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.

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News
12:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

WY Senate to consider new math requirements for schools

An effort to require all students to take four years of math will be considered by the State Senate.  The Senate Education Committee recommended passage of the measure sponsored by Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss. He says too many students who go on to attend college either struggle or have to take remedial classes.  The bill will require students to pass four years of math-based classes in order to graduate.

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News
12:44 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Sen. Health and Labor Committee approves Medicaid reform

After several days of discussion, the Senate Health and Labor Committee approved a bill that is intended to reform Medicaid in Wyoming.  Medicaid is an expensive program for the state to run and lawmakers have been looking at how to reduce costs, but not take away services.  One significant change would be how the state handles those with developmental disabilities and brain injuries.  The state spends $120 million a year on those services. Cheyenne Senator Leslie Nutting says they would reduce costs without eliminating services by trying to focus coverage on services that people actually n

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News
6:43 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WY Senate debates bill to help state's ailing Juvenile Justice System

For years, Wyoming’s Juvenile Justice system has received low grades from national groups.  Part of the problem is that the state locks up many juvenile offenders, but local groups say that prevention and intervention services aren’t available in all communities in the state.  A bill being debated in the state senate is intended to change that. 

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News
6:24 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WY House of Reps. considers bill to raise retirement age for Supreme Court Justices

Another effort to change Wyoming’s mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices and State Court Judges has gained initial support from the state House of Representatives.  The current retirement age is 70 and a number of groups have called for that mandatory age to be raised because they say that too many good judges are being forced into retirement.  The most recent was Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden.  But in the past, the House and Senate could not reach a consensus on what the retirement age should be.  Sponsor, Cheyenne Republican Dan Zwonitzer, says he is taking a differen

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News
12:32 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate continues to debate overhauling the State Superintendent's office

The State Senate continues working on a bill that would change the way education is governed in Wyoming. 

The bill would lead to the appointment of a State Education Director, who would oversee such things as education accountability and school funding.

But Senator Curt Meier amended the legislation, restoring a number of duties to the State Superintendent’s office.  Under the amendment, the Superintendent would remain a voting member on the State Board of Education. 

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Open Spaces
4:51 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

January 11th, 2013

Rep. Lummis appointed to US House Subcommittee on Energy
Wyoming’s Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has been appointed to chair the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Subcommittee on Energy. The subcommittee will oversee energy research, development and demonstration projects. Lummis spoke with Rebecca Martinez from the Capitol press room in Cheyenne this week.

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Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

In Wyoming, lobbying is not about money

Credit Irina Zhorov

Thanks to the occasional national scandal those who lobby government officials don’t always have the best reputation.  A lobbyist is someone who tries to persuade legislators to support measures that benefit his or her employer or special interest.  But while big money and gifts make a big difference on Capitol Hill, those involved in the legislative process say that in Wyoming…it’s more about trust and relationships.   Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports…

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News
11:33 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Mead calls for studying healthcare during State of the State address

Governor Matt Mead is urging legislators not to dismiss health care issues, but to study them and craft a Wyoming response to the Affordable Care Act.  During his state of the state message today, Mead asked legislators to study both the health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion. 

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News
8:10 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Wildlife Federation urges outdoor play resolutions

It isn’t easy to get your kids to play outdoors, but the National Wildlife Federation is encouraging families to make that a New Year’s resolution.  The “Be Out There” campaign offers tips and advice to parents who pledge to help get their kids to play outdoors every week. 

Campaign manager Lindsay Legendre says their survey found that 94 percent of parents say kids aren’t getting enough time outside. The barriers include things such as weather, concerns about safety, and the lure of technology. Legendre says their website offers some solutions.

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News
7:55 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Legislators say increased budget over last decade was justified

Credit Irina Zhorov

As the legislature considers cutting budgets next month, some members are taking issue with comments that the state has doubled its budget over the last ten years.  Incoming House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says the state spent money on things ranging from the Hathaway Scholarship to improving neglected infrastructure across the state.  Harshman says some of that spending also went into funds that should help the state in future years.

