Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

‘Mac the Mailman’ remembered in new video

Posted On: July 17, 2018

Television personality Ward Chase, better known to many as “Mac the Mailman” is being remembered in a video posted to the Wisconsin Broadcasting Museum.

Chase began his broadcasting career in 1949 at WBAY radio in Green Bay and four years later joined WBAY-TV when it went on the air. In 1956 he moved to Milwaukee to be a newscaster on WOKY radio. A year later he returned to TV on WITI-TV and in 1959 to WXIX-TV.

Chase is best remembered in Milwaukee for his children’s program “Mac the Mailman.” Chase played Mac, the mailman who played movies,  ... Read More

Madison station celebrates news website’s 20th year

Posted On: July 15, 2018

 Courtesy WBA Newsroom

WISC-TV in Madison is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its news website.
Channel3000.com went online July 13, 1998 after its digital project called “In Touch,” which was Madison’s first television website.
The station partnered with Internet Broadcasting Systems to launch Channel 3000. IBS is now a part of Nexstar-owned Lakana…. – MORE –  ... Read More

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Webinar: Broadcasters and Drones – Rules and Regulations Governing Operations

Posted On: July 13, 2018
Program Date: July 19, 2018

Anne Swanson of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

Broadcasters and Drones – Rules and Regulations Governing Operations

Presented by: Anne Swanson of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

   ... Read More

Webinar: FCC on Emergency Alerting

Posted On: July 12, 2018
Program Date: July 25, 2018

The Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency is holding a webinar on the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts.

The free webinar will focus on issues relevant to broadcasters, cable television service providers, wireless service providers, state and local emergency managers, and other emergency alert and warning stakeholders. Topics will include:  

A description of these alerting systems and how they work;

Who is eligible to initiate alerts, and how they are authorized;

How authorized alert initiators are trained and available training resources;  ... Read More

Madison station to broadcast gubernatorial primary candidate forum

Posted On: July 12, 2018

WORT 89.9 FM, Isthmus, The Progressive magazine, and the Madison Public Library are sponsoring a candidate forum for all Democratic candidates for the Wisconsin gubernatorial primary.

The debate will be held Aug. 8 on the third floor of Madison Central Library. A candidate meet and greet begins at 6:30 and the broadcast runs from 7-8:30 p.m.

All eight candidates are expected to attend.

The forum will be emceed by Dylan Brogan of Isthmus, with questions posed by Isthmus Editor Judith Davidoff, The Progressive Managing Editor Bill Lueders,  ... Read More

County radio PD loses battle with cancer

Posted On: July 12, 2018

Mark Grantin

A county radio program director with a history of working in Wisconsin has died after a six-year battle with cancer.

Mark Grantin died Wednesday night. His last eight years he worked at Scripps-owned KTTS in Springfield, Missouri.

Grantin’s career also took him to WBUL in Lexington, Kentucky, WWQM and WHIT in Madison, and WAKX in Duluth, Minnesota.

During his time at WWQM, he paired John Flint and Tammy Lee, an on air partnership that continues 18 years later. During his time at KTTS, the station has received numerous honors including from the Academy of Country Music,  ... Read More

Coalition pushing for full repeal of personal property tax

Posted On: July 12, 2018

The WBA, as a member of the Coalition to Repeal Wisconsin’s Personal Property Tax, successfully advocated for a $75 million reduction in the personal property tax last session. WBA President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind twice testified to legislative committees on behalf of broadcasters, arguing that the personal property tax is a burden to broadcasters, who maintain many pieces of equipment subject to the tax. As a result, WBA members will see reductions on their 2018 personal property tax bill they receive from their local municipalities in December of 2018.

In the upcoming 2019-2021 State Budget, the WBA and the 51-member state-wide Coalition will push for full repeal of the unfair,  ... Read More

Marshfield area Hall of Fame broadcaster dies

Posted On: July 11, 2018

Jack Hackman

A Marshfield area radio broadcaster and WBA Hall of Famer with a long record of community service has died.

Jack Hackman was with Goetz Broadcasting for his career in broadcasting that lasted more than 40 years. He died Tuesday surrounded by his family. He was 85.

Hackman started as a control room engineer and producer at WDLB radio in Marshfield and served in numerous talent and management roles until 1970 when he became general manager of WDLB-AM/WLJY-FM.

In 1981, he became vice president and chief operating officer of Goetz Broadcasting,  ... Read More

La Crosse area photographer first to receive Jowett Fellowship

Posted On: July 10, 2018

Travis Judell

A television photographer working in the La Crosse area is the first to receive the Rick Jowett Fellowship.

Travis Judell works at WXOW News 19 and was awarded $1,500 to extend his training with the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).

