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
3:55 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

StoryCorps: Pete Simpson Discusses His Parents And Growing Up Near Heart Mountain

Credit StoryCorps

This summer, StoryCorps set up a booth in Cheyenne to record Wyomingites interviewing one another and sharing their stories.

Today, we hear from two members of one of Wyoming’s most famous families.  Milward Simpson, the grandson of former Governor and U.S. Senator Milward Simpson, interviews his father Pete Simpson, a noted historian, educator, Republican nominee for Governor, and former legislator.  They begin their conversation talking about Pete’s parents.  

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News
8:05 am
Mon February 3, 2014

WY Sees More Physicians Licensed To Practice In State

Credit Bob Beck

The Wyoming Board of Medicine says a record number of physicians received licenses to practice in Wyoming last year.  The Board of Medicine’s Kevin Bohnenblust says 35 more physicians were licensed when compared to 2012 numbers, and overall they saw 15-percent more doctors compared to 2009.  He says that’s due to a new, simplified licensing process and the fact that many doctors include non-traditional approaches, such as telemedicine, in their practices.

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Open Spaces
4:56 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

January 24th, 2014

Potential for Gas Price Increase If Oil Ban Lifted

For forty years the U-S has banned the export of most all crude oil. Matt Laslo reports a new debate is raging in Washington over whether to end the ban.

Sage Grouse Concerns Prompt Changes In Reclamation Regs

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A and S Dean Discusses Her Goals

Credit UW News Service

Last summer Paula Lutz from Montana State University was hired to replace longtime University of Wyoming Arts and Sciences Dean Oliver Walter.  She joins us today on Open Spaces to share her vision for the College.  She speaks with Bob Beck.

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Open Spaces
4:35 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Wyoming Legislature Considers Early Childhood Education Bill

Over the years the legislature has not been overly supportive of efforts to fund early childhood education in Wyoming, mostly because of concerns that the state could interfere with private business.  But members of the Joint Education Committee hope that a new proposal can overcome those concerns.  The committee has drafted a bill that will coordinate all the early childhood efforts that currently exist and provide money to improve services.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.                     

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Open Spaces
4:54 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Wyoming Works With Companies To Clean Up Contamination

Evanston Chamber of Commerce
Credit Evanston Chamber of Commerce

There are a number of contaminated sites across the state that are expensive to clean up.  The contamination comes from a variety of sources including industrial sites and businesses that use chemicals. 

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News
7:08 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Wyomingites rally for expansion at Medicaid hearing

A legislative committee was still trying to determine Thursday evening if it will recommend passage of a bill that will either expand Medicaid services in the state or use Federal Medicaid dollars to provide affordable insurance to low income people in the state. Senator Charles Scott says they need a bill that will get two-thirds support from both the committee and the legislature, and the votes just aren’t there. Cheyenne Representative Lee Filer said he’s surprised by the political opposition, because he mostly hears from supporters.

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News
7:06 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Healthcare enrollment picks up in Wyoming

Tom Hirsig

The Wyoming Insurance Commission says more people are starting to take advantage of the Health Insurance Exchange ever since the federal website was revamped.  Tom Hirsig told the Legislature’s Joint Health and Labor Committee that after a slow start some 5,000 Wyoming residents have received insurance through the exchange.  He says things will continue to pick up.

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News
6:11 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Superintendent Hill addresses charges of wrongdoing

State Superintendent of Schools Cindy Hill denied that her office inappropriately used federal money, denied that they hid documents from legislators, and didn’t understand why some of her employees feared for their jobs. 

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News
5:21 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Hearing to begin for schools superintendent

Next week a select investigative committee will meet to take testimony about how Schools Superintendent Cindy Hill ran the State Department of Education. The three-day hearing starts Monday in Cheyenne.

Superintendent Hill has been accused of misusing state and federal money and of mistreating employees, all charges that Hill denies. 

Committee members will take testimony on all of these topics as they determine if Hill did anything that would merit impeaching her. 

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Sports
5:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Basketball teams face Nevada

Both the Wyoming men’s and women’s basketball teams open conference play this weekend.  The Cowboys face Nevada on the road, while the Cowgirls host the Wolfpack in Laramie.

The Cowboys have yet to win a road game, and to win in Reno, the Pokes will have to shut down Nevada’s Deonte Burton, who is averaging 22 points a game. 

Wyoming Coach Larry Shyatt (SHY-at) says the entire team can score…

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News
6:38 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Successes seen in Wyoming on 40th anniversary of Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act turned 40 this week, and two birds from Wyoming are ranked among the biggest successes of the law.  The Endangered Species Coalition says the peregrine falcon and bald eagle made their top-ten list. Derek Goldman of the Coalition says bald eagles can be seen regularly in some parts of Wyoming, but he adds that it didn’t happen by accident.

“We can see bald eagles almost everywhere now, but at one point 30 years ago, DDT and killing of eagles had really dwindled their numbers.”

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News
4:52 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

McGinity advocates for academic freedom

The Interim President of the University of Wyoming says he favors academic freedom and research into a variety of topics, even if it upsets some industries or politicians in the state. Dick McGinity says that latitude is important.

“There’s probably research in any number of areas that may not be pleasing to one group of people compared to another," he says. "But I think academics should be free to pursue those.”

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Open Spaces
3:02 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

December 27th, 2013

Stephen Watt (right) and Mark Farnham (left) during a recent visit.

