Happy New Year to Wisconsin’s local broadcasters. It’s been an honor to serve as your Chair during this turbulent, exciting, and challenging year. I’ll leave you with some resolutions that I hope we all can agree are good for our industry, our state association and each other.
Resolution No. 1: Become a First Amendment zealot. The freedoms of the media, guaranteed in our sacred Constitution, have never been under attack in the manner they are today. State legislators try to gut Wisconsin’s open records laws. The President of the United States refers to the free press as the “enemy of the people.” Regardless of your political leaning, we need to be vigilant and more aggressive in protecting the First Amendment on behalf of our audiences and fellow citizens.
Resolution No. 2: Recommit to the WBA. Your state association advocates and serves on your behalf. Let’s reciprocate in bigger and more meaningful ways. Attend our conferences (and send more of your fellow employees), make donations to the WBA Foundation to help ensure our legacy, serve on WBA committees that interest you, run the NCSA/PEP schedules (this is our No. 1 funding source!). In short, our association needs all of us like never before. Let’s step up.
Resolution No. 3: Lobby with the WBA. Our state and federal elected officials work for us. Time and time again, when we’ve spoken with a strong and unified voice, we are heard. Join us for our state Legislative Day and the Federal Legislative trip to Washington, D.C.
Resolution No. 4: Invite young people into your business. Look around the management and ownership tables and you’ll likely see a group of dedicated professionals who love television and radio. But how many of them represent the next generation of professionals who will be making important decisions about our future? Speak to students. Invite younger broadcasters into the fold. Mentor a student. Our future depends on it.
Resolution No. 5: Be a change embracer. I decided a while ago to stop pining for the past. The future is here, it is now, and yes: everything is changing. Our industry has seen changes in technology, audience behavior, content and delivery of our products at breathtaking speed. But isn’t it reassuring that regardless of how we deliver our products, there is strong demand for information, entertainment, and local commerce solutions in our markets?
Finally, thank you for your support of your WBA and to Michelle, Linda, Kyle, and Liz for “herding cats” and keeping us moving forward to our next year, which will undoubtedly be full of new challenges and opportunities.