Young broadcasting professionals recognized for contributions

In the News Young Professionals

Young professionals are making their mark on broadcasting in Wisconsin and the WBA is recognizing them.

The WBA Young Professional of the Year Award seeks to recognize young broadcasters who have made a significant impact on their stations and communities. A subcommittee of the WBA Board of Directors selected five young professionals to recognize in 2023, and one of those five has been identified as the  “Young Professional of the Year.”

Two of the other honorees were identified in the last Wisconsin Broadcaster, Amanda Spark and Caleb Svendsen. The Young Professional of the Year will be announced in the May/June newsletter and awarded at the WBA Summer Conference on June 14 in Elkhart Lake. The honorees will also be recognized at the conference luncheon.

Our next two honorees are Jerad Clark and Victor Jacobo.

Jerad Clark

Company: Mid-West Family Madison
Position: VP of Business Development
Years at station: 13
Started in broadcasting (year): 2010

How did you get into broadcasting?

Well wouldn’t you know it, I heard an ad on the radio for a sales position open at Mid-West Family. It sounded like something I could do and do well, so as a recent graduate I applied and they took a chance on me. I was hired by Theresa Timm and Hall of Famer Howard Gloede in of La Crosse. So this is where I got my start, as a sales representative, selling for six stations.

How do you view the role of young professionals in

I view the role of a YP in this industry as the generation that will help push broadcasters into new technology and revenue streams. A disrupter generation if you will, combining the content and success broadcasting has always had, with social platforms, data, and all the ways of delivering content today. Without the historical perspective, besides what I read and hear, I believe the YP generation will be the folks that help broadcast through its biggest challenge yet!

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters?

This is an industry where if you work hard, the possibilities are endless. It’s not rigid. The path is not defined. So create your own path, look beyond what’s happening today and seek out new opportunities. Those who avoid the “rinse and repeat” methods will have great success. Ask questions, be curious, and don’t be afraid to try something new!

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you?

The future of broadcast is exciting! We’re expanding into new platforms, new content, and new revenue streams. The ambiguity of radio gives its strength going into the future, we’ve always been “a lot things” to people and technology only helps us deliver content in more ways to our audiences. We’re malleable, we can adapt, and our content will continue to be our strength. The other future we have is a tethered relationship, in the form of data, to our audiences. This will be our most valuable asset going forward: Our 1 to 1 relationship with the audience and the ability to connect with them directly.

Victor Jacobo

Company: WDJT CBS 58/WYTU Telemundo
Position: Reporter
Years at station: 4.5 (5 in June)
Started in broadcasting (year): 2014

How did you get into broadcasting?

My first experience in broadcasting was actually in high school. I was very fortunate Libertyville High School had a program called Cat TV (we were the Wildcats). I got opportunities to do sideline reporting and play-by-play calling for various sports events at our school. I continued developing my skills in college at Marquette University working in student media including MUTV, Marquette Radio, and Marquette Wire.

My first professional job was as an associate producer for TouchVision, a now-shut down division of Weigel Broadcasting. I made my way to a producer before operations shut down. I made my way to local news in my next role as a producer at WISC News 3 in Madison. I then joined WDJT CBS 58 as an associate producer, then producer before getting in front of the camera as a reporter.

How do you view the role of young professionals in

Perhaps now more than ever, young professionals must harness new technology and trends to help their newsrooms thrive. A newsroom with generational diversity is important and valuable. Pairing experience of seasoned veterans with novel knowledge from young professionals of how information is consumed today helps make the overall news product strong. On top of learning the tried-and-true ways in which newsrooms achieve success, young professionals can and must challenge the status quo of approaching news, audiences and technology. That’s true in a newsroom and outside of one. Addressing challenges in audience reach, news coverage and more from a young professional’s perspective will ultimately leave the future of broadcasting in secure hands.

What advice would you give to other young broadcasters?

There’s a scene in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ taking the audience back to a young Indy in which he steals a cross from treasure hunters only to be caught and forced to give the cross back. The leader of the treasure hunters tells the young Indy, “You lost today, kid. That doesn’t mean you have to like it.”

I would tell young broadcasters there are no straight paths in achieving what you want out of your career in broadcasting, though it’s easy to fall in the trap of comparing yourselves to others who appear to be on a direct path of success. The path you go on will likely leave you facing challenges they didn’t talk about in class like living somewhere far from home and away from friends and family or working difficult hours. I’d tell young broadcasters to find their ‘why’ of what is leading them to want this career. If the ‘why’ is strong and deep, it will help you go a long way. If the ‘why’ is something superficial or shallow, you’re likely looking at a shorter run at this. Find your ‘why,’ make sure it’s strong and remind yourself of what that is in challenging moments and it will keep you going on the path that’s best for you.

What does the future of broadcasting look like to you?

I’m humble enough to say I don’t really know what the future holds. But in my brief time on Earth, I have observed pendulum swings in different aspects of culture. I think the past two decades have seen the broadcast industry wrestle with how to best address the pendulum swinging in the direction of the digital gold rush. That gold rush led to some amazing innovations as well as an information environment ripe with grifting and cheap gimmicks. And now I think audiences are realizing all that glitters is not gold.  I think recent years have slowly pushed that pendulum back in a direction where audiences are hungry for something resembling the traditional values of broadcasting: trusted, illuminating, and honest storytelling in our journalism. Without it, a TV, phone, or tablet is just, ‘wires and lights in a box’ as Edward R. Murrow would say.