A crime victim and perpetrator talk about how their unlikely friendship came to be

Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with crime that put the victim of the crime front and center and considers how the offense affected the community, rather than looking at it as an isolated incident. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming, starting with a case study.

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News
7:58 am
Tue December 24, 2013

University to study reducing degree offerings

Dick McGinity

The University of Wyoming may look at reducing the number of degree offerings.  Interim President Dick McGinity says the goal is to not eliminate jobs, but to make sure that faculty are not being asked to do too much.   He notes that there are much bigger institutions that offer the same number of degrees as the University of Wyoming.  McGinity is not sure that is realistic.

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Open Spaces
4:32 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

December 20th, 2013

UW Interim President prepares for the Legislative Session

Following the resignation of Bob Sternberg, Dick McGinity has taken over reins at the University of Wyoming as Interim President.  McGinity was simply a faculty member at UW until Sternberg promoted him to be part of the administration and now he’s running the show.  Among his first duties is getting UW priorities through the legislature.  He tells Bob Beck that includes pay raises.

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

UW Interim President prepares for the Legislative Session

Following the resignation of Bob Sternberg, Dick McGinity has taken over reins at the University of Wyoming as Interim President. 

McGinity was simply a faculty member at UW until Sternberg promoted him to be part of the administration and now he’s running the show.  Among his first duties is getting UW priorities through the legislature.  He tells Bob Beck that includes pay raises.

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Open Spaces
3:38 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Wyoming Democratic Party Chairman disappointed in Governor Mead’s Medicaid recommendation

Pete Gosar

Recently Governor Matt Mead made it clear that he does not support using federal dollars to expand Medicaid services for Wyoming’s poor.  State Democratic Party Chairman Pete Gosar tells Bob Beck that’s the wrong move.

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Wyoming Stories
11:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Wyoming Stories: Christmas and a movie

The cast of the movie "Neighbors"

This holiday season, the Wyoming Public Radio news team is sharing stories about memories and traditions that stand out to them. In this piece, news director Bob Beck tells us about a lonely Christmas in college.

It was 1981 and I was a junior at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.   Earlier that year my parents ended their 20 plus year marriage and my visit home after receiving that news was slightly uncomfortable.

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healthystate
5:58 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Wyoming improves health ranking

Wyoming ranks as the 17th healthiest state in the nation.  The rankings from the United Health Foundation say the state has a low percentage of children in poverty, low violent crime rate, and low levels of air pollution. But the Foundations’ Bill Mandell says there are three main areas of concern:

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News
6:13 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Wyoming's U.S. Senators to vote against budget compromise

Wyoming’s two U.S. Senators plan to vote against a budget compromise that will be taken up by the Senate on Wednesday.  Senator Mike Enzi spoke out against the deal on the Senate floor.  Enzi says it cuts too little, if anything.

“We talk about how we have reduced the deficit.  Reduced the deficit?  Yeah, that means we used to be overspending a trillion dollars a year and now we are only overspending $500 billion, which is half a trillion.  That’s still overspending,” says Enzi.

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News
8:02 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Superintendent Cindy Hill doubts she'll be impeached

As lawmakers wrap up their investigation of State Superintendent Cindy Hill, Hill says she’s done nothing wrong.  A special legislative committee is currently reviewing claims that Hill misspent money when she was in charge of the State Department of Education, an allegation she denies.  Hill contends that lawmakers investigating the charges have not let her see evidence or allowed her to respond.

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News
4:56 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Wyoming Conservation Corps shuts down

A program that uses students to perform a variety of conservation projects will not accept project proposals for the coming summer.  A loss of funding will essentially shut down the Wyoming Conservation Corps.

University of Wyoming Spokesman Chad Baldwin says UW does not have the resources to fund the program this year, but they believe they can re-start the program in 2015.

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

State Superintendent Cindy Hill discusses her dispute with the legislature

It’s been a long year for State Superintendent Cindy Hill.  After legislators determined that she was undermining some of their education reform efforts, they voted to take away her ability to run the state department of education and assigned her to less essential tasks. 

Later a report suggested mistreatment of employees, possible misuse of the state aircraft, and misuse of Department of Education money.  That last piece is being investigated by a legislative committee who is trying to determine if impeachment charges should be brought against Hill. 

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Open Spaces
4:21 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Governor Matt Mead defends his opposition to Medicaid expansion and other topics

Last week Wyoming governor Matt Mead released his proposed budget for the next two years.  The governor joins us to discuss something he did not recommend and discusses other topics, such as whether he will run for re-election. 

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Governor proposes budget increase for local government

Credit The photo is courtesy of the Cody chamber of Commerce.

In the governor’s budget last week, one area that didn’t get a lot of attention is a proposal to increase funding to communities and counties by $175 million.  That would be a $40 million increase over his previous proposal.  40 percent of that money would go for infrastructure, such as roads, but the rest would go into operations.  If approved, it would come at a time when most local governments are dealing with less revenue.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

BOB BECK: Governor Matt Mead says he’s tried to make local government funding a priority since he took office.

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News
4:58 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Shoppers encouraged to buy local on Saturday

The Wyoming chapter of the U.S. Small Business Administration is asking shoppers to think local and think small this Saturday.  Wyoming District Director Amy Lea says they’re hoping that state residents will consider purchasing holiday gifts from local merchants first.

"These are our friends and our neighbors, when we live in small towns in Wyoming, and even the larger ones," Lea said. "And we want them to be able to stay in business."

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