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

Leland Christensen

 

State Senator Leland Christensen is among the Republican candidates hoping to replace Congressman Cynthia Lummis in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lummis announced late last year that she would not seek re-election and it led to a surge of interest in her seat. Christensen has an extensive political background as both a Teton County Commissioner and a State Senator.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

The legislature’s joint revenue committee wrapped up two days of discussions on possible tax increases to deal with Wyoming’s declining revenue picture. 

The committee looked at everything from increasing property taxes to pay for an education shortfall to letting communities add a sales tax on food. But at the end of the two days, the committee only agreed to draft two bills, both dealing with increasing the wind tax.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A Wyoming legislative committee is looking into ways to help cities, towns, and counties raise more money, but a localized food tax failed to gain support Thursday.

State Senator Ogden Driskill of Devils Tower said the state will likely not be able to keep providing money for local government at the rate it has in the past. Lawmakers approved 105 million dollars for local entities for the next two years, a decrease of 78 million from the previous two years. 

UW Told To Cut $35 Million

May 11, 2016
University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming will have to make massive budget cuts over the next two years. Governor Matt Mead delivered the bad news to the UW trustees Wednesday afternoon.

“The University of Wyoming as it is the second largest user of general fund dollars we are asking for a bit above eight percent…the number is 35 million dollars.”

The cut is on top of six million that UW received in March. University officials say the cuts will involve both programs and personnel. UW Deans are in the process of recommending reductions.

A Wyoming man has won a two-year battle with the Environmental Protection Agency over a stock pond he constructed on his property.  

Andy Johnson of Fort Bridger was told by the EPA that he violated the clean water act by developing the pond, without the necessary federal permits. The pond was created from a creek. 

Wyoming’s Democratic Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives says the Affordable Care Act has helped many citizens in the state, but he adds that it can be improved.  

Rock Springs resident Ryan Greene says there are a number of reforms that could help, but Congress has to stop trying to kill the ACA and instead look to fix it. He says there are problems with the current system.

“We pay twice as much for name brand prescription’s as any other nation on earth. Why? And then I can get my car insurance from Chicago, but I have to get my health insurance from Wyoming.”

Tim Stubson

 

State Representative Tim Stubson is the third-ranking member of the Wyoming House of Representatives and a member of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee. His next move is to try and replace U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis and become Wyoming’s next Congressman. Stubson is also a Casper attorney. He joins Bob Beck to discuss a couple of key issues starting with the declining coal market.

 Learn more about Stubson and his issues.

 

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says that nearly one in ten Wyoming children has a parent or guardian who has spent time in prison or jail.  

The report says incarceration can have a negative impact on families and kids. The Wyoming Community Foundation’s Micah Richardson said Wyoming is above the national average when it comes to having a parent in prison.  One reason may be the state’s efforts to be tough on crime. 

Listen to the full show here. 

Energy Bill Could Help Wyoming

The U.S. Senate put its partisan tendencies aside this week and passed a sweeping bill aimed at modernizing the U.S. energy sector. Matt Laslo reports from Washington the bill includes provisions that could help the state’s ailing energy industry.

Liz Cheney

  

Republican Liz Cheney is one of ten announced candidates for the soon to be open U.S. House seat. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney who also was Wyoming’s congressman. Ms. Cheney has been an attorney, she’s worked in the U.S. State Department where she worked on U.S. policy in the Middle East. She also was a Fox news contributor and co-authored a book with her father. Today she talks to Bob Beck about energy issues, specifically coal. 

ecowatch.com

The largest coal producer in Wyoming declared bankruptcy this week. Companies like Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources have done so as well over the past year, but this filing is particularly symbolic of the industry’s struggles, because of the company’s size. Peabody Energy is the largest privately-owned coal company in the world. Our Inside Energy reporter Leigh Paterson joins Bob Beck. 

Marion Orr

Many homes or apartments in Wyoming are contaminated by methamphetamine and if you move into one of those places, you may not know it. It can lead to health problems and be expensive to clean up. Wyoming is one of the few states that does not require disclosure of a meth-contaminated home.

Sheridan realtor Dan Casey remembers when he first got caught. Casey had a client who had bought a home during a foreclosure sale and after his client fixed the place up he tried to re-sell it. Casey said they were close to a deal when a neighbor stopped by. 

Wikimedia Commons

The Panama Papers data leak revealed that millionaires and others may be hiding assets in shell companies around the world. Wyoming’s secretary of state says 24 of the businesses mentioned in the Papers are registered there. Bob Beck reports on how the state’s tax laws make it a tax haven.

