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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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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News
4:53 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Mead says budget cuts will help cover costs of emergencies

One reason why the Governor is going ahead with budget cuts is because he wants to make sure the state has enough money to pay for emergencies. 

For example, the state will likely spend 50-million dollars to pay for 2012 forest fires.  

Governor Matt Mead said that weather forecast show that there is a good chance that the state will face a similar fire season next year.

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News
4:30 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

UW's Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department draws influx of students

The University of Wyoming says due to the high demand for Petroleum Engineers, there has been a huge increase of students in UW’s Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department. 

Department Head David Bagley notes that UW reinstated the program after it was dropped in 1996.  But due to an increase in energy production, the demand for engineers has skyrocketed.  He says that’s why enrollment increased 55-percent from last year.

News
4:20 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Mead still considering Medicaid expansion

With the re-election of President Obama, Governor Matt Mead said it is finally clear that the Affordable Care Act  will be the law of the land, and the state will need to be prepared by 2014. 

Mead plans to have a recommendation to the legislature on whether to expand Medicaid and how to go about it.   During a news conference, the governor indicated that the state could realize some savings if went ahead with an expansion.

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Elections
4:17 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Park County voters nix sales tax

The Mayor of Cody says residents in her community can expect to see budget cuts and a reduction of services following the failure of a one-percent sales tax which was intended to address infrastructure needs of Park County. 

Mayor Nancy Tia Brown says her community will see some changes: “It was a time for the Cody voters or the county voters to let us know if they wanted to continue things as they were or make adjustments.  And we are going to have to make some adjustments.”

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

November 2nd, 2012

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap
On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap

On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate.

Watch the Debates Online Here

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Elections
6:17 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Chesnut speaks out against "War on Drugs"

A Democrat US Senate candidate says the nation needs to stop its war on drugs.  

Tim Chesnut says the country spends too much money on the effort and should instead try to see the benefits of legalizing some drugs like Marijuana.  Chesnut says such a legalization effort could raise revenue.

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Elections
6:13 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

US Senate candidates talk Medicare

Two candidates for US Senate agree that something needs to be done to assure the affordability of Medicare long-term. 

Democrat Tim Chesnut suggests raising the caps on Medicare.  He says those who make more than 250-thousand dollars need to pay more into the system. 

Republican Senator John Barrasso favors revamping Medicare for those under the age of 55.

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

October 26th, 2012

Gov. Mead reflects on GREG report, promises cuts
The Consensus Revenue estimating group came out with projections that lawmakers will have about 85 million more dollars to spend this session.  The CREG report is main tool government officials use to forecast how much money the state will have.  Governor Matt Mead joins Bob Beck to discuss the report and the impact it has on his budget as he prepares to present it in December.

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Open Spaces
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Tim Chesnut is challenging incumbent Sen. Barrasso in US Congressional race

Longtime Albany County Commissioner Tim Chesnut is running for his first federal office this year.  The 46 year old Laramie native is a Democratic candidate for the U-S Senate seat currently held by John Barrasso.  Chesnut says his years as a local government politician helps him better understand the needs of citizens.  He joins me to discuss some of the issues.

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Open Spaces
3:22 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Incumbent Sen. Barrasso is running to keep his seat

We now turn our attention to a couple of political candidates. U-S Senator John Barrasso was originally appointed to the U-S Senate to fill the seat of the late Senator Craig Thomas.  He then was elected to a four year term in 2008.  Senator Barrasso had previously served as a State Senator and was a Casper Orthopedic Surgeon for 24 years.  Barrasso tells Bob Beck that he has been campaigning across the state and says there has been one main topic on citizen’s minds…

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News
5:15 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

CREG projects $85 million increase in state revenue

Wyoming got some good news from the latest Consensus Revenue Estimating Group report, but it won’t be enough to stop budget cuts from occurring.   CREG reports that state revenue should increase by $85 million, mainly from projected Sales and Use tax revenue. 

But Governor Matt Mead says that will not be enough to keep him from suggesting eight-percent budget cuts to the legislature.  

CREG Co-Chairman Bill Mai says the group is cautious about a downturn in the coal industry, but they remain hopeful about other energy prices.

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Sports
5:11 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

UW football coach suspended and fined

Cowboys Head Coach Dave Christensen
University of Wyoming

Wyoming Football Coach Dave Christensen has been suspended and fined for comments he made to Air Force Football Coach Troy Calhoun following a recent loss. 

Christensen’s profanity laced tirade was caught on video and today, UW Athletics Director Tom Burman fined the Coach $50,000 and suspended him for the week, including this coming Saturday’s home game against Boise State. 

News
5:58 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Interest is high for state treasurer seat

A former State Representative, an attorney, a two-time candidate for State Auditor and a State Committeewoman have all expressed interest in filling the remaining term of State Treasurer Joe Meyer, who died earlier this month. 

Ed Prosser, Bruce Brown, Clark Stith and Janet Anderson have all told Wyoming Republican officials that they’re interested in the job.   GOP Chairman Tammy Hooper says it’s a good list.

“I think everyone that’s applied have a professional degree, have the education, have worked in campaigns or have run statewide races themselves,” Hooper said.

News
6:23 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Poll shows sportsman want public lands preserved

A new National Wildlife Federation Poll shows that protecting public lands and addressing climate change is big for those who hunt and fish.   Given a choice between protecting America’s public lands and prioritizing the production of oil, gas and coal, 49 percent want to protect public lands and just 35 percent choose fossil fuel production.   John Gale of the Wildlife Federation says maintaining and improving access to public lands also ranked high on the priority list.

