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
6:50 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

July 11th, 2014

Federal Highway Money Remains At Risk

The federal pot of money that’s supposed to keep local roads and bridges intact may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart from each other. It remains unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gulf. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how the Wyoming delegation is weighing in on the debate that’s sucking the air out of Washington this summer.

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Open Spaces
5:53 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Clark Stith Discusses His Run For Secretary Of State

Rock Springs Republican Clark Stith is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.  Stith practices business law and is on the Rock Springs City Council.  He is also the former chairman of the Sweetwater County Republican Party.  Stith tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that one thing he’d like to do is streamline the office.

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Open Spaces
5:09 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

A Casper Family Changes Careers To Make Alcohol

Backwards Distilling bottles.
Bob Beck

Many people have ideas for small businesses, but not many of them quit their day jobs to try something unique, especially when it’s something they know little about. But that’s exactly what the Pollock family of Casper did in starting Backwards Distilling Company

“My son’s an absinth drinker and absinth is hard to come by and he and she were talking… why don’t we just make some make some… and then we all looked at each other and we all stopped and went hmmm.”

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News
10:55 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Climb Wyoming Will End Sweetwater Co. Program

Credit Climb Wyoming

Climb Wyoming says it will discontinue its Sweetwater County program due to a decrease in public funding and other considerations.  The non-profit organization trains and places single mothers into career-track jobs. 

Climb Wyoming’s Shannon Brooks Hamby said that the Sweetwater County Operation will shut down on October first despite the fact that the program was very successful. 

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Elections
4:07 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Superintendent Candidate Favors Local Standards And Accountability

A member of State Superintendent Cindy Hill’s staff is hoping to replace her.  Sheryl Lane is one of three Republican’s running for the right to face Democrat Mike Ceballos in the November general election.  

Lane is a former classroom teacher and while she likes the fact that legislators are looking at improving school and teacher accountability, she does not like the way they are going about it.  She says they have developed state accountability measures, something she opposes.

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Open Spaces
6:15 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

June 27th, 2014

Wyoming Coal Versus The Courts

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on the EPA and its ability to regulate carbon is a mixed bag for Wyoming officials and energy producers. It sets the stakes even higher for Republicans in the state who are determined to derail a pending EPA rule on climate change.

Wyoming Does Not Officially Track Health Impacts From Energy

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Open Spaces
5:55 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Does Not Officially Track Health Impacts From Energy

As energy development increases across the country many states are starting to look into whether or not it would be a good idea to set up data bases to track possible health impacts directly attributed to energy development.  Colorado has developed an extensive system within its Department of Health to track and investigate health care impacts.  The State of Wyoming has not developed such a data base. Doctor Tracy Murphy is the state epidemiologist. He says the Department of Health rare fields calls of that nature.

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Open Spaces
5:39 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Still Has Long Term Care Issues

Tim Lockwood

Wyoming ranks 16th in the nation when it comes to meeting the long term health care needs of older residents.  The ranking comes from a comprehensive state by state scorecard developed by AARP, the Commonwealth fund, and SCAN foundation. 

In Wyoming unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Wyoming residents, in part because long term care is unaffordable for most middle income families.  AARP Wyoming’s Associate Director Tim Lockwood says things aren’t all that bad in the state, but they could be better.

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News
4:13 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Unemployment Up Slightly

The Wyoming unemployment rate rose slightly last month.   

The Department of Workforce Services says the rate was 3.8 % in May a point-one percent increase from April.  But the Department says that is due to young people leaving school and entering the workforce. 

The unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage point from May of last year where it stood at 4.6%. 

The lowest unemployment rate was in Converse County at 2.8%, the highest unemployment rate was in Teton County at 5.7%. 

