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

Bob Beck

Many Wyoming communities are expecting a surge in visitors in the days surrounding the August 21 eclipse, but Jackson officials say if the weather holds it could be anywhere between 50,000 to 80,000 extra people visiting the area. Jackson is always packed on that date, but the potential increase in visitors has led to months of planning and the hiring of a coordinator to make sure Jackson Hole can get through the event. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is proposing to raise health insurance rates by 48 percent in the coming year. That would mainly impact the 28,000 Wyomingites who get their coverage via the Federal Health Insurance Exchange.  

Those off the exchange and who get group insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield could also see a substantial increase. Spokeswoman Wendy Curran explained that Blue Cross Blue Shield is nervous about proposed changes in the current health care law. She said they are particularly concerned about threats to remove cost shared reduction subsidies.

Don Gonyea

  

As we all know, the Donald Trump administration has been unique. One of those tasked with following the President is NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea.

After beginning his career based in Detroit, Gonyea came to Washington to cover the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Gonyea came to Jackson this week to talk about covering this administration. He told Bob Beck that President Trump’s behavior is not all that surprising. 

Bob Beck

 

One of the major problems in Wyoming is the lack of affordable health care. It’s an old issue and while health insurance is certainly a piece, there are few affordable places people can go who are without insurance or who are underinsured with high deductibles. For many years Laramie has had a clinic for very low-income people, it now has another health clinic for those who have fallen through the cracks.

U.S. Forest Service

Firefighters say they have gained 18 percent containment on the Keystone Fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest. Public Information Officer Ben Brack said the cool weather has helped firefighters gain ground.

U.S. Forest Service

A forest fire continues to burn in the Medicine Bow National Forest and forest officials say they expect it to grow. The fire is burning in a dense forest that features beetle-killed trees. Medicine Bow National Forest spokesman Aaron Voos says that recent fires that have burned in similar areas have grown substantially.  

“From what we understand the fire activity is picking up. I think it’s mostly due to the hot dry weather, which is making the fuels receptive to the fire.”

By United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg: Architect of the Capitolderivative work: O.J. - United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17800708
University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming Vice President of Research and Economic Development Bill Gern is stepping down soon. Gern is credited with pushing to increase the amount of research dollars UW receives as well as working with outside groups to improve economic development in the state. He sat down with Bob Beck to discuss those efforts.

Jamy Cabre

For almost 20 years, the Wyoming-based punk rock band Teenage Bottlerocket has grown in popularity. Formed by Laramie natives Ray and Brandon Carlisle, and later joined by Kody Templeman and Miguel Chen, the band gained an international following. In fact, a group of Japanese musicians have recorded a tribute album to honor the band and one of their songs even appeared on an NBA broadcast this season. The band is set to release a new album and a couple of extra songs this month.

Steve Horan

A new book focused on the people who live and work in Yellowstone is out. Called People of Yellowstone by Steve Horan and Ruth W. Crocker, it features wonderful photography by Horan with prose by Crocker. Horan photographed 120 people who work in and around the park. It features 87 photographs and stories of people who have a number of jobs and roles. Horan says the idea was pitched to him by his brother and it took several years to complete.

Bob Beck

Several years ago Cheyenne residents Bob and Jill Jensen went looking for a service dog to assist Jill with her multiple sclerosis. Their search took them to Kansas City where they acquired their animal. The couple then wondered about developing a training facility for various types of service dogs in Cheyenne, which is unique in this region. The project that Bob and Jill Jensen developed is called K9s 4 Mobility.

Bob Beck

Wyoming is facing a budget deficit mostly due to revenue shortfalls from energy companies and a loss in sales tax revenue. Lawmakers are starting to realize that they may need to raise money through taxes or fee increases. But while education funding has the attention of lawmakers, local government—specifically cities and towns—fear that they are being left out of the revenue conversation, and without more money communities will struggle to provide services.

 

Wyoming State Parks

Many communities and hotels in Wyoming are preparing for a busy few days surrounding the August eclipse. State Parks Administrator Dominic Bravo says that it should be very busy in parks along the eclipse.

Snowpack Continues To Rise

May 23, 2017
Emmanuel Boutet

Wyoming’s snowpack has risen to the point where heavy flooding is more and more likely. 

State Hydrologist Lee Hackleman says snowpack has climbed from 115-percent of median to 176-percent.  Hackleman says the weather has him nervous.

"Well if it stays cool and rainy like this long enough, we know that when it warms up it’s gonna warm up fast and implications are that we will have some flooding then. We’d be better off if it was a little warmer now and we’d have a little better start on the melt out."

City of Laramie

The Laramie City Council has voted to restore the environmental health inspector position. Last year, the council voted to eliminate local funding for that role.  

Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan says the plan was to ask the state to fund the position. But councilor Vicki Henry convinced the council to make the inspector position halftime. Prior to the vote, Laramie Mayor Andi Summerville said that a loss of revenue has forced the city to consider dropping programs not required by law. But she noted that many in the community were concerned about the cut.

John Wilhelm

Listen to the full show here. 

UW Braces For Layoffs

At the May meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Laurie Nichols announced that 37 University of Wyoming staff members would lose their jobs to meet budget cuts. Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson, says folks are worried about how the state’s only public university is holding up.

Bob Beck

Earlier this month, those involved with arts organizations in the state were able to exhale after a proposal to zero out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Humanities, and similar organizations this year was averted. The proposal was part of President Trump’s budget.

At the University of Wyoming Art Museum, Susan Moldenhauer sits at a desk of neatly stacked brochures and contracts as she prepares for another year of exhibits. She is the Director and Chief Curator at the facility. 

Listen to the full show here. 

Wyoming Lawmakers Still Working On Trumpcare

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney helped her party pass a historic bill to unwind Obamacare this week, but its chances of passage in the Senate remain far from certain. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming U.S. Representative Liz Cheney was among those who voted to support the Republican overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. Cheney says the passage of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives will help Wyomingites purchase affordable care.  

Courtesy Wyoming Department of Health

  

Wyoming’s cases of sexually transmitted diseases have been increasing in recent years and a recent update shows that, despite efforts of health care providers, it’s still a concern. Courtney Smith is the Communicable Disease Program Manager for the Wyoming Department of Health. She tells Bob Beck that they have one key area of concern. 

 

Listen to the full show here. 

School Funding Is A Tricky Political Equation

Earlier this month, legislators met to take another look at the school funding model and possibly change it. That’s called recalibration. But changing school funding is a tricky business because politics is a big variable in the spending equation. 

After a year of turmoil, the Wyoming Democratic Party has elected a new chairman. Former State Representative Joe Barbuto will replace Ana Cupril.  

During the 2016 Presidential election, the party became divided after Hillary Clinton was awarded the state primary despite Bernie Sanders winning the popular vote during last year’s party caucuses. 

Barbuto says the party needs to move forward and many newcomers give him hope.

Craig Blumenshine

  

It’s been a little over a month since the Wyoming legislative session ended and today Governor Matt Mead joins us to reflect on the session among other things. Many left the legislative session with bad feelings, but Mead tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck he was pleased with what lawmakers did for economic development. Among other things, the legislature supported his ENDOW plan for diversifying the economy. 

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