Judell started his career in broadcasting at WKBT-TV in La Crosse while he was still a sophomore in college. He said he’s looking to gain as much knowledge of the industry as he can and grow as a photographer to be able to use compelling video to tell the many stories in his community.  He said he’s always been intrigued by how video can help tell a story.  ... Read More

WBA Hall of Fame takes center stage at Summer Conference

Posted On: July 9, 2018

Michelle Vetterkind

The WBA Summer Convention was an extra special one this year because it was hosted at the site of your WBA Hall of Fame at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. This beautiful hotel is a wonderful home for our Hall of Fame and a great place to hold a WBA convention.

While it was a rainy week outside, the weather held for the annual golf tournament on Wednesday. The golfers traveled to Fire Ridge Golf Club in Grafton to enjoy some time on the course.

Anyone who came to the hotel got a chance to meet Millie, the “Canine Concierge.” She spent her days in the lobby greeting all our conference guests, and even got involved in our luncheon. For more on that, keep reading.

There was also a lot going on at the hotel on Wednesday, starting with Engineering Day that kicked off with a talk about the challenge of maintaining bases for AM towers from Rich Wood of Resonant Results and discussion on the early stages of the television repack with Kent Aschenbrenner, Senior Director of Engineering for E.W. Scripps.

The engineers then joined a session open to everyone about safety for journalists and broadcast station sites with a panel that included Dan Shelley, Executive Director, RTDNA; Ben Hart, News Director, WISN-TV; David Oxenford, Partner, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer; Michael Kass, Brown Deer Police Chief; Mike Kemmeter, News Director, Woodward Radio Group; and Katie Crowther, Reporter, WTMJ-TV. The panel was moderated by Juli Buehler, News Director, WLUK-TV and WBA Board member. It was an important conversation that will likely be taken up again at future conferences.

Jack Zavoral, Director of Member Development, Local Media Association, also hosted a session about how digital products fit within the marketing scheme for local businesses. Jack would like to share his session for a wider audience in a WBA webinar. Register today!

A team of speakers took on the topic of data analytics and discussed how it could be used to help broadcasters. Lindsay Wood Davis, Broadcast Management Strategies led the conversation with two experts in the field, Heather Storm, Music Director, Woodward Radio Group and Diny Hurwitz, Business Analyst, Chicago Bears.

The engineers started their afternoon hearing from Eric Reese, Customer Development and Applications Engineering, Americas, Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, about what wireless mic manufacturers are doing to keep mics working after the TV repack and recent white space rulings. That was followed by a panel of millennials who took questions from broadcast veterans about how the younger generation views their work in broadcasting…and that was followed by roundtable discussions with general managers and human resources personnel to discuss what was learned from the millennial panel and how it could be used to help recruiting.

Thanks to the millennial panelists: Justin Hull, Brand Manager, WHBY/WSCO; Marty Mangerson, Chief Engineer, WJFW-TV; Justin Van Hout, Broadcast Technician, Woodward Radio Group; and Britny Williams, Broadcast Specialist, WPR. And thank you to our roundtable moderators: Joe Poss, General Manager, WTMJ-TV; Anna Engelhart, Station Manager, WKOW-TV; Kelly Radandt, General Manager, Woodward Radio Group; Don Vesely, General Manager, WMTV-TV; and Jeff Ver Voort, Director of Human Resources, Morgan Murphy Media.

The Job/Career Fair was held in the beautiful Empire Room, which was followed by our EEO session with Binnu Palta Hill from the UW Business School. She talked about inclusion, diversity, and recognizing and overcoming unconscious bias in your decision making.

In the legislative update, we heard an update on federal issues from David Oxenford and state issues from Brandon Scholz from the Capitol Group.  WBA State Legislative Chair Kelly Radandt and Federal Legislative Chair Roger Utnehmer offered their final reports. WBA and NAB Board member Tom Walker also offered a report on ownership issues.

The exhibit reception was well attended and there were many raffle prizes to give away. Congratulations to Jim Steinert, WISN-TV who on the 50/50 raffle and walked away with $840. Thanks to everyone who bought tickets in support of the WBA Foundation.

The weather cooperated and we had dinner and dessert outside the hotel on a beautiful courtyard. Our friends at Tri-Marq added lighting to make it a special evening. The hotel was impressed enough that it might copy our setup! Many guests stayed until after the sun had set.

Thursday started with our business breakfast and economic report from BMO Private Bank, followed by concurrent sessions. Robert Russo, President and CEO, RNR Media Consulting, held two separate sessions on selling broadcast versus local cable. One session was geared toward radio and the other toward television. At the same time, attendees heard from speaker and author Rita Emmet who talked about overcoming procrastination to be more successful and Bill Marklein, Founder, Employ Humanity, who explained how to use emotional intelligence to improve interpersonal skills.

At lunch we honored four Local Broadcast Legends in the Empire Ballroom. Kathy Keene, Margaret Neader, John M. Wadd, and Jeff Wagner were recognized for their contributions to their local communities. The families of Margaret Neader and John Wadd accepted the posthumous honors.

A true highlight of the conference was NAB President and CEO Sen. Gordon Smith who delivered a keynote speech to a full room, reflecting on the contributions broadcasters make in their communities. He was joined by NAB Senior Vice President of State Associations and Board Relations Sue Keenom. Sen. Smith also attended the WBA Hall of Fame on Thursday night and spoke to the Toolbox event on Friday. We thank him for coming to the convention.