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Rep. Lummis Says It Has Been An Interesting Week In The U.S. House

Representative Cynthia Lummis.
Credit Cynthia Lummis

If you think having candidates stopping by your home can get annoying, Wyoming U-S Representative Cynthia Lummis feels your pain. Following the primary election loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Lummis is being bombarded by those interested in that job and other leadership jobs that may come free after Cantor's replacement is chosen. Lummis told Bob Beck that the internal campaigning is something to watch.

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Social Service Providers Provide Care To A Growing Population Of Military Vets

Sheridan VA.
Credit Bob Beck

Returning from military service back into so called normal society continues to be a challenge for many veterans.  It doesn’t help if they have difficulty getting Veterans Administration Services.  In Wyoming, the two VA hospitals have been criticized for the amount of time veterans need to wait to get care.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that social service providers say they are trying to provide adequate services to a growing population of vets. 

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Open Spaces
6:15 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

June 6th, 2014

Democrats Try To Improve Their Legislative Numbers 

Wyoming Democrats have been in the legislative minority for a long time, but it’s been really tough lately.  Only eight of the 60 Wyoming Representatives are Democrats and only four reside in the Senate.  While the party has hopes of grabbing a few more seats this year, there are not enough candidates to make serious gains.  The problem started back in 1991.

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Open Spaces
6:05 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Democrats Try To Improve Their Legislative Numbers

Credit Bob Beck

Wyoming Democrats have been in the legislative minority for a long time, but it’s been really tough lately. Only eight of the 60 Wyoming Representatives are Democrats and only four reside in the Senate.  While the party has hopes of grabbing a few more seats this year, there are not enough candidates to make serious gains. The problem started back in 1991. 

Former State Representative Matilda Hansen fondly remembers her days as a Democratic Lawmaker. When she entered the House in 1975 she had a lot of friends in the room.

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Open Spaces
6:01 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

New Business Council CEO Is Optimistic

New CEO Shawn Reese.

Wyoming Business Council has hired Shawn Reese to take over as its CEO this month.  Reese replaces Bob Jensen who stepped down in March.  Reese worked for the business council for many years and recently has worked for Governor Matt Mead.  He tells Bob Beck that the state is making headway on diversifying the economy.

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Elections
4:17 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Hill Officially Runs For Governor

Credit Cindy Hill Superintendent

State Superintendent Cindy Hill says if she is elected governor she will push good government measures to make it easier for the public to get documents, she also plans to address conflicts of interest that she sees in government.   

Hill will run as a Republican.  She said that she got into the race because she said Governor Matt Mead exceeded his authority of governor when he signed the law that removed her as the head of the Department of Education. 

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Open Spaces
5:21 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Wyoming's Bike Friendly Rating Has Dropped

Credit Wyoming Pathways

Wyoming’s ranking as a bike friendly state continues to drop. The state ranks 36th after ranking 33rd last year and 11th in 2010.  The loss of stature has concerned that Director of Wyoming Pathways…Tim Young.  He’s been speaking with the Wyoming Department of Transportation about the issue.  He joins us to discuss the report.

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Open Spaces
4:35 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Superintendent Hill On Distance Learning And Graduation Rates

After some legal wrangling, State Superintendent Cindy Hill is back in charge of Wyoming Education.  As the school year wraps up, Superintendent Hill joins us to discuss a number of topics.  The first deals with distance…or online education.  She recently attended a graduation of students who graduated from a virtual school. Hill embraces various uses of technology in the classroom.

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News
7:07 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Former Navy Commander Joins Race For State Superintendent

Bill Winney
Credit Bill Winney

A former US Navy Submarine commander is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Republican Bill Winney says training and education were big parts of his job in the Navy, and that the Wyoming Department of Education is in need of the type of leadership he would bring to the job.

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News
6:35 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Study Shows Early Obesity Indicator Of Serious Obesity

Anna Zajacova

A new study has found people who are obese early in life have a higher chance of being severely obese when they're older.  University of Wyoming Associate Professor Anna Zajacova contributed to the study, which looked at the health risks of people who were overweight in their twenties.

