WBA Foundation announces broadcast teams for general election debates

In the News

The WBA Foundation Board is proud to announce the names of the journalists from across the state who will continue its 32-year tradition of conducting debates in the Wisconsin Governor and the U.S. Senate races for Wisconsin voters.

Both debates will be conducted by diverse teams of broadcasters from stations and communities across Wisconsin.

After the Aug. 9 primary, qualifying candidates in both races will be invited to participate in the debates. The U.S. Senate debate will air Oct. 7 and the gubernatorial debate will air Oct. 14.

Each debate will feature a six-member question team and three-member data team, working together to research issues important to voters and to produce debate questions that elicit specific, meaningful answers from candidates. During the debate, as members of the question team address the candidates, the data team will provide background, context, and resources to voters via digital and social platforms.

Here are the broadcast teams:

U.S. Senate Debate – Oct. 7
Question Team: 

A.J. Bayatpour, Capitol Bureau Chief, WKOW-TV, Madison
Mark Leland, Anchor/Reporter, WLUK-TV, Green Bay
Kim Murphy, Anchor, WITI-TV, Milwaukee
Montse Ricossa, News Anchor, Telemundo Wisconsin
Dale Ryman, Anchor/Reporter, WSAW-TV, Wausau
Brad Williams, Anchor/Reporter, WIZM Radio, La Crosse

Data Team: 

Emily Davies, Investigative Reporter, WSAW-TV, Wausau
Scottie Lee Meyers, Producer, Milwaukee PBS
Michelle Baik, Weekend Anchor/Reporter, WMTV-TV, Madison

Gubernatorial Debate – Oct. 14
Question Team: 

Amy DuPont, Anchor/Reporter, WKBT-TV, La Crosse
Frederica Freyberg, News Director, PBS Wisconsin, Madison
Dan Hagen, Evening Anchor, WJFW-TV, Rhinelander
Dr. Ken Harris, Truth in the Afternoon, WGKB Radio, Milwaukee
Victor Jacobo, Reporter, CBS 58/Telemundo Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Michele McCormack, Anchor/Reporter, WFRV-TV, Green Bay

Data Team: 

Naomi Kowles, Lead Investigator, WISC-TV, Madison
Jonathan Krause, Director of Multimedia Journalism, Woodward Radio Group, Appleton
Juliana Tornabene, Executive Producer-Digital Content, WMTV-TV, Madison

Jill Geisler

Both debates will be moderated by WBA Hall of Fame inductee Jill Geisler. Geisler holds the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago. The lifelong Wisconsinite was one of the first female news directors of a major market affiliate as news director at WITI-TV in Milwaukee. She’s moderated numerous WBA Foundation debates since 2014.

The WBA encourages its members to inform the public by airing this debate and their own programming to help educate voters ahead of the election.

The WBA Foundation debates are sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Questions or inquiries about the debates should be directed to debate@wbafoundation.org.