Erik Larson

So-called Historical Mystery Writer Erik Larson is coming to the University of Wyoming this month. UW libraries will host Larson April 20th at 1:30 p.m. in the College of Education auditorium and that evening, UW libraries will host a dinner with Larson.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told supporters that he has a path to the White House and that will continue with a victory at the Wyoming Democratic caucus this weekend. 

Speaking at the University of Wyoming, Sanders encouraged his supporters to get the vote out.

Democrats and progressives win when there is a large voter turnout, Republicans win when people are demoralized, this campaign is giving energy and enthusiasm to millions of Americans.”

With some 465 Powder River Basin coal mine workers laid off it’s been busy at the Gillette Workforce Services Center.

Gillette Workforce Services Manager Ramona Peterson says it was probably the busiest day she’s ever seen. A steady stream of displaced coal workers have stopped in to figure out their next step. For some, it's help with updating their resume, for others it's explaining what their options are. Peterson admits that there aren’t a lot of jobs at the moment.

A national magazine has given Wyoming’s Board of Medicine low marks for failing to provide easy access to the disciplinary records of doctors in the state. 

Wyoming scored 27 out of a possible 100 points, placing the State Board of Medicine 6th from the bottom. California received the highest score with an 84. Wyoming Board of Medicine Director Kevin Bohenblust said his office has worked hard to make its website more user friendly and provide important information for residents. 

Wikipedia Creative Commons, by Greg Younger

A heavy snowstorm that will bring several inches of snow to western, northern and central Wyoming is heading into the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Hattings in Riverton is keeping an eye on the storm.

“It looks like the main trouble spot is mostly going to be in the central portion of the state. The most snow will be from Lander-Riverton and running through Casper and Douglas. And also, obviously, in some of the higher elevations from the Wind River range over to Casper Mountain.”

Bob Beck

Due to declining revenues and cuts mandated by legislature, the University of Wyoming is preparing for a minimum of $7 million dollars in budget cuts with the expectation that they could be greater than that.

During the UW Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, Vice President for Administration Bill Mai said the state revenue picture continues to decline. And he reported that while the University’s deans and others have been told to prepare for $7 million dollars in cuts, they should probably identify closer to $14 million.           

Bob Beck

Wyoming basketball coach Larry Shyatt said he is stepping down and assistant coach Allen Edwards has been hired to replace him.

Shyatt was emotional when he made his announcement but made it clear he thinks the team is in good hands. Shyatt said that in some ways he found himself out of vogue with college basketball and thought that after 43 years as a basketball coach that it was time to step aside.

Miles Bryan

  

Last year a couple of Wyoming judges ruled that state law does not have specific penalties for marijuana-laced edibles. Wyoming law enforcement officials say that ever since Colorado legalized marijuana they are seeing more of it than ever before and so lawmakers tried and failed to address the issue during the recent legislative session. The main problem was that lawmakers got hung up on how much edible marijuana constitutes a felony and the bill died.

Matthew Shepard Foundation

Family members and law enforcement in Gillette fear that the bullying of a gay man in Gillette may have led to a suicide. The issue has once again drawn concern about a variety of issues, including the treatment of LGBT people in the state and whether a hate crime is needed. Jason Marsden is the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and we caught up with him this week as he spoke in Gillette. 

Wikipedia Creative Commons

 

In an effort to strengthen Bighorn Sheep herds in the Seminoe-Ferris Mountains near Rawlins, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has relocated 24 sheep from Devils Canyon. Transplants from Oregon in 2009 and 2010 and from Devils Canyon near Lovell in 2010 helped establish the Seminoe-Ferris Herd, but blizzards and years of wildfires reduced the herd. Game and Fish Wildlife Biologist Gregg Hiatt joined Bob Beck to explain that the previous transplant has been a success, but they want to build on that.

WDGF

Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced that it was moving forward with a delisting of the Grizzly Bear. As part of that delisting Wyoming is to come up with a management plan that could include the hunting of Grizzly Bears.

The Game and Fish Commission will soon be holding hearings across the state to discuss that issue. Game and Fish Director Scott Talbott joined Bob Beck to discuss that option. 

Matthew Shepard Foundation

The apparent suicide of a 20-year-old Gillette man came after he was bullied for being gay. The family of Trevor O’Brien says his car was vandalized in December and police confirm that an anti-gay slur was painted on his car. 

The fact that these types of incidents continue to occur in Wyoming depresses Jason Marsden. He’s the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation—and  says it’s time for Wyoming to reconsider a hate crime law.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate continues to rise. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that due to a downturn in the energy sector, unemployment rose from 4.4 percent in December to 4.7 in January. 

State Senior Economist David Bullard said that unemployment saw a significant increase of almost a point from January of 2015. While energy rich areas have been impacted the most, Bullard said the downturn is impacting the entire state.

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