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

University of Wyoming

  

The day the Berlin Wall came down and the Unification of Germany is still an important day in the mind of a University of Wyoming graduate. Andrew Denison is a long time German political commentator who came to Laramie to talk about the 25 year anniversary of unification and whether it has met expectations. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.  

Bob Beck

To put it mildly, eliminating smoking from bars has been in tough in Casper. Since 2000 the Casper City Council has twice approved smoking bans, and they were both overturned. Now the issue is up for another vote next month. The public has a chance to decide whether it agrees with a city council effort to allow smoking in bars and some other places. It’s being framed as a battle of business rights versus health.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

State Forester Bill Crapser said that between 15 to 20 structures have been lost in a grass fire that burned some 15 square miles north of Casper. 

Crapser is blaming warm and dry conditions for the fire that he says is unusual for this time of year.  Hundreds of residents had been evacuated. When they return to their homes Red Cross spokeswoman Pat Kondas said they will need more than food and water.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming said it will follow the governor’s order and implement a hiring freeze, as well as try and find ways to return some money to the state. 

Governor Matt Mead this week said that the state needs to cut up to 200 million dollars from its existing budget due to a revenue shortfall. He hopes to acquire 18 million dollars through leaving unfilled positions vacant. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says a dip in energy revenues will require the state to cut up to 200 million dollars from its existing budget. 

The governor has instituted a hiring freeze and will be looking to every agency to return unspent money. Mead would like to avoid layoffs.

“I do not think that this is an area I will be looking at. I think we can get roughly 18 million dollars by not filling vacant positions and with a hiring freeze.” 

Mead said citizens will accept some reduction in services, but added that the state will likely need to dip into savings.

Craig Blumenshine / Wyoming PBS

Wyoming’s first ever Job Corps center was dedicated in Riverton on Monday. The Wind River Job Corps center serves students between the ages of 16 and 24 and will train them to work in the oil and gas industry. 

Officials are hopeful that it will specifically help young people on the Wind River Reservation. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi worked with Riverton officials to secure the funding and he said it’s a thrill to see the operation open. Enzi said it will help the entire state.           

Bob Beck

  

Last weekend Wyoming’s annual sage grouse hunt began. Many hunters were worried that this could be the last hunt in a while, since the bird was facing the possibility of getting listed as an endangered species. When the chicken-sized bird started seeing declines in the 1990’s, some states stopped sage grouse hunting altogether. Wyoming continued its hunt after changing the start date and limiting the take. That will continue, even as the state continues mandated conservation efforts. 

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is looking to find more space for the WWAMI medical program. The program is run by the University of Washington and trains students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to be doctors. 

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working with federal officials on a project to make driving safer. The plan is to use interactive technology to tell drivers about road and weather conditions as well as safety information. Wyoming is focusing on making travel safer along Interstate 80. 

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity said that falling energy prices could have a dramatic effect on UW’s budget request. 

Speaking during his annual address to University Faculty and Staff McGinity noted that the revenue picture for the state budget is dire and that could especially impact his number one priority, salary increases for faculty and staff.

“But we may need to face the sobering prospect that tuition increases at UW and the reallocation of resources within the University may be our most likely avenues for compensation increases for faculty and staff.”

Ross Doman, WYDOT

A single-engine plane crashed east of Laramie Friday morning on Interstate 80. Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree says 67 year old Steven Stam from Holland, Michigan was traveling eastbound around 8am when he experienced engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing on the westbound lane of Interstate 80. 

"He actually started to come down into the median area. May have possibly hit the median itself but not bad. And he was able to put it down and skidded off the highway at that location," says DeBree.

It will be a young and mostly inexperienced University of Wyoming football team that takes the field against North Dakota this weekend. 

Wyoming has only eight seniors on its roster, the second fewest of any team in the country. Head Coach Craig Bohl said that 13 freshmen will see playing time for the Cowboys this year. That is an unusually high number. But Bohl quickly added that they have a huge upside.

Wyoming Public Media

Four years ago Ozone in the Pinedale area was compared to that of Los Angeles. The culprit was enhanced energy development in the Upper Green River basin. The area was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a non-attainment area for ozone pollution under the federal Clean Air Act. But this week the EPA said that efforts to reduce those levels to healthier standards have worked. Wyoming Outdoor Council Chief Legal Counsel Bruce Pendery has been closely following the issue. He tells Bob Beck that the response to the problem was excellent.  

