Bob Beck

News Director

Phone: 307-766-6626
Email: btwo@uwyo.edu 

Bob Beck has been News Director of Wyoming Public Radio since 1988.  During his time as News Director WPR has won 94 national, regional and state news awards.  Bob has received the WEA School Bell Award for education reporting and was honored by the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving for his reporting.  He was also the voice of an Emmy award winning documentary on memory.  He has covered the Wyoming Legislature longer than any broadcaster in the state and is a frequent political guest and host on Wyoming PBS.   

Bob also taught broadcast news at the University of Wyoming for 20 years and his 1998 television reporting class won a regional Emmy for reporting excellence.  He also was twice given a Top Prof award by the UW Mortar Board.   Bob is also active in community events and co-chaired the 2009 Albany County United Way Campaign with his wife Debra. 

Prior to coming to WPR, Bob worked as a News and Sportscaster at stations in Wyoming and Illinois.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and is a native of Wheaton, Illinois in suburban Chicago.  When he is not working he is running, mountain biking, doing CrossFit, walking his dog, or cheering on his beloved Packers, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Salukis.

Ways to Connect

Wyoming U.S Senator John Barrasso said he’s pleased with the final Republican Party platform that was adopted in Cleveland this week. 

Barrasso chaired the committee that drafted the platform. The document has been criticized for its stance against same sex marriage, its opposition to transgender men and women using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, and its support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, among other things. But Barrasso said the platform represents Wyoming values.

University of Wyoming

 

Wyoming President Laurie Nichols started her job on a Monday, the Monday after the Friday when Governor Matt Mead told the UW trustees that they must whack an additional $35 million from the University budget. The state’s fiscal downturn has led to a $41 million cut from the UW budget.

Bob Beck

 

Most moose herds in Wyoming are in decline, but the Snowy Range Moose herd appears to be an exception. After a moose re-introduction in northern Colorado, they started showing up in the Snowy Range Mountains west of Laramie in the 1980s.

They’re commonly spotted throughout southeast Wyoming, but there is little data concerning their exact numbers. Now a joint research project by the University of Wyoming and Wyoming Game and Fish is trying to change that.   

State Farm

The Wyoming Board of Education has changed a number of graduation requirements for Wyoming high school students. One change will allow students to prove they are competent in a subject without receiving a traditional grade.

Another will tweak the requirement for how long a student must be in a classroom, which is known as seat time. State Board member Sue Belish said that takes into account new ways of learning. 

Jason Senteney

A candidate for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives said he wants to require military service for 18-year-olds. 

Republican Jason Senteney of Torrington said  he wants to implement what he calls the National Service Plan where 18-year-old men and women would be required to serve two years in the military or a related job if they are not physically able. Senteney said this will get young people to respect each other and get them invested in the nation. 

Bob Beck, Wyoming Public Radio

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols said that planned budget reductions for this fiscal year may fall short of goals. So, she told the UW trustees Wednesday to plan for $15 million dollars in budget cuts in the next fiscal year.

They had hoped to only cut $10 million, but UW has not yet realized forecast savings in early retirements or by increased teaching loads. The University is currently looking at cutting a variety of academic and non-academic programs after being told it would receive $40 million less in revenue over the next two years. 

An African American woman was injured in what she said was a racially motivated attack in Laramie early Sunday morning. 

The victim is a former Laramie resident who posted on her Facebook page that she and two other African Americans were returning from a night at Laramie’s Jubilee Days when they were approached by a small group who shouted racial slurs at the victim's group and threatened to kill them. 

Bob Beck, Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming’s Title 25 program is $13 million dollars over budget and a group of legislators and others were told this week that reforms and policy changes are needed to slow down that spending. 

Title 25 covers court ordered hospitalizations for mental health and substance abuse patients. The state hospital doesn’t have enough beds to house those who need services, so the state has to pay private providers for that care. Natrona, Fremont, and Sweetwater County are driving the costs.  

Wyoming Education Association

  

  

Educators from across the country are meeting in Washington D.C. this week for the annual National Education conference. Kathy Vetter is the Wyoming Education Association President. While some states still struggle with funding, others have restored education money to pre-2008 levels. That’s not the case in Wyoming, where a downturn in the energy economy has led to cuts in education funding for the first time in many years. Vetter told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that the cuts came faster than educators thought they would. 

Bob Beck, Wyoming Public Radio

Due to declining revenues the Wyoming Department of Health has been told to cut $90 million from its budget, that’s a nine percent reduction, the largest cut faced by any state agency. It will impact the two year budget that begins July first.

Director Tom Forslund said the loss of state funds also means the Department will lose an additional $43 million in federal matching money. Had the legislature voted to expand Medicaid it would have softened the blow, especially since the Department could shift some money from its budget to pay upfront costs. 

Bob Beck

Due to declining state revenues, Governor Matt Mead announced that he is cutting the state budget by $248 million.

The Wyoming Department of Health is being asked to cut its budget by $90 million for the next two years, which Mead said will lead to a loss of 677 private sector jobs. The University of Wyoming will cut $35 million, community colleges $20 million and the Department of Corrections $17 million. Mead told the Joint Appropriations Committee Tuesday that he had no choice.

