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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health care
6:40 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Legislators consider Medicaid expansion options

Credit okpolicy.org

To comply with the Affordable Care Act, Wyoming lawmakers still have to determine whether they want to provide more health insurance to people who cannot afford it, and what such a plan would look like. 
 

The legislature soundly defeated a proposal to expand the current Medicaid program, so the Wyoming Department of Health has pitched a new proposal where people could purchase a scaled-down version of Medicaid Insurance. 
 

Department Director Tom Forslund said that users would have to participate like consumers who have private insurance.

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News
6:41 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Study examines ways to improve international education

A two year study seeks to help the University of Wyoming develop ways to improve International Education.

UW International Programs Director Anne Alexander says the first recommendation in the report involves training faculty to teach students about international issues.  Another recommendation involves teaching the entire state.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Wyoming considers increasing the Beer Tax

Alibi Pub in Laramie
Credit Bob Beck

Wyoming is not a big tax state, so it might not be much of surprise to learn that Wyoming’s Beer Taxes are the lowest in the country.  Beer is taxed two cents a gallon and according to the Tax Foundation that amounts to a penny a six pack for a consumer. 

There have been several efforts to raise the tax in recent years, but those proposals are typically dead on arrival.  In a few weeks the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee will re-vist the issue as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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News
7:57 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Rep. Lummis wants to reform Endangered Species Act

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis will be involved in the latest attempt to reform the Endangered Species Act.  Lummis will take testimony on how the law might be reformed during a hearing in Casper on September 4th.  Lummis says the goal is not to get rid of the Endangered Species Act.

“Our goal is to make the endangered species act work.  And we have a law where only one percent of the species that have been listed have been de-listed.  To me that indicates a law that is failing,” says Lummis.

Lummis says too many species have ended up on the list due to court cases. 

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Open Spaces
4:19 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Wyoming’s Congresswoman wants to reform the Endangered Species Act.

In September a Congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing in Casper as Congress takes another crack at reforming the Endangered Species Act. 

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has for years been supportive of reforming the ESA.  While she is quick to acknowledge that it has been a good law, Lummis is frustrated that once something gets on the endangered species list it rarely comes off.  She joins Bob Beck to discuss this.

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Open Spaces
4:16 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

New Education Director sets sites on improving education in Wyoming

Wyoming’s newly appointed Director of Education Rich Crandall is busy getting acquainted with Wyoming’s Education system.  Crandall began his new duties August first. 

He was heavily involved in education as a politician in Arizona and he’s now running the Wyoming Department of Education and working with legislators to implement education policy in the state. 

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Small business owners face challenges

Credit Bob Beck

It has never been easy to start a small business or to keep it going.  Acquiring startup money is always one of the challenges.  In Wyoming, officials say they want to develop more businesses, but unless you are a technology company, it can be difficult to find the necessary support.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

BOB BECK:  Laramie Economic Development Director Dan Furphy says funding small businesses is scary for lenders.

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Luke Martinez
6:40 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Martinez will serve time and pay restitution for misdemeanor battery

Luke Martinez

Former University of Wyoming basketball player Luke Martinez has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and is serving a sentence of 45 days in the Albany County Jail. 

 

 

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Open Spaces
3:34 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

New UW President wants to take a holistic approach to admissions

University of Wyoming President Robert Sternberg
Credit www.uwyo.edu

Last month, Bob Sternberg took over as the new president of the University of Wyoming. In recent weeks, has explained that he wants UW to attempt to be an inclusive University that doesn’t focus on things like a student’s ACT scores, and rather looks more at the whole package. 

President Sternberg tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it’s more important to make sure students are properly prepared for higher education, and their future is much more important than test scores. 

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Open Spaces
3:26 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

College Bound Latinas continues to make strides

From left to right: Aurora, Kelly, Letty, Emmy, Laura
Credit Rebecca Huntington

Roughly three years ago, two women undertook an effort to take a group of middle school girls in Jackson under their wing with the goal of helping them get into college.  The effort is called College Bound Latinas and the program has had some early success.  But a recent interaction with a University of Wyoming Professor is taking the girls even further as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
3:17 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Job Corps breaks ground in Fremont County

Today, the long awaited ground breaking for the 41 million dollar Wind River Job Corps took place.  The project was first conceived in 2005 and thanks to support of Senator Mike Enzi it finally received federal approval.  It’s the first Job Corps for Wyoming which is the only state without such a facility. 

Sandy Barton of the Fremont County Board of Cooperative Education Services or BOCES spearheaded the effort from the start.  She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it will have a major impact on Fremont County and the state.

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News
7:16 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Federal officials discuss Native American Education in Riverton

Credit Tom Laycock / Wyoming Department of Education

Officials from the Wind River Reservation discussed dropout rates, poverty issues, and the need for early childhood education during a panel that included two cabinet secretaries. 

The meeting in Riverton was intended to let Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Education Secretary Arne Duncan hear about issues on the reservation.  State Board of Education Member Scotty Ratliff was impressed that the discussion moved away from cultural issues and centered on key issues like poverty and jobs.         