“Early obesity matters," Zajacova says, "but primarily by increasing the chances of morbid obesity or class two or three obesity later in life.”

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Elections
11:05 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Gosar Says Mead Has Lacked Leadership

A Democratic candidate for governor says he is running because he says Governor Matt Mead hasn’t provided the leadership the state needs.  Pete Gosar says Mead has been playing politics with many of his decisions.

“Whether it be Medicaid expansion or climate change or what have you, the governor has just been paying attention to polls and not telling us what he thinks.”

As a member of the state board of education, Gosar says he was upset that Mead did not veto an amendment that kept the board from adopting some peer reviewed science standards for the state. 

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Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

May 16th, 2014

Wyo. Lawmakers Reject New Climate Change Report 

The White House is painting a dire picture for every region in the nation - including here at home - if action isn’t taken to combat climate change. But Matt Laslo reports from Washington that Wyoming’s Republican senators still aren’t buying it.

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Open Spaces
4:47 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

6th Annual Cheyenne Film Festival Is Set To Begin

Credit cheyenneinternationalfilmfestival.com

The 6th annual Cheyenne International Film Festival kicks off Tuesday.  Alan O’Hashi runs the event and he joins us to tell us what is in store.

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Open Spaces
4:29 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

U-W Track Athlete Has High Hopes

UW Shot Putter and Discus thrower Mason Finley.
Credit Bob Beck

The Mountain West Conference Track and Field Championships are taking place in Laramie this weekend. Shot Putter and Discus thrower Mason Finley is certainly a headliner. While Finley wants to do well this weekend…he also has his eyes on some upcoming meets. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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News
5:58 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Wyoming Looks To Congress For Highway Funding

The Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation is hopeful that a bipartisan attempt in the US Senate to pass a transportation bill will be successful.

Congress has not been able to agree on similar legislation in recent years, but Thursday a Senate committee approved a measure that ensures Wyoming’s share of the distribution will pay for repairs to hundreds of miles of highways across the state.  Without a highway bill, Wyoming Department of Transportation Director John Cox says things get put off.

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News
6:26 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Wyoming Hosts Track And Field Championships

The University of Wyoming is hosting the Mountain West Conference Track and Field Championships this week.  Head Coach Bryan Berryhill says the home meet is special for the Cowboys and Cowgirls and that both squads have high expectations. Sprinter and school record holder Kereston Thomas says she and her teammates are excited.

“Especially since this meet is here on our track I know that we will come out here with a lot of fire and a lot of excitement," Thomas says. "I know that our team is going to put on a show and I hope we will place in the top three for both our teams.”

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Natural Resources & Energy
9:31 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Wyoming Looks To Be An LNG Leader

A report says that Wyoming is well positioned to be a leader in the liquefied natural gas industry or LNG for what are called high horsepower industries.   

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News
9:22 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Gov. Mead: EPA Focus Should Be On Clean Coal

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says the plan by the Environmental Protection Agency to require carbon pollution limits on new power plants is too limited and hurts the state’s economy.  During a news conference, Mead was critical of the E-P-A for not following Wyoming’s lead and look at ways to develop clean coal technology.

“I think everybody should have an interest in how we do it in the most environmentally friendly way possible, but when you set a standard that nobody has done yet…to me it looks like you are just shutting off coal completely.”

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News
5:43 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Historic Steam Engine Returns To Wyoming

Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014

One of the World’s largest steam locomotives is traveling across Wyoming this week.  Union Pacific’s Big Boy number 4014 is being moved to Cheyenne for restoration. UP spokesman Mark Davis says 25 so called Big Boys were once used to carry heavy loads over mountains. This one was built in 1941.

“It’s a 132 feet long and weighs about 1.2 million pounds.  They were a heavy load locomotive.”

Davis says the locomotive will arrive in Laramie around eight tonight. There will a public ceremony in Cheyenne tomorrow at 1 PM.

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