M&R Glasgow, Flickr Creative Commons

Listen to the full show here.

Wyoming Lawmakers Oppose New Gun Measures In Wake Of Orlando

In the wake of the tragic slayings in Orlando last weekend, gun-control unexpectedly dominated Congress this week. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on why Wyoming lawmakers think the debate is misguided. 

Bob Beck

Getting people to run for the legislature can be a challenge, but this year Wyoming has had no problem attracting candidates. In 2014 Democrats made a strong push to get more people to run and they came up with 32 candidates. This year the number is 64. Even Republicans have more candidates running than two years ago. Jason Swadley of Ballotpedia studies elections.

“In all of the areas where we look at competitiveness, this year Wyoming is actually much more competitive than the U.S. average.”

Donning

 

In 1914 John Woody started a Wyoming phone company that is now known as Union Wireless. These days it’s a multi-million dollar corporation and one of the state’s great success stories.

Author Terry Del Bene has written a book about the company called A Phone Where The Buffalo Roamed. He explains why this phone company survived for over 100 years while others have faltered. 

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming Trustees passed a resolution supporting President Laurie Nichols’ efforts to cut $41 million dollars from the UW budget due to falling energy revenues.

UW will eliminate 70 vacant positions and require faculty to increase their teaching load to help meet the shortfall. Faculty have expressed concern that more teaching will take away from their ability to conduct research. Nichols said that comes with the territory.

Ryan Greene

Wyoming Democratic U.S. House Candidate Ryan Greene is a Rock Springs native who brings an interesting background to the race. Greene works in the energy industry. Greene is one of two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to become Wyoming’s next congressman.

He says he got into the race to help the energy industry recover and to create jobs. Greene tells Bob Beck that you do that diversifying both within and outside the energy industry.

Award Winning Poet Discusses Her New Book

Jun 10, 2016
sastrugipress.com

Laramie Poet Lori Howe has a new book coming out called Voices at Twilight. It’s a book of poems, photographs, and historic essays about the ghost towns of Wyoming’s southern corridor. She joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck and reads excerpts from that book. 

Lori Howe will be on tour this month as a Think Wyoming, Wyoming Humanities Council roads scholar teaching free creative writing workshops on the subject of Water in Wyoming. 

Wyoming Medical Center Facebook

The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper has cut 58 positions to meet budget reductions due to a downturn in the local economy. The hospital says they also don’t plan to fill 57 vacancies.

Medical Center CEO Vicki Diamond said the reductions will save the organization over $7 million dollars, but cuts will not harm medical services. For example, no nurses were reduced. 

Chief Financial Officer Yvonne Wiggington said fewer people have insurance and that has led to a rise in charity care and bad debt.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Although Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming Democratic caucus with 56 percent of the vote, he received the same number of delegates that Hillary Clinton did. Sanders supporters are hoping to change that.

Sanders supporter and Democratic National Committeeman elect Jon Gardzelewski said state delegates supporting Sanders have filed a formal petition with the Democratic National Committee challenging the apportionment of Wyoming delegates to the national convention. 

Tim Stubson

A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives has unveiled a plan to help Wyoming’s struggling energy industry—and to give back power to states. 

Republican Tim Stubson calls his plan “winning back the west.” His biggest effort is to use legislation and the power of the purse to remove what he considers burdensome rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bob Beck

 

Due to a massive drop in projected revenues, the Governor is trying to cut spending for the next two-year budget cycle by eight percent. He said he is trying to cut spending levels back to where they were ten years ago.

The University of Wyoming has already started working on a cut of near 40 million dollars and the largest cut will likely come from the Wyoming Department of Health. Tom Forslund is the Director of the Department and Bob Beck met with him in Cheyenne to discuss what that kind of cut means.

Budget Cuts Before Taxes

May 23, 2016
Bob Beck

  

Wyoming’s revenue picture is dire. Thanks to declining energy and sales tax revenue Governor Mead has already started cutting nearly 300 million dollars from the two-year budget that was approved by the legislature in March.

Wyoming Fire Danger Is Low

May 23, 2016
U.S. Forest Service

This week federal officials said that a dry spring has them concerned that there could be a serious summer fire season in the western United States. Of course, few of us in Wyoming understand what a dry spring looks like. Bill Crapser is Wyoming’s state forester. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Bob Beck of Wyoming Public Radio

To save money, the Wyoming legislature may meet only 37 out of 40 possible days next year and will make other reductions in travel, staffing, and purchases.  

Due to a downturn in expected revenues, the legislature’s management council voted to reduce the legislature’s upcoming two-year budget by 12 percent. The governor is working with all state agencies and the University of Wyoming to reduce their budgets by an average of eight percent. 

Speaker of the House Kermit Brown said the upcoming session may be difficult and lawmakers may need all 40 days. 

Bob Beck

For many years, the University of Wyoming choir programs have been recognized as among the best in the country.

Since 2008 Doctor Nicole Lamartine has been the Director of Choral activities and she’s so highly thought of that she conducts and give seminars around the world and she’s a highly regarded singer in her own right. But she also has a hidden talent as a weight lifter.

A power lifter to be exact and a pretty good one, for instance, she currently holds the world back squat record after squatting 265 pounds.

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