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

Wyoming State Historical Society

  

In July, Wyoming will celebrate its 125th birthday. Next month a major conference will look at the state’s top historical moments. Called Our Place In The West And Beyond: Wyoming at 125, a number of historians, experts, and citizens will come to the University of Wyoming on June 11th. Tamsen Hert is President of the State Historical Society. She says it will be a jam-packed conference.  

After a decade of work the new Shoshone National Forest plan has been signed. The plan lays out how the forest will be managed in years to come.

Forest officials says it provides multiple use opportunities such as biking and camping while also providing protections for Grizzlies and other key species. 

Conservation groups had wanted Oil and Gas development to be banned, but Lisa McGee of the Wyoming Outdoor Council says she is satisfied with the compromise.                 

Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital is considering an expansion that could lead to a new Internal Medicine Building among other things. 

Hospital CEO Doug Faus said the expansion also could include the Jeannie Ray Cancer Center, parking areas, and space for University of Wyoming Medical students who are part of the WWAMI  program. The biggest priority is the Internal Medicine building. Faus says a better facility will help recruit and keep doctors.

Wyoming Public Media

The final piece of the puzzle for a long-awaited Wind River Job Corps program has been found.  Management and Training Corporation of Utah has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Labor to operate the Wind River Job Corps Center.  

Job Corps trains students who come from families below the federal poverty level. Sandy Barton of the Fremont County Board for Cooperative Education Services has been working on the project for ten years and says the selection means that Wyoming’s first Job Corps will finally open.

Bob Beck

Highway crashes on Wyoming Interstates are a common occurrence, but the back to back multiple vehicle crashes last month even got the attention of locals. It led to the latest discussion about traffic safety and whether more could be done. But experts say that highway safety, especially when it comes to interstate 80 has been on the minds of state Transportation officials for some time. 

Shoshone National Forest

The long awaited Shoshone Forest Plan will be signed into law soon. The Shoshone Forest is the nation’s first national forest. The plan for the forest has been more than ten years in the making.

After forest managers presented a plan last year, that would allow off road vehicles and bicycles to expand in areas that had previously been off limits, several parties objected.

Forest Supervisor Joe Alexander said, “We had 72 objections to our plan.”

The Wyoming Public Radio News Department was awarded three Regional Edward R. Murrow awards today. WPR competes in region three in the small market category. 

News Director Bob Beck said that everyone is excited about the news. "These are highly sought after awards and are difficult to win. I am extremely proud of our news team for their commitment to excellence. To win three awards in one year is amazing." 

The new Chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party is Matt Micheli. Micheli is the son of former state gubernatorial candidate and legislator Ron Micheli. He takes over the job following some infighting within the party that included concerns over legislative action surrounding former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. 

Annie Leibovitz via David Solomon

Award winning author Andrew Solomon will speak at the University of Wyoming on Wednesday, April 22, about his book "Far From the Tree" where he presents stories from parents who have raised children in a variety of circumstances. Some are gay, some have schizophrenia, some are dwarfs, some have autism, others are profound.

A Cheyenne attorney is the new chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party.  Matt Micheli will take over the reins at a time when traditional republicans are battling with a right wing element of the party.  But Micheli says disagreements between republicans is nothing new, he just wants to make sure any debates remain civil. 

“I think at the end of the day we all know we are on the same team and we all have the same goal and that there’s a lot of great things we can do together.”

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity says he will step down when his contract expires next year, so that the UW Trustees can set its sights on a long term replacement.

“I just said to the board that I think it’s in the University’s interests and really a responsibility of the board to undertake a search for somebody who’s gonna pick up the ball and carry it for the next eight…ten years or so.”

The 71 year old McGinity says with some exciting science and engineering initiatives getting under way this is the perfect time for the University to find a new leader. 

Bob Beck

Despite a heavy push by hospitals and businesses the Wyoming legislature once again voted down Medicaid Expansion this year.  It means the state will not receive 120-million dollars in federal funds a year to address some 17 thousand people who do not have health care coverage and it will also not help address the millions of dollars of uncompensated care faced by hospitals who are forced to treat those without insurance.  The Legislature’s Joint Health and Labor committee will spend the next several months trying to find a Wyoming solution to these issues without federal dollars. 

Bob Beck

Governor Mead Says The Legislative Session Had Some Disappointments

A few weeks ago the Wyoming legislative session came to a close and Governor Matt Mead admitted that he had a number of concerns. The biggest was the failure of the legislature to pass Medicaid Expansion. The governor tells us that he knew it would be a tough sell, but it was tougher than he thought.

Bob Beck

A few weeks ago the Wyoming legislative session came to a close and Governor Matt Mead admitted that he had a number of concerns. The biggest was the failure of the legislature to pass Medicaid Expansion. The governor tells us that he knew it would be a tough sell, but it was tougher than he thought.