University of Wyoming Cultural Programs

 

Late next month the fall 2015 season of Cultural Programs at the University of Wyoming will get underway with a September 29th performance of Huun Huur Tu, Tuvan throat singers. It’s an extremely diverse schedule that wraps up in April. University of Wyoming Director of Cultural Programs and Director of Fine Arts Outreach Janelle Fletcher told Bob Beck that they are doing some new things.  

Bob Beck

For the most part, 2014 was a tough year for the University of Wyoming football team. The Cowboys finished with only four wins and eight losses. But the while the team enters this season with a few question marks, how will its new quarterback fair? Will a revamped defense and offensive line be able to make the necessary improvements? Will the kicking game be better? But one area they feel pretty good about is the fact that they have two amazing running backs in senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill. Wick agrees with those who say they are a lot alike. 

Due to falling gas prices and the end of a Wyoming tax credit, the state’s only ethanol plant is closing its doors. 

The tax credit expired in July, but current gas and corn prices also added to the demise of Goshen County business Wyoming Ethanol.

Goshen County Economic Development Director Ashley Harpstreith said 18 workers will be displaced, but she’s hopeful that this is a temporary shutdown. 

A State Senator said an agreement between the United States and China to share advances in Clean Coal technology is probably ten years too late. The deal was reached this week. Gillette Senator Michael Von Flatern said it’s better late than never.                

Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says it’s time for the state to dip into its rainy day funds to get through some lean economic times. 

Falling oil and gas prices and declining coal revenues are reducing state revenues. He says the state will need to use some of the nearly two billion dollars in savings to get through the next two year budget cycle. While the state can reduce spending, Mead says there are still a lot of needs such as funding for local governments.

Bob Beck

In Laramie, the Eppson Center for Seniors is looking at how it should operate in the future. Lynne Simpson is overseeing that effort.  She says the kinds of discussion surrounding independent living that’s taking place in Laramie should occur throughout Wyoming.  

Bob Beck

Lots of people like to run and many have chosen to run marathons. But not that many have decided to run beyond that. One such person is gearing up for an upcoming 100 mile race that she’s running for the second time. There’s lots of ways Jennifer Bartel and her three kids and dog spend time together, but lately a lot of that family time has been spent running. Bartel runs a lot.

“I try to keep it right around 50 miles a week, mostly because when I boost it over that I start to feel really poor from my neck all the way down, so I stick right at 50 miles.  

Courtesy Wyoming NORML

Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Wyoming can begin collecting signatures in an effort to put the issue on the ballot. 

The Secretary of State’s office gave the go ahead to the Wyoming National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws to collect the nearly 26 thousand signatures it needs to get the issue before voters in 2016. If voters approve it, the legislature will be asked to draft legislation to legalize medical marijuana.  Chris Christian of Wyoming NORML said they want the law to say that people can get cannabis from a doctor. 

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Trustees have voted to ask Governor Mead for money to continue UW’s medical education program. 

Trustees voted to request almost a million more dollars for the WWAMI Medical Education and the WYDENT Dental Education programs to address tuition increases. Some additional funding for those programs was also requested. 

Courtesy UW Athletics

The Wyoming Cowgirls soccer team just missed an NCAA tournament berth last year and they are out to prove that their success wasn’t a fluke.  

The Cowgirls return eight starters, but lost three key seniors to graduation. Head Coach Pete Cuadrado says for that reason his team needs to use the pre-season to find leaders.

After a four-win and eight loss season, University of Wyoming Football Coach Craig Bohl says the team needs to play better this year. 

The Cowboys opened fall camp Monday with a new quarterback, a highly-regarded pair of running backs, and several questions. The biggest question marks reside on defense. All-America candidate Eddie Yarbrough leads a unit that has been re-vamped since last season. Bohl says three or more freshmen may be asked to either start or play significant minutes. But he remains optimistic that the unit could improve. 

Leigh Paterson

The Wyoming Democratic Party is praising the President’s clean power plan calling it an attempt to slow the effects of climate change. 

Party Vice Chairman Bruce Palmer says he’s hopeful that industry and state policy leaders will stop fighting solutions to climate change and focus on ways to address carbon emissions and develop renewable energy. 

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