning awards in other categories.

“It shows the passion that Wisconsin broadcasters have for their crafts and the communities we live in,” said WBA Awards Committee Co-Chair Dean Maytag.  … Read More

WBA experiences the future at CES 2018

Posted On: January 10, 2018

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is at CES in Las Vegas this week getting a view of what the future of technology will look like. Check back for more pictures as we take in the convention the rest of the week.

 … Read More

Agenda set for 2018 Student Seminar

Posted On: January 10, 2018

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Student Seminar is set for Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Marriott West, Madison (Middleton). Anchor/Reporter, Melinda Davenport, WISN-TV, Milwaukee will present the keynote address. Davenport is also featured on a panel in the morning and presents the annual “Student Awards for Excellence” during lunch. In addition, the four recipients of the WBA Foundation Scholarships will be introduced. 

The seminar begins shortly after 9 a.m. with introductions and a brief orientation.  Students choose from three of ten options during the morning. Alexander Crowe, News Director at WMDC-FM in Mayville; Maureen McCollum of Wisconsin Public Radio ”Morning Edition” Host;  … Read More

Download the WBA App for Winter Conference

Posted On: January 9, 2018

Did you know that the WBA App already has all the resources you’ll need for the upcoming Winter Conference?

The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. It’s also available on iPad.

In the app, members will enjoy the following features:
–Key event information, schedules, and reminders
–Information about speakers and exhibitors
–A list of attendees
–Easy to fill out evaluation surveys
–Push alerts for timely WBA headlines and information
–Calendar of WBA events
–A directory of stations and members
–A feed of all recent job postings
–Photos from recent WBA happenings

The app is only for members and event attendees.  … Read More

2018 WBA Slate of Officers, Directors announced

Posted On: January 9, 2018

Steve Wexler

As provided by WBA by-laws, Steve Wexler, E.W. Scripps Company, Milwaukee, the current WBA Vice Chair and Chair-Elect, will automatically be elevated to the position of Chair of the Board at the 2018 WBA General Membership meeting. The committee made the following nominations, which will be voted upon by the general membership during the WBA Winter Conference in January.


  • Vice Chair – Radio/Chair-Elect: Nancy Douglass, WLKG-FM, Lake Geneva
  • Vice Chair – TV: Steve Lavin, WBAY-TV, Green Bay
  • Treasurer: Chris Bernier, Radio Plus, Marinette/Fond du Lac
  • Secretary: Don Vesely,
  •  … Read More

Wisconsin Broadcaster available now

Posted On: January 8, 2018

The January/February issue of Wisconsin Broadcaster is now available. View it here [PDF].

Highlights from his issue:

  • The last column from WBA Chair Dick Record
  • New ads promote the WBA Hall of Fame
  • WBA Slate of Officers announced
  • Preview of Winter Conference and State Legislative Day
  • A new video (below) shows the reasons to attend State Legislative Day
  • Preview of Student Seminar
  • Industry headlines from FCC and Capitol Hill
  • Nominations open for Hall of Fame and Local Broadcast Legends
  • Walker Broadcast Management Institute coming up
  • Sign up for the annual trip to Washington DC
  • Headlines from Wisconsin’s radio and TV stations
  •  … Read More

President’s Column

Michelle Vetterkind WBA President/CEO

I hope you all had a safe and joyous holiday season!  And….I’d like to extend very special thank you to those of you who made year-end donations to your WBA Foundation!


As a follow up to the article on the front page – we’re so excited about the new WBA Hall of Fame promotional spots! The idea stemmed from WBA Hall of Famer and WBA Foundation Board Member Bruce Grassman during the WBA/WBA Foundation Joint Board Meeting this past June. Bruce suggested we highlight the new home of the WBA’s Hall of Fame that we’re so proud of at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center and offer a means for Wisconsin’s Radio and TV stations to help promote the Hall of Fame throughout the state.  From there, discussion ensued and WBA Foundation Board Member Chuck Steinmetz graciously offered the services of his station to produce the spots.  Thank you to Bruce for a great idea and thank you to Chuck for giving us his On-Air Promotion Manager, Bill Chappie. I’m sure you’ll agree that Bill did a GREAT job for us!

While we anticipate stations being able to run these spots for years, we think the kick-off is most timely with the WBA’s Summer Conference taking place at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center this year where we will celebrate our Hall of Fame. NOTE: Airing these spots is completely voluntary (and this is NOT a part of the WBA’s NCSA/PEP program).   