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News
5:02 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Deal protects thousands of acres from drilling

Citizens for the Wyoming Range

After three years of work, a conservation group and a petroleum companyreached a deal that will prevent gas drilling in the Wyoming range. 

The Trust for Public Land announced in Jackson today that it plans to buy out nearly 58,000 acres of oil and gas leases from Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co.  The leases were for a pristine area of the Bridger-Teton National forest.

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Open Spaces
4:38 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

October 5, 2012

Wisconsin hunters set up camp above the Gros Ventre River, where they're pursuing deer but some Wyoming hunters are targeting wolves.
Jennifer Tennican

Wyoming's Wolf Hunt Begins

Nearly 3,000 hunters have purchased permits to target wolves in Wyoming's first regulated wolf hunt, which began on Monday. Conservation groups, meanwhile, are preparing to challenge Wyoming's approach in court. As of Thursday, hunters had reported killing six wolves since opening day. Rebecca Huntington has more.

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Incumbent US Rep. Cynthia Lummis talks about Medicare, AML funds

Cynthia Lummis

Rep. Cynthia Lummis is running for her third term in the US House of Representatives.  Lummis is a fiscal conservative who is a member of the appropriations committee.  She joins Bob Beck on the campaign trail.

Open Spaces
3:38 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Conversation with Democratic Congressional Challenger Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen

Democrat Chris Henrichsen is a political newcomer who teaches Political Science at Casper College.  He is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis to focus attention on working people and the middle class.  Henrichsen is hoping to be the first Wyoming democrat in Congress since  1978.  He is battling a lack of funding, against one of the wealthiest members of Congress.  But Henrichsen hopes he views will give him a chance.

Politics
5:52 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Rep. Lummis favors Medicare reform

Wyoming US Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says she supports a plan to completely reform Medicare.  Lummis was speaking during an interview that will air this week on Open Spaces.   The Republican says she is a supporter of Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare.   Lummis says it is wrong to call the effort a cut.  She argues that the main part of the reform that she likes is that the healthiest and wealthiest recipients of Medicare will pay more into the system.   Lummis says getting a handle on Medicare is critical if the federal budget is going to be balanced. “Medi

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Open Spaces
4:02 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Federal official discusses bark beetles and forest fires

Bark Beetles and forest fires continue to grab the attention of Wyomingites.  In fact many believe that climate change is behind both problems.  Butch Blazer is the Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment for the US Department of Agriculture.  We sat down with him as he visited with regional foresters in Cheyenne last week.  Blazer says Beetle kill remains a serious problem in the Rocky Mountain West

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

A new teacher assessment could help UW Education students improve

University of Wyoming College of Education students will now be part of a Comprehensive Teacher Performance Assessment that will determine the student teachers performance in a variety of skills.   UW was among the institutions that helped develop the assessment that is called edTPA.  Some states already require teachers to pass an assessment like this to get licensed, that is not the case in Wyoming.  But the College of Education will require the Assessment to help develop better teachers.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
3:46 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

A glimpse into the Cheyenne Concert Association’s upcoming season

The Cheyenne Concert Association started in 1935 as a way to bring a variety of music to community.  Funding for the association comes from the Wyoming Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts and other organizations.  Mary Cox with the Concert Association tells us that their new season begins October 16th at the Cheyenne School Administration building with the group New Odyssey.

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Open Spaces
3:36 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Former Rep. Jorgensen pushes for Medicaid expansion

As you may have heard, Governor Matt Mead is struggling with whether to recommend that the state expand Medicaid offerings.  It would provide federal insurance to more people in the state and supporters say it would save the state health care dollars in the long run.  But the Governor says it could cost the state millions of dollars in up-front costs.  Former State Representative Pete Jorgensen, a Democrat from Jackson, says the long term benefits of an expansion make it worth it.  Jorgensen was a long time member of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee and is pushing state hea

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News
6:15 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

UW's first spinoff business sold

A successful Laramie business that was started by a University of Wyoming doctoral student has been sold.  

25 years ago Mike Kmetz founded the plastic materials information company IDES, which is credited as being the first spinoff  business to come from the University of Wyoming.  Kmetz sold the business to the Illinois Company UL, a world leader in workplace safety.  

Kmetz says the company is recognized around the world.

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News
5:17 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Game and Fish urges hunters to be bear aware

It’s hunting season, and in northwest Wyoming it’s also the time of year when bears – especially grizzlies – are more active as they prepare for the winter.  Because of this, the Wyoming Game and Fish office in Cody is urging people to be cautious about bear encounters. 

Spokeswoman Tara Teaschner says people should hunt with a partner, and if they get a kill, they need to be especially alert.

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News
5:12 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Wyoming State Parks & Historic Sites Prepare for Budget Cuts

Like a lot of state agencies, Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites will likely need to find a way to make up revenues lost from proposed budget cuts.  Administrator Dominic Bravo says they are leery about raising fees, but are looking at some other options. "We’re going to try to figure out through partnerships, try to find alternative funding, of course corporate relationships, anything we can to make sure we are doing our best job to serve our customers and visitors.  Whatever we can to still meet our mission.   It’s not easy." Bravo says they’ve been able to generate more revenue for S

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