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News
5:46 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Special Legislative Committee begins investigation of State Superintendent Cindy Hill

Credit Bob Beck

State Superintendent Cindy Hill says she has grave concerns about a legislative committee that is investigating possible wrongdoing within her administration.  The Committee is following up on a report that suggested possible misuse of funds and mistreatment of employees.  Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says they want to determine if action needs to be taken against Hill or if the issue needs to be dropped.  Hill told the committee that she did nothing wrong and suggested that there may be reasons for the accusations.

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News
7:56 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Long awaited Job Corps facility breaks ground Friday

An effort that began almost 8 years ago will lead to a long awaited groundbreaking on Friday. The 41 million dollar Wind River Job Corps will train disadvantaged students in energy production and will also help them enhance their academic and social skills. 

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Open Spaces
4:02 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

July 19th, 2013

National Republican Party Supports Enzi over Cheney

This week Wyoming’s senior senator, Mike Enzi, was surprised to learn he’ll be facing off against Liz Cheney in what’s expected to be one of the most heated Republican primaries in the nation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that right now, the Republican Party is wrapping its arms around Enzi.

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Open Spaces
3:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Wyoming Department of Health administrator discusses Affordable Care Act changes

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a number of things are changing concerning Medicaid in Wyoming.  Jan Stahl is the eligibility and operations administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with Stahl, who says the changes will take place January first.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Wyoming Education reforms move forward as the Hill debate continues

Unless you are new to the state or have lived under a rock, you are aware that the state legislature passed a law that changed the powers of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and placed a Director in charge of Education.  Now lawmakers are investing a report that suggests possible wrong doing by Superintendent Cindy Hill…charges she denies.  It might lead people to worry about education in the state.  But lawmakers want you to know that they continue to try and make change for the better.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has the story…

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Liz Cheney
6:19 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Liz Cheney meets the media, formally announces her run for the US Senate

Liz Cheney
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President and Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney, formally announced her candidacy for the U-S Senate during press conferences in Casper and Cheyenne.  Cheney will face off against incumbent Mike Enzi in next summer’s Republican primary. 


During a news conference Cheney attacked President Obama and what she called his liberal agenda.  She complained that too many Republicans have compromised with Democrats.

 

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News
6:34 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Lawmakers discuss innovation

The Joint Education Committee wrapped up two days of meetings talking about everything from improving Native American education to better uses of technology in the classroom.  

Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson   says lawmakers have had some distractions in recent months with the controversy surrounding Superintendent Cindy Hill, but he says they are moving forward with some good ideas.

“If we are not doing it, at least we are starting to lay some framework and some discussion and open people’s minds to the idea of new options and new alternatives.”

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News
6:31 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Lawmakers are told that Hathaway is working

An official with the University of Wyoming  told the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee  that the Hathaway scholarship is having the desired result in making more high school students successful when they attend U-W.   Students can receive three types of scholarships and U-W’s Mike Massie says data shows those who get the highest scholarship perform the best.  But Massie says data also shows something interesting about students who qualify for the lowest scholarship.  While many struggle in the first year, Massie says they improve.

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News
6:55 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Lawmakers say virtual schools need accountability

Wyoming lawmakers are trying to make alternative virtual schools accountable for the students they serve.  Virtual schools are classes students can attend on-line.  One snag has been identified in Niobrara County where the local school district saw its graduation rate drop after a virtual school started in the area. Some lawmakers think that the Virtual School may have impacted the local district’s graduation rate.  House Education Committee Member Cathy Connolly of Laramie says they need to find a way to make virtual schools stand on their own.      

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News
3:12 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Wind River Reservation Schools say they are fighting to improve

School officials from the Wind River Reservation admit they have problems graduating students and with educating students, but they also say they are slowly making progress.  School officials told a meeting of two legislative committees that more early education and more involvement with parents.  But they all say that socio-economic factors also play a role.  Wyoming Interim Education Director Jim Rose says resolving that issue will be tricky.

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Open Spaces
3:14 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

$5 million budget cut concerns Game and Fish supporters

Credit Bob Beck

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved nearly five million dollars in budget cuts that were necessary after the legislature failed to approved an increase in game and fish license fees.  The department is funded 80 percent by license fees and was already dealing with a deficit when the fee hikes were voted down.  But lawmakers wanted the Game and Fish Department to be more efficient.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.

BOB BECK:    The cuts were approved at a recent Game and Fish Commission meeting in Saratoga and many were unhappy. 

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News
6:11 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

StoryCorps comes to Wyoming

NPR’s StoryCorps begins a three week stint recording residents' stories in Cheyenne Friday.  The purpose of StoryCorps is to allow families and communities to document important stories. Many get archived and some even played on the radio.  The recordings will take place in a mobile booth near the Laramie County Library.

Senior Coordinator Jordan Bullard says people should be relaxed and have fun.

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News
7:16 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Draft environmental impact statement released for massive transmission project

The Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming is taking public comments on a long awaited 725 mile long transmission project.  The Trans West Express transmission project was started in 2008 and is intended to take renewable energy from south central Wyoming to Nevada.  Wyoming B-L-M Spokeswoman Beverly Gorney says they’ve had to consider a number of environmental and other issues in the draft environmental impact statement.

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News
8:25 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Wyoming highways rank third in the nation

Wyoming’s highways rank third in the nation in performance and efficiency.  That’s according to an annual highway report by the Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank that studies public policy.  Author David Hartgen says Wyoming gets a lot less money than other states, but spends it well.

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