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Medicaid
6:27 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Health and Labor Committee discusses Medicaid expansion options

During a hearing in Cheyenne, the Legislature’s Joint Labor and Health Committee was told that if Medicaid is expanded, the state could provide better insurance to about 30 percent of Wyoming residents. 


Because the federal government will subsidize the expansion, Department of Health Director Tom Forslund said that the state will save $50 million by no longer having to pay for some services it provides. 

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Healthcare
4:58 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Committee proposed to oversee Federal Health Insurance Exchange for Wyoming

Sen. Bill Landen of Casper

After failing to meet federal deadlines to develop a Wyoming based Health Insurance exchange, the legislature’s Joint Health committee has developed a committee to oversee a federal version of the exchange. 


A health insurance exchange is a marketplace where people can compare policies and purchase health insurance.  Since Wyoming did not indicate a willingness to develop an exchange, the federal government will develop one for state citizens by 2014. 


Casper Senator Bill Landen says they want to work with federal officials.

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Medicaid
6:59 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Appropriations Committee considers merits, drawbacks, uncertainties of Medicaid expansion

Members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee are worried that if they don’t decide to expand Medicaid services in the Wyoming, that there could be negative repercussions for the state and citizens. 


The committee has asked the Wyoming Department of Health to further study all sides of a possible expansion.   Committee members were told that an expansion would likely save the state several million dollars. 

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Education
6:52 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

State Department of Education loses power, seat on board after missing deadlines

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill addresses the Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A legislative committee has voted to take responsibilities away from the State Department of Education and give them to the State Board of Education. 

After the department missed deadlines for developing a model that would measure education performance in the state, the Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability voted to give the State Board of Education charge of the model.  State Superintendent Cindy Hill was also stripped of her membership on the state board. 

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News
8:43 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Gov. Mead supports Wind Energy Tax Credit extension

Although Wyoming’s Congressional delegation favors phasing out the Wind Energy Tax Credit this month, Governor Matt Mead would like to see it continue. 

The governor says he supports the Western Governors Association’s stance that the tax credit should be extended, but eventually phased out.

“I am one that I think there is opportunity in wind production, it is a renewable.  But it is not without its own problems.  And trying to get wind farms put up and the transmission necessary to get out the electrons is not without its economic and environmental challenges.”

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Federal Funding
6:48 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Sen. Hastert will draft a Medicaid expansion bill

Governor Matt Mead has said that he opposes expanding Medicaid services in the state, but a State Senator disagrees. 

Democrat John Hastert of Green River says he is drafting legislation to expand services, which would allow more residents to participate in the program. 

“Wyoming will save money by participating in that, so I am in favor of doing that.  Simply because I believe it will be savings to the state and a benefit to the citizens of Wyoming.”

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Budget
5:19 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Wyoming’s Joint Appropriations Committee discusses the governor’s budget proposal

Governor Matt Mead’s proposed budget was met with mostly positive reaction from members of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.  
 

Mead presented his budget to the committee Monday and said that he wants to eliminate a number of vacant positions and cut more than $60 million from existing budgets. 
 

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News
10:33 am
Mon December 10, 2012

A Legislative Committee will re-visit the topic of Health Insurance Exchanges

The Legislature’s Joint Health and Labor Committee will once again take up the issue of Health Insurance Exchanges this week.   An exchange is an on-line marketplace where consumers can purchase health insurance. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have to either set up their own exchanges or the federal government will set one up for them.  Senator Dan Dockstader is among those preparing exchange legislation for the state, but he says Wyoming needs a partner if the state is to be part of a non-federal marketplace.

