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

The latest report on workplace death and injuries in Wyoming shows the transportation sector continues to lead in fatalities. Wyoming's overall numbers declined, but that was due to a decrease in traffic fatalities. State Occupational Epidemiologist Mack Sewell  says Wyoming is starting to make progress in reducing workplace deaths and injuries. But in a prepared statement, Sewell says more needs to be done.

Wyoming Lawmakers Fight For Conservative Health Bill

During the last two elections Wyoming Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement. Matt Laslo has a look from Washington on the debate dividing Republicans in Congress. 

The Wyoming Cowboys look to remain unbeaten against one of their oldest rivals.   Air Force comes to Laramie Saturday night in the opener of the Mountain West Conference football season.   Cowboys Head Coach Craig Bohl  says Air Force was impressive in its 44 to 16 opening win over Nicholls State.     

It’s been 8 years since Wyoming has elected a Democrat to statewide office. This year candidate for Governor Pete Gosar and Superintendent Candidate Mike Ceballos are hoping to break through. But it won’t be easy. The Executive Director of the Wyoming Democratic Party is Robin Van Ausdall. She’s worked on several campaigns in Colorado and she says Ceballos and Gosar and great candidates. 

"If people are willing to consider these candidates individually on their merits at least if not one will be elected."

gosarforgovernor.com

The Democratic Candidate for Governor is Pete Gosar. Gosar is a Pinedale native who is the former chairman of the state democratic party and he currently serves on the state board of education.

He is a state pilot, a former school teacher, and in college he was a star defensive player for the Wyoming Cowboys. Gosar has been critical of Governor Mead’s leadership when it comes to issues like Medicaid expansion and has accused Mead of playing politics with his decisions. He joins us to discuss some issues.

Bob Beck

On September 18th and 19th the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center and a number of sponsors will be hosting what should be a fascinating symposium on Immigration. Leslie Waggener with the American Heritage Center explains the purpose of the symposium.

The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee will consider a bill next week in Laramie that could end up abolishing the state’s death penalty law. 

Currently states are having difficulty acquiring the chemicals to perform lethal injections, so the Judiciary Committee has been looking at other alternatives…including firing squads. But House Committee Chairman Keith Gingery says another alternative is to abolish the death penalty.

The Wyoming Cowboys football team will open Mountain West Conference play  against Air Force and its vaunted option attack. 

Under the option the Quarterback can run the ball, pitch it to a running back, hand it off, or fake the run and throw it. It’s an unusual offense that teams rarely use and Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl says that make it difficult to defend.

Bohl Era Is Set To Start

Aug 29, 2014

The much anticipated Craig Bohl coaching era begins Saturday (today) as the Wyoming Cowboys football team hosts Montana.

The Grizzlies are led by Senior Quarterback Jordan Johnson and Bohl says they will be difficult to stop. 

The University of Wyoming Family Medicine Residency programs in Casper and Cheyenne have received an important new federal designation that will help both the programs and patients. 

UW Health Sciences Dean Joe Steiner says it will mean enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and better recruitment and retention of doctors—and will allow the programs to serve more patients.                

A Holocaust survivor says efforts to stop people from committing atrocities against others still has a long ways to go. 

Eva Schloss and her family were held in the Auschwitz Concentration camp during World War Two and her father and brother died there. Schloss plans to speak about her experiences Thursday night in Jackson.   Schloss has worked hard on causes aimed at reducing prejudice and bigotry. Her goal has been to prevent events like the Holocaust.

University of Wyoming Athletics, the American Cancer Society, Wyoming Community Foundation, and Cameco resources kicked off the Cameco Teams for Dreams partnership that is attempting to fight cancer through prevention.   

When the Wyoming Cowboys football team plays Saturday, the Pokes will have a new starting quarterback. While Colby Kirkegaard has played in several games…it will be a new experience for him to be start the season as the number one quarterback.   

Coaches say that Kirkegaard has played with a lot of poise during fall camp and they hope that continues. While he is excited about being the starter, Kirkegaard says he doesn’t feel any pressure, because it will be a team effort.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Cowboys football season fell apart last year. The Cowboys finished with five wins and seven losses, but lost five of their last six games. After the season ended the Cowboys also lost their Coach, and watched their starting quarterback AND his backup leave the team. New Coach Craig Bohl had a lot of success coaching at North Dakota State where he won three National Championships in a division below Wyoming. The question is whether he and his coaching staff can turn things around in Laramie. 

