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

 

The Equality State Policy Center has launched a new effort called The People’s Review. It’s intended to let the public know how their legislators voted on key legislation supported by social justice, conservation, and labor groups in Wyoming. The Director of the ESPC is Phoebe Stoner. She tells Bob Beck that the effort is focused on increasing transparency.

 

Bob Beck

Earlier this month Callie Mae Bishop was crowned Miss Wyoming USA. The Casper native had sought the title for a number of years.

In real life, Bishop is a yoga instructor, rock climber, and serves beer, in other words the perfect Miss Wyoming. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that the victory is a dream come true. 

Courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new study shows that more Wyoming teens are overweight. The National Survey of Children’s Health says that Wyoming young people have the 14th lowest obesity rate in the nation, but the obesity rate is still higher than it was ten years ago. 

The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Trust for America’s Health. 

Report spokesman Albert Lang said Wyoming children between the ages of ten and 17 have an obesity rate at 27.1 percent, an increase from over a decade ago. Lang added that they see a similar trend with other Wyomingites.      

Bob Beck

Cities and towns are terrified about their financial future especially when it comes to having a stable source of revenue. Years ago legislators removed direct funding to local governments, preferring instead to fund them on a bi-annual basis from the state general fund. But Lawmakers have been engaged in budget cuts and communities in particular fear they will lose their general fund money. One solution is to have the ability to raise their own revenue.

Scott Ratliff

This month the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame will introduce a new class on September 23. The Hall of Fame honors Cowboys who have spent of a lifetime working in the profession. Hall of Fame President Scott Ratliff joins Bob Beck to explain what the Hall of Fame is all about.

More information on the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame can be found at wyomingcowboyhalloffame.com

 

Bob Beck

  

On Tuesday, City Council members and others will converge on the legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee to suggest ways that communities could raise more money for themselves.

Lawmakers are worried about maintaining local government funding due to the downturn in the energy economy and because of education funding needs. Wyoming Association of Municipalities Director Rick Kaysen joins us to say that if local governments could raise more money internally, it could address budget uncertainty. 

Wyoming Legislature

Early this summer lawmakers were looking at a massive shortfall in education funding and overall revenue. That pushed lawmakers into a lengthy discussion about possible tax hikes. The idea was to hold a number of hearings over the summer on a variety of proposals and then pass bills that would raise $100 million, $200 million and $300 million. But a funny thing happened on the way to passing tax legislation the state’s revenue picture improved.

treasurer.state.wy.us

One reason some lawmakers have backed off on their support of tax increases is that Wyoming is making a lot of money from investments.

Unrealized gains sit around $900 million and even the energy industry has had a slight uptick.

State Treasurer Mark Gordon says that it’s true, things are good. But he also tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that lawmakers should be careful about using investment money versus a more stable source of revenue. 

University of Wyoming

  

With the start of school comes the start of a number of cultural programs at the University of Wyoming. Janelle Fletcher is the Director of UW Presents. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that they have tried to put together a diverse set of programs. 

Courtesy of the National Museum of Wildlife Art

The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson is celebrating 30 years this weekend. The museum first opened in 1987 and has grown into an important tourist attraction. One of the founding board members was Maggie Scarlett. She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it’s been fun to watch the museum grow. 

For more information on the museum go to www.wildlifeart.org

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.

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