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Open Spaces
5:02 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

December 7th, 2012

Credit Willow Belden

Converse County oil boom draws concerns from residents
In October, we reported that Chesapeake Energy had drilled a series of oil wells near Douglas, very close to people’s houses. Chesapeake says the area will likely continue to be a core drilling region. That has some area residents uneasy. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Taxes, budget
3:01 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Joint Revenue Committee supports raising state gas tax

The Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee has recommended approval of a bill that would raise the state gas tax by $.10. If approved by the full legislature, the gas tax would be raised to 24 cents a gallon and Wyoming Department of Transportation officials say the majority of that money would be used to improve the state’s roads. 


A number of groups from the Wyoming Taxpayers Association to the Wyoming Mining Association say that they support the increase.  Steve Perkins of Perkins Oil in Rawlins doubts most consumers will feel an impact.

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Open Spaces
6:46 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

State Superintendent Cindy Hill Interview

Cindy Hill Superintendent

State Superintendent Cindy Hill Interview

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Open Spaces
6:02 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

November 30th, 2012

Slot Machine Word

Gambling addiction in Fremont County could be on rise, but not on radar

There have been rumors that Fremont County is experiencing a rise in gambling addiction amongst its residents. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that whether the rumors are true or not is still unclear, but some services are popping up to address it regardless.

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News
5:10 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Gov. Mead supports gas tax, equivocates on Medicaid expansion

Gov. Matt Mead

Governor Matt Mead hosted a press conference regarded his proposed state budget, and discussed two hot-button issues: a gas tax and Medicaid expansion.


Mead called on legislators to approve a ten-cent increase in the state gas tax.  The tax would raise 71 million dollars of long term stable funding for roads.  The governor says the state has not increased the tax in 14 years and the need is great.

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Prevention Management Org.’s Rich Lindsey talks about alcohol, tobacco, and suicide in WY

WYSAC

Issues that include alcohol, tobacco and suicide are serious problems in Wyoming.  In recent months Community prevention specialists in each county in the state have been compiling a needs assessment developed by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center, or WYSAC.  The specialists are trying to identify the extent of the problem in each of the three topic areas and the next step is to try and find some solutions.  Rich Lindsey, who represents the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming says they picked those topic areas for a reason.

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Open Spaces
4:12 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Black Dog Animal Rescue saves lives

Bob Beck

Wyoming Animal Shelters are overcrowded and that means many pets get killed every year.  But some organizations are taking an aggressive approach in trying to get more animals adopted and have fewer animals put to death.  One of those is the Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne.  The program involves a number of volunteers and a strong on-line and social media effort.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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News
3:57 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Mead prepares to submit budget to lawmakers

This week Governor Matt Mead is submitting his proposed budget to Wyoming legislators.  The budget will include some spending priorities, but will also feature a wide range of budget cuts, some as high as eight percent.  K-12 education has been viewed by lawmakers as untouchable due to the fact that the state lost an expensive lawsuit over school funding.  But Mead believes some adjustments can be made in the amount of spending that goes into new schools.

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News
7:55 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Comment period closes Monday for Shoshone's first plan in 25 years

The deadline for public comments for the proposed Shoshone National Forest plan is Monday.  It’s the first plan for the forest in 25 years. 

The plan has generated a lot of interest from multiple-use groups who want to expand areas of access.  The Sierra Club’s Connie Wilbert believes the plan could allow more motorized use, and that concerns her.

"The problem is that the illegal, unauthorized trails that go off of the legal trails are an enormous problem on the forest right now,” Wilbert said. “They’re getting worse every year."

Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

November 16th, 2012

Health Department director proposed new Medicaid Idea 
One of the costs that continues to grow in Wyoming’s budget is the cost of Medicaid.  Lawmakers were so distressed that they ordered the Department of Health to look for ways to control those costs. Department of Health Director Tom Forslund has proposed a plan to address the issue.  But first he explains why those costs have gone up.

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Health Department director proposed new Medicaid Idea

One of the costs that continues to grow in Wyoming’s budget is the cost of Medicaid.  Lawmakers were so distressed that they ordered the Department of Health to look for ways to control those costs. Department of Health Director Tom Forslund has proposed a plan to address the issue.  But first he explains why those costs have gone up.

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