Millie nearly stole the spotlight during Sen. Smith’s keynote address. During his speech, she loudly pounded on the door to the room, no doubt looking for leftovers from lunch. She was turned away until Sen. Smith was done speaking.

The Thursday sessions ended with an uplifting presentation from Mike Hulvey, COO, Neuhoff Communications, who spoke about the honor of serving as broadcasters. It was a wonderful session to lead into the Hall of Fame event Thursday evening.

The Hall of Fame reception was held at the WBA Hall of Fame on the lobby floor of the Hilton. It was an electric atmosphere for the induction of Chris Lytle, Tom Koser, Gary Timm, and Bob Smith. The Crystal Ballroom was decorated beautifully. The induction videos and subsequent speeches offered a dramatic cross section of the many powerful ways broadcasters, like our honorees, serve their communities and fellow broadcasters.

The conference continued Friday with the Young Professional’s Toolbox event produced by and for young professionals in broadcasting. We were proud to see more than 50 highly engaged young broadcasters talking about important issues and sharing their experiences. You can read more about that day here.

Thank you to the WBA Conference Committee for putting together a wonderful agenda, and thank you to the WBA team, Linda, Liz, and Kyle, for your dedication to this event.

As always, thank you to our conference partner, the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and to all the sponsors who supported the event. We couldn’t do it without you!

Please check out the photos from the convention here


We recently sent stations a new PSA for Wisconsin Honor Flights featuring Wisconsin’s own 12-time PGA Tour winner and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker. Stricker was recently named the PSA spokesperson for Wisconsin Honor Flight.

The PSA is focused on getting Vietnam Era veterans signed up for Honor Flights. For now, this is a radio only campaign, but we’ve been told that a TV spot is also under consideration. The PSA expires June 1, 2019.

If you’ll recall, in 2014, your WBA implemented a promotional campaign for Wisconsin Honor Flights, working with all six Wisconsin Honor Flight hubs. We developed a website featuring a one-stop easy access tool for all six honor flight hubs.

Running this PSA is purely voluntary. Stations do not have to report airings to the WBA, and this is NOT part of the WBA’s NCSA/PEP Program.

If you need assistance getting access to the PSAs, please contact the WBA office.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of our short, but fabulous, Wisconsin summer!

Embracing change important to broadcasting’s future

Posted On: July 11, 2018

Robert Kennedy said “20 percent of the people will be against anything.” Baseball great Casey Stengel once said “The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.” Casey and Kennedy were on to something!

During times of continuous change, people quickly align themselves into one of three camps, according to management change expert Price Pritchett.

The first group, typically about 20 percent of the group, embraces change. They are immediately energized and excited about change – sometimes before they even know everything about it. They are innately curious and ready to challenge the status quo. “Starting today, we’re changing how we do things!” you announce. Your change embracers immediately sign on and can’t wait to help you implement your changes even though they don’t know every detail.

The second group is a tougher audience. Fifty-percent of people will sit on the fence. They’ll ask questions. They’ll get together in small groups to decide whether they like the change or not. They’ll withhold judgment on the change. At times, they’ll simultaneously endorse the change (“This is great. I’m so glad we’re finally doing this differently.”) … but they privately work to destroy it (“I can’t believe we’re doing this. It’ll never work.”) The good news: This 50 percent will eventually take sides, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

The third group, call it 30 percent, are active change resisters. They hate change. They love the status quo. They work overtime to protect their job, their turf, and their way of doing things. The moment they sniff change in the wind, they click into gear to overturn it, and even sabotage it.

Whether you’re an owner, a manager, or a state broadcast association, you have to figure out how to put together a majority of people to help you change, grow, and ultimately succeed.

According to Pritchett, most of us make the mistake of trying to romance that stubborn 30 percent who hate change, hoping we can turn them into change embracers. It’s not going to happen.

A better strategy is to spend time and energy first with the 50 percent of people who want to understand the change, how it benefits them and the organization, and why change is important and necessary. This is your highest-leverage group, and they are worth your time and energy. Talk to them. Engage with them. Explain the change and your own reaction to how changes will affect the group.

Next, encourage the 20 percent who love change. Thank them for their spirit. Tell them you need their help and are counting on them. Since they love change so much, let them know that once these changes start working, there’ll be more change to come. They are your evangelists!

This is harder to do, but just as important: We pretty much have to ignore the 30 percent of naysayers. They will get louder and more difficult to manage, but you will expend important energy and credibility by spending hours unsuccessfully trying to convince them that change is necessary and good for them.

Trying new approaches that challenge the status quo takes courage and vision. Surround yourself with enough change embracers and well-intentioned fence sitters and we’ll be successful evolving and growing. 

Our business, our industry (and yes, our state association) will continue to change as we tackle new challenges. Our ability to embrace change will go a long way in determining our success in the years to come.

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