Bob Beck

News Director

Phone: 307-766-6626

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

Listen to the whole show

A listing of today's stories

    As the Bureau of Land Management begins to offer greater protections for Sage Grouse, those in the conservation community are welcoming the news.  Steve Holmer with the American Bird Conservancy says with the Sage Grouse listed as a candidate for Endangered Species Act Protection the new approach is overdue.  

Holmer-"You know, I think to their credit, BLM is trying to get ahead of this issue. We’re pleased to see the BLM adopt this strategy – they’re on the right track."

Listen to the story

The Grand Teton Music Festival debuted 50 years ago, and has grown into one of the most respected summer concert series in the nation. The orchestra is made up of all-star musicians from around the world, and it’s a staple in Jackson Hole. And some believe it is one of the best kept secrets in the country.

      The Wyoming legislature is undergoing a redrawing of legislative districts due to a change in population.   One impact will be that sitting Senators Wayne Johnson of Cheyenne  and Curt Meier of LaGrange  will now be in the same district.  Johnson’s term is up next year and Meier would have two years left in his term.   However, the legislative committee that is redrawing the districts has decided that the seat should be up for re-election, meaning that Meier’s remaining two years will be voided.  

Wyoming Legislature

The Legislature’s Joint Health and Labor committee has sent a bill to the full legislature that would allow a steering committee to continue working on developing a state run health exchange.  Eventually Wyoming would have the option to partner with other states in the future. 

The exchange is a marketplace where small businesses and individuals can purchase and compare insurance. 

House Committee Co-Chair Elaine Harvey has served on the steering committee considering what Wyoming’s exchange should look like.  She favors an approach that would limit federal impact.

 The legislature’s Joint Health and Labor Committee has approved a proposed bill that would give the Wyoming Insurance Commission authority to conduct financial audits and correct problems if a insurance trust does not have enough money to pay its claims. 

The legislation stems from the Wyoming School Board Association Insurance Trust that was found to have a 3-point-4 million dollar deficit earlier this year. 

University of Wyoming

As the Wyoming Cowboys football team prepares to take on Temple at the New Mexico Bowl -- UW's second bowl appearance in three years -- Head Coach Dave Christensen says it is clear that the football program is better overall. 

Wyoming started a freshman quarterback along with a number of underclassmen this season. Despite their youth, the team finished 8-4 and third place in the conference.   

Christensen says when you look at the team as whole, the future is bright.

Governor Matt Mead presented his budget to the Joint Appropriations Committee and re-asserted his position that the state does not need to hurry to cut budgets.

Senate JAC Chairman Phil Nicholas has suggested cuts of five to eight percent are needed, so that the state can start setting aside money for future needs.  Governor Mead says they should decide what government services are critical and determine what money the state would need to fund those services.

Governor Matt Mead released his proposed state budget for the next two years.  The governor says it includes opportunities for savings and cuts 17 million dollars from the existing budget.  But some in the legislature hope to cut even more in coming weeks.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

Listen to Interview

A moment ago we heard about efforts to reduce the state budget, now we will get the opinion of governor Matt Mead.  The governor announced 17 million dollars in budget reductions in his first budget Thursday.  But that was far short of what some lawmakers want.  He joins us from his office in Cheyenne.

 The draft Environmental Impact Statement concerning the proposed Gateway West Transmission project has garnered some concerns about a familiar topic, sage grouse. 

The 11-hundred mile transmission line project for Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power would travel from Glenrock across southern Wyoming into Idaho.

Governor Matt Mead says that while he made reductions in his proposed biennial budget, he does not favor the five-to-eight percent cuts supported by some legislators. 

Mead reduced more than 17 million dollars of ongoing spending in his budget, while increasing spending for roads and local government infrastructure.   Some legislators want budget reductions, so that the state  can increase its budget reserve account to three billion dollars. 

    This afternoon Governor Matt Mead will announce his budget proposal for the next two years.  Despite the fact that the state has one-point-five billion dollars in reserve, top lawmakers are calling for cuts to raise the reserve bank account to roughly three-billion dollars.  Governor Mead has told legislators that he will offer modest cuts in this two year budget, until he has time to determine where the best places are to cut further.  Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Phil Nicholas is calling for cuts of eight percent.  He says if the state waits for two more years, it could be

The administrator of Wyoming’s Economic Analysis Division says the state’s long range economic forecast is that revenues for energy development should be stable.  Some lawmakers contend that recent revenue reports suggest that Wyoming will have less money in the future, and they want state agencies to trim budgets between five and eight percent. 

But Buck McVeigh who co-chaired the state economic forecast says it is far from dire.  But he added during an interview on Tuesday that the very high prices Wyoming has received for its natural gas  will likely level off.       

 A federal appeals court has ruled that Grizzlies still need federal endangered species protection due to concerns about the decline of White Bark pine, a key food source.  The ruling by the 9th circuit court of appeals means that the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service must study the threat of White Bark pine before de-listing can move forward in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.  Mike Clarke with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition is also calling on Fish and Wildlife to expand the Grizzlies habitat area.

 The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says that the state’s unemployment in October was at five-point-seven percent, well below national figures of nine percent.   David Bullard is a Senior Economist with the department.

“The unemployment rate came down a tenth of percent from September to October.  But it has really been in the narrow range of five point seven to five point nine in the past few months, so little change.  But it is lower than a year ago.”

     The Wyoming Cowboys football team has reached a goal, but the head coach says there is more to do.  With Saturday’s 31-10 win over New Mexico, the Cowboys became eligible for a post season bowl game with a 7-3 record.  It’s a goal that few thought was possible with Wyoming starting a freshman quarterback and several other young players.  But Head Coach Dave Christensen said Saturday that he always believed.

Former U-S Senator Al Simpson admits he is dismayed by the happenings in Congress. 

Simpson says it is all about keeping the political party strong and has little to do with solving problems.

“You have people who come there that don’t even want to govern," Simpson says.

"They just want to stick a stick in the spoke of the bicycle of government. And that makes it different because they don’t want to say anything at their party, so they just get nasty with the other party.”

The UW American Heritage Center is asking Wyoming residents for input about the energy boom in eastern Wyoming, for a history project. 

Archivist Leslie Waggener says they’re interested in hearing from residents of Platte, Goshen and eastern Laramie counties about the potential oil boom surrounding drilling in the Niobrara formation.  She plans on asking a number of questions: "How are they preparing?  What help do they need?  What help do they need from the state?  What help do they need from the industry?  How is that back and forth going with the various players?"

Listen to the story

Wyoming manages a number of state lands, but frequently people do not understand what they mean to the state.  Ryan Lance oversees the office of State Lands and Investments and he joins us today to explain how important they are to the state budget.