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

Photo Courtesy of Wyoming Supreme Court

This week the Wyoming Supreme Court unveiled its much anticipated Judicial Learning Center. It features a movie, interactive exhibits, including an area where visitors can be the judge in a case. Retired Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kite says the idea came from the Colorado legislature that developed a way for citizens to better understand the rule of law. After getting legislative and private money to develop the center even Kite is surprised with what they came up with. 

Craig Blumenshine / Wyoming PBS

Wyoming legislators were generally in agreement with Governor Matt Mead’s priorities following his annual State of the State message.  

Mead said  lawmakers need to resolve an education funding shortfall and figure out how to best use the state’s rainy day fund. Sheridan Senator Dave Kinskey said he agrees with that, but while the governor doesn’t want to see more budget cuts, Kinskey said he wants to try and reduce spending before they have to consider using savings or raising taxes.

Bob Beck

 

It’s been a rough year for state officials. A greater than expected revenue decline last spring forced lawmakers to cut $67 million out of existing budgets, and the governor was forced to follow-up with an additional $250 million. While revenues are starting to show some moderate improvement, lawmakers will soon be debating the wisdom of even more cuts, especially as a revenue shortfall for education looms.

ESPN

The Wyoming Cowboys football team preparing for its first bowl appearance in five years when it faces an old foe in Brigham Young in the Poinsettia Bowl. The two teams have not played each other since 2010 when BYU decided to leave the Mountain West Conference. Over the years BYU has dominated the rivalry and if the Cowboys win it will be the first victory over the Cougars since 2003. 

Stuart and Jen Robertson - Flickr: State Penitentiery, Rawlins Wyoming

Members of a task force that reviewed a wide range of structural problems at the Wyoming maximum security prison in Rawlins stressed that they believe using up to $125 million to fix the facility will work.

Associated Press

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has reportedly been named to lead the Department of Energy under President Elect Donald Trump.  

Opponents express concern that Perry is a climate denier and has ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. But supporters say Texas enhanced its energy portfolio by becoming the nation’s largest wind producer.

Petroleum Association of Wyoming President Bruce Hinchey says Perry will likely be a plus for states like Wyoming.

Rebecca Huntington / Wyoming Public Radio

The State of Wyoming has reached agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior over the sale of a 640 acre parcel of Wyoming school trust land located inside of Grand Teton National Park.

Aaron Schrank

Listen to the full show here. 

Teachers Help Students Cope with Uneasy Election

Emotions are running high following the 2016 presidential election. Educators in Jackson are helping their large number of Mexican students cope with emotions they may be encountering at home. Rebecca Huntington has more.

 

Women Run The West

Over the last year, Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard and Jennifer Pemberton, formerly of Utah Public Radio and currently working for KTOO in Juneau, Alaska, have tracked the political representation of women in western states in the collaboration Women Run The West.

Bob Beck

 

After several months of budget cuts, it was a surprise to some that the governor did not propose any more reductions in his supplemental budget. He will present that budget to the legislature’s joint appropriations committee on Monday. Prior to that meeting the governor agreed to join Bob Beck to discuss his budget strategy.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Cowboys will play for their first conference title in 23 years Saturday when the Pokes host San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Championship football game. Wyoming beat San Diego State two weeks ago 34 to 33. Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl said he expects another battle.

December 2nd, 2016

Dec 2, 2016

Listen to the full story here. 

GOP Politicians Won't Keep The Sage Grouse From Listing

Wyoming Republicans were dealt a setback in their efforts to keep sage grouse off the federal endangered species list. Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington. 

 

Bob Beck

  

Over the last several years a number of right leaning activist groups have gotten themselves heavily involved in Republican politics in the state. WyWatch was a group that pushed anti-abortion and family value legislation and Wyoming Gun Owners pushed for expanded gun rights. But the group with perhaps the biggest impact is the Wyoming Liberty Group.  

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says the state’s biggest future budget concern is K-12 education funding. During a news conference discussing his current budget request, the governor said school funding could face a shortfall of over $600 million in the next budget cycle.  