Bob Beck

Five years ago the Wyoming legislature embarked on its latest attempt at reforming education in the state. Lawmakers said Wyoming was spending a lot  of money on education and students were underperforming. After rejecting drastic changes such as getting rid of teacher tenure, the legislature settled on coming up with a way to score school districts, schools, teacher leaders, and teachers themselves.

Associated Press

The Wyoming Cowboys will face Northern Iowa in the NCAA men's basketball tournament on Friday in Seattle. The Pokes received an automatic berth after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament over the weekend. It’s Wyoming’s first appearance in the tournament since 2002.

It’s been a tough few years for the Cowboys who’ve had to overcome a series of incidents including injuries and illness. Head Coach Larry Shyatt said those incidents have made the team mentally tough.

Wyo. Republicans Now Fighting To Preserve Obamacare Funding

One of the biggest Supreme Court cases of this term could wipe away the insurance subsidies that tens of thousands of Wyoming residents now rely on under so-called Obamacare. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington on how Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is now scrambling to find a Plan B for a law he's staked his name as a doctor opposing.  

Bob Beck

At the start of the Wyoming legislative session three freshman lawmakers from three corners of the state explained their goals and what they hoped to achieve. Now that the session is over, the three share their experiences. Cheyenne Republican Senator Stephan Pappas said he was impressed with the ideas the Senate was asked to consider.

"There are virtually no idea that was bad, now there are bad bills, but folks come to the legislature with good ideas."

A survey of Wyoming teens finds that their use of alcohol and cigarettes is declining.

The 2014 Prevention Needs Assessment student survey provides detailed state, county, and school district data on self-reported substance use and participation in problem behaviors among Wyoming youth.

The survey was conducted for the Wyoming Department of Health by UW’s Survey and Analysis Center. Researcher Eric Canen says the information is notable. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Legislature has approved a bill that is intended to help hospitals in the state cover costs for patients who cannot afford to pay for health care. 

After lawmakers rejected the $100 million a year in federal funds that would have come from Medicaid Expansion, this was viewed as a last ditch attempt to help hospitals. But opponents say the bill just throws money at the problem.

Senate Labor and Health Committee Chairman Charles Scott says the two and a half million dollars in the bill will help some of the small hospitals in the state.

The Wyoming Legislative session ended today and in his closing remarks Governor Matt Mead urged lawmakers to find a solution to a number of health care problems in the state.   The legislature voted against taking more than 100 million dollars in federal money to expand Medicaid and provide health care services to 17,600  people. Mead said legislators need to find solutions.

Wyoming victims of sexual assault will now be able to get a protection order without the necessity of proving their case in court. Governor Matt Mead signed a bill into law that provides victims a protection order of six months that can be renewed up to a year. 

Green River Senator John Hastert says it allows a victim to get protection from their assailant if they choose not to pursue criminal charges. 

A bill headed to the Governor's desk allows the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority to issue up to one billion dollars in bonds to support construction of out-of-state coal ports.  Senator Michael Von Flatern says the bill allows the Authority to borrow money from investors for the bond, which can then be lent to projects elsewhere.

“A great morale booster by the way, so if the state’s showing that it’s willing to put up bonding ability, or allow an authority to have bonding ability it may make a project look more viable than if we weren’t gonna put any skin in the game.”

Wyoming's legislative session is coming to a close. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard for an overview of this year's goings-on.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Senate decided that a bill that would have provided a mechanism for guns to be in schools and gun free zones was not ready for prime time. The Senate voted 25 to 3 to kill that bill with no debate. It ends debate on the issue for the year. 

The bill originally mandated that guns be allowed in schools, colleges, and government meetings, but Senator Hank Coe successfully amended the bill to leave those decisions up to local governing bodies. Lander Republican Cale Case favored the House version of the bill.

The House and Senate will convene a conference committee to try and iron out a piece of legislation that supporters say is key to education reform. 

The bill sets up the next phase of a school accountability program that grades educators and provides help if they aren't meeting expectations. The House voted to remove state oversight from the bill. Pinedale Representative Albert Sommers says it goes too far.

The Wyoming Senate continues working on a bill that would let school boards, college trustees, and local governments decide whether guns will be allows in their facilities. 

The Senate rejected several amendments, including one by Gillette Republican Jeff Wasserburger to add number of safety measures to the bill. Those measures included 20 hours of safety training for school employees and giving local entities the ability to revoke concealed carry permits.

Wasserburger is a school principal with mixed emotions about the bill.

 

An amendment that would have added gay and transgender people to a bill intended to protect Wyoming residents from housing discrimination—failed Tuesday.

Openly gay Laramie Democrat Cathy Connolly tried to add the two groups of people to the list of protected classes. Connolly, who is also a University of Wyoming Professor, says it’s a serious concern.

“I can tell you that at least once a year, a student comes to talk to me about the fear of losing his or her apartment or trailer, simply because they are gay.”

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