On August 28th Eva Schloss who is the step sister and childhood friend of Anne Frank will give a talk about her time in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. She will appear at the Center for the Arts in Jackson at 7 p.m. at an event hosted by the Chabad Jewish Center of Wyoming.  She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck about how she met Anne Frank.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says he continues working with federal officials to craft a Medicaid expansion plan for Wyoming.                  

Mead says that he’s concerned that the federal government will not be able to afford the program, but he says it could help people in the state and so he is moving forward with a good faith effort.

With a little over a week to go before the start of the University of Wyoming football season, Cowboys Head Coach Craig Bohl  likes what he sees. 

Bohl says the offensive line continues to be a work in progress, but he says that unit has improved—and believes they’ll continue to get better.            

“I think we are on task.  You see developments during fall camp as far as guys understanding our system, certainly all the nuances on offensive and defense and certainly the kicking game has taken a positive step since spring ball.”

The Wyoming Secretary of State’s office says that Tuesday’s primary election had an average turnout of registered voters.

State Elections Director Peggy Nighswonger says that it was comparable to previous primaries.                           

“Voter turnout for the primary elections was 46 percent of those registered to vote. Turnout is generally much higher for the general election. So if history repeats itself, we’ll likely see a lot more people at the polls on November 4th.”

Mead Wins GOP Primary

Aug 20, 2014

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead overcame strong challenges from Superintendent Cindy Hill and Doctor Taylor Haynes to win the Republican primary. 

Mead won the race despite upsetting the Republican base over his support of legislation that removed State Superintendent Cindy Hill as the supervisor of the Department of Education. Mead says it helped to be able to travel the state and meet with people.

To have a chance in small groups, one and one, and some large groups, take questions and have people hear firsthand from me. I thought that was extremely helpful.”

Due to the summer, turnout may not be high during today’s primary election. That will mean that fewer people will decide some key races. 

One of the hotly contested races involves Governor Matt Mead and challengers Taylor Haynes and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. University of Wyoming Political Scientist Jim King said the governor needs his supporters to vote.

“The concern I would think in the Mead camp right now would be making sure that people don’t just assume that everything is fine and find something else to do that day.”

In Jackson, Seasonal Workers Struggle To Find Affordable Housing

The town of Jackson has long struggled to find enough affordable housing for its seasonal workers. Right now, the average rental property there is going for 2800 dollars a month.  But lately, the popularity of house sharing websites have transformed the housing problem into a housing crisis. And that’s got local business owners looking in new places for their for seasonal hires.

Tuesday is Wyoming’s primary election and while it’s not that unusual for incumbent legislative candidates to have contested races, this year several top elected officials will also have to fend off challengers.

There was disagreement during a Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction debate concerning the administration of Cindy Hill. 

Sheryl Lain, who currently works for Hill, defended the Superintendent and says education has improved and test scores have gone up. But Jillian Balow says the state can’t have four more years of a Hill/Lain administration. 

Two of the three Republican candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction say it should be left up to local school boards to determine if teachers or others can have guns in schools. Bill Winney was adamant that the issue should be decided locally.

“There’s something in me that says a teacher shouldn’t be standing in front of a classroom with a pistol on their hip…I got that. But that’s not the real point…the real point is the authority and local control of our school boards.” 

Three Republic candidates for Wyoming Governor disagreed over how much the state invests in fossil fuels as opposed to alternative fuels during a debate hosted by Wyoming PBS and broadcast by Wyoming Public Radio.   

Republican candidate Taylor Haynes says the state should not be investing money in the private sector and that the market will determine which kind of fuel the public will support. When it comes to alternative energy, Haynes say it works on a smaller scale. 

wypols.com

Washington Gridlock Hurting Educators In Wyoming

This summer there's been a big push by the nation's powerful teacher unions to completely revamp the nation's standardized tests mandated under No Child Left Behind and then revamped with the new Common Core standards. Wyoming Public Radio’s congressional reporter, Matt Laslo, has the story on how the state’s congressional delegation is fighting for the state’s interests on the issue.

Jillian Balow is one of three Republican candidates running for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Balow has worked for late Senator Craig Thomas and current Governor Matt Mead. For ten years she was a classroom teacher, she has worked for the State Department of Education, and currently she is with the Department of Family Services where her duties include early childhood education. She speaks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Ed Murray is the last of four Republican candidates for Secretary of State. Murray is a long time Cheyenne businessman who says he is new blood with a lot of passion.

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