To address the issue the governor is once again pushing to create a task force that would focus on school funding issues. He said the task force needs to include parents and educators.              

Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead unveiled a mostly flat supplemental budget that features no new budget cuts.

The governor is proposing limited spending, using only a small portion of the legislature’s rainy day fund for things like Title 25 that addresses those with mental health issues, and a contingency fund for corrections. He put forth bonding as a way to fix problems with the prison in Rawlins.  

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Education committee is drafting two pieces of legislation that could significantly reduce the amount of money that school districts get through the school funding model.  

One would raise the class sizes in the funding model, which would lead to the reduction of millions of dollars that currently flow to school districts. Sweetwater County School District two is based in Green River. 

Shelley Simonton

With the economic downturn, sales tax income has plummeted and local government finds itself in a world of financial hurt. Hiring freezes, layoffs, decisions not to move forward with road repairs, and the reduction of other services have either been approved or contemplated across the state.

Recently the Wyoming Association of Municipalities, or WAM, urged the legislature’s revenue committee to consider ways to allow communities to generate more revenue. Bob Beck asked WAM Executive Director Shelley Simonton how dire the situation is.

Wikimedia Commons

University of Wyoming Political Scientist Jim King joins us to talk more about the Trump Presidency.

There’s lot of speculation about how Trump will operate now that he’s president-elect. King joins Bob Beck to discuss that and what some Wyoming residents said before the election.

Brett Neilson

Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard interviews News Director Bob Beck about what the outcomes of several key races mean for Wyoming.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The daughter of a former Vice President is Wyoming’s new Congressman. Liz Cheney easily defeated Ryan Greene to win the same seat that was once held by her father Dick. 

Cheney had been accused of being a carpet bagger after moving to the state to run for federal office. But her strong views about abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency and against a number of Obama administration policies gained her support. Cheney says it was a message many wanted to hear.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission recently acquired a key area in the upper Green River Valley. It will remove a bottleneck that could have harmed mule deer migration.  

It was donated by the Conservation Fund who worked with others to purchase the property. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with Mark Elsbree, the senior vice president for the western region with the conservation fund, about why this is so important.

State of Wyoming

A study from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services shows that while workplace fatalities have decreased overall, there has not been a significant trend in workplace deaths for almost 25 years.   

State Occupational Epidemiologist Meredith Towle said in 2014 nine oil and gas workers died on the job, while four died in 2015. She suspects that there is a simple reason for that decrease.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A new forecast shows that Wyoming revenues continue to fall. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, or CREG, says the State of Wyoming will be $150 million dollars short in the current two year budget.  

The state is facing unprecedented declines in the coal market, and oil and gas prices are half what they were two years ago. CREG says the shortfall would have been worse if the governor had not cut $250 million from the state budget this summer. But during a Monday news conference, Governor Matt Mead said he doesn’t want to make any more cuts. 

Pete Souza - Official White House Photo

Listen to the full show here.

Wyoming Lawmakers Worry About Last Minute Obama Regulations

With President Obama heading out of office soon Wyoming lawmakers fear he’s preparing a slew of executive orders that could hurt the economy out west. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.   

 

treasurer.state.wy.us

Wyoming voters will be asked to support a Constitutional Amendment this November that will change the way the state treasurer can manage Wyoming’s rainy day accounts and endowments.

Called Constitutional Amendment A, it will allow the state treasurer to invest that money in the equities market and the expectation is that it will help grow those funds.

Lawrence Struempf

Larry Struempf is hoping to shock the world. The Laramie Libertarian is hoping to win the nod to become Wyoming’s next congressman. Struempf is a Wyoming native who has worked in the field of computer information systems for many years. He is running on a platform of less government and more civil liberties.  He joins us to discuss some of the issues.

Bob Beck

 

 

The campaign season is heading into its last few weeks, and one of the bigger races in this state is the battle for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House Seat. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck has been keeping tabs on that race and was a panelist for Thursday night’s debate.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard asked him five questions about that race. 

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