Also, as we welcome in 2018, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of our events and deadlines that will be coming up in the next two months. You’ll find more detailed explanations of these items within this issue of the Wisconsin Broadcaster:

  • WBA Awards For Excellence deadline – Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 11:59 p.m. CDT – Please don’t wait until the last minute to enter. Plan to get it out of the way sooner rather than later. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Make sure to join us for the WBA’s Social/Digital Media and Young Professionals Sessions “What Can You Do on Social Media” and “8 Reasons Why YOU are the Future of Broadcasting (And One Reason You Might Now Be) and the WBA Social Reception on Tuesday, Jan. 30 and our Winter Conference/ State Legislative Day on Wednesday, Jan. 31. We really NEED you – especially for the State Legislative visits and the reception.  
  • 31 is the registration deadline for the WBA’s upcoming DC Trip taking place Feb. 28 and March 1. I think you’ll agree that there will be no shortage of Federal/FCC-related issues in 2018. This trip always makes an impact on our members of Congress.   
  • Is there someone you’d like to nominate for the WBA Hall of Fame or Local Broadcast Legends? If so, don’t forget that the nomination deadline for both is Feb. 15.

Have I mentioned lately that it’s never boring at your WBA? 

So here’s to a happy, healthy, and I might add prosperous (as that certainly doesn’t hurt) 2018!

Thank you, as always, for your time & support.

Promoting cohesion between programming, sales

There’s an age-old problem in radio stations. That is a chasm between sales and programming. Some have solved it by making both departments very important and respectful of each other. It’s a subject I wanted to address. But our programming consultant, Tim Moore, said it better, so I’ll relinquish space for Tim:

Tim Moore

Tim Moore

If you think about it, radio is the only business with two completely different sets of customers; only Alpo Dog Food can make that claim. Today, we may be farther apart than ever and there are a thousand reasons why. Because we’d rather it not be true doesn’t change anything.

Our firm’s programming history has ranged from market rank No. 1 to No. 251. The scope may change, the process never does. Today with large groups in high seas, you have to wonder how much “development” is going on, or how much either side of the building really understands about the other. We hear it often, though the tenor and severity ranges from tolerably typical to toxic (“sales pukes,” “talent egomaniacs,” and other endearing references). The greater question asks, “Why does leadership tolerate this stand-off?” In theory, it’s costing radio a lot of gross revenue and on the other side, through more subtle nuances, talent performance, and ratings.

As an owner of stations earlier in my career my staff was required to do a “changing socks” exercise with regularly scheduled rotation. It went like this: the seller who occasionally drifted into the “if it weren’t for him…” mantra referencing a talent, or the talent who quipped “all he/she cares about is making money” (duh). We kept this to a minimum and those who knew our stations and remember them today will attest to the high level of play in our buildings, thank to our people and their leadership. So, select talent and sales people would study each other’s’ roles.

A seller would be required to come into the studio at 6 a.m. joining the morning show. Following that experience the seller would usually say, “My God, I had no idea…like air traffic control in there, can’t believe what it takes” and other superlatives. Then an air talent would be asked to accompany a seller to a bona fide first encounter where a seller was asked to do a client needs assessment. One really good afternoon guy came back from a call, popped into my office and recapped: “I got queasy guts, just watching the handshake. I can’t believe how she deflected the pressure and convinced the guy to accept another meeting to hear a campaign proposal!”

I suppose we could reduce it to the blunt premise: the sales team’s job is to get the money, the client’s job is to keep it. If talent understood revenue-producing pressure while at times is unnerving, it’s a pretty cool way to become a media professional.

If sellers understood only a small percentage of human beings will ever go into a control room and filet themselves in front of the neon Nielsen scoreboard, often with all the security of the Flying Wallendas, they’d acquire more understanding and empathy for that side of their building.

Some traditional greats such as Cox, Susquehanna, Lincoln Financial, New City and Bonneville seemed to really understand that when relationships broke down, business broke down. Talent or seller, you were required to understand. Today we’ve seen a few buildings where the divide is so toxic one wonders how the cluster survives. Then a week later we’ll be unduly impressed with how much collaboration and empowerment appears to exist in a given cluster with resulting pride in ratings and revenue.

If this sounds “preachy” so be it. The responsibility of an exceptional radio manager is to create the basis for hope with his or her sales department, while acknowledging and inspiring their programming staff. In comparison, nothing else matters.

Featured Video

Leonard Charles, Hall of Fame Inductee 2017

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