The Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame was created in 1989 to honor those broadcasters who have devoted their careers to broadcasting and its development in Wisconsin, to recognize their outstanding service to broadcasting, their communities, and their state, over at least a fifteen-year career in the industry, at least ten of which were served in Wisconsin.
The first twelve members of the Hall of Fame were inducted during the 1989 WBA Summer Conference. Since 1989, 132 outstanding broadcasters have been honored with Hall of Fame inductions. Inductees are chosen each year from among nominations by WBA members. Broadcasters who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame include managers, personalities, engineers, reporters, educators and those broadcasting pioneers who were at once all of the above.
In October 1989, Alfred C. Sykes, then Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, came to Wisconsin to formally dedicate a Hall of Fame display, including plaques honoring the inductees, at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library in Madison. In 2010, due to remodeling of the SHSW facility, the display was removed and put in storage, awaiting a suitable new permanent display site. We are proud to announce that this year we finally found that new home for the permanent display, as on April 23, 2015, nearly 100 broadcasters (including many Hall of Famers) attended a wonderful dedication reception at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.
In the words of Bill Hurwitz, WBA Foundation Board Member, who was instrumental in securing the new location: The location in downtown Milwaukee to display the WBA Hall of Fame is perfect as the biggest hotel in the state represents the best of the best from all over the state. The Hilton hotel in downtown Milwaukee has always been a favorite venue for many radio and television events for decades. In fact, even today a large television tower still stands atop the hotel. Ben Marcus, the founder of the Marcus Corporation, at one time owned and operated several radio stations in Southeastern Wisconsin; Mr. Marcus, and the family have always been a true friend of local, over the air radio. Mr. Marcus was the founder of the Children’s Variety Club of Wisconsin, a major charity that tied into Wisconsin radio, and television stations for decades. To have a major wing in a major Marcus hotel displaying the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame is a marriage that can only be described as perfect!
The Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame also has a permanent, virtual display at the online Wisconsin Museum of Broadcasting which debuted in 2009 at www.wisconsinbroadcastingmuseum.org, where the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame Gallery is one of our major attractions.
2015 Hall of Fame Inductees
Don Carmichael capped a long, successful and wide-ranging career in broadcasting by serving as president and general manager of WBAY-TV in Green Bay for more than two decades before retiring in 2014. Under his leadership, the station was known for its commitment to comprehensive and relevant local journalism, community engagement, and the development of innovative multimedia content.
Carmichael, a native of Miami, Florida, earned a degree in advertising at the University of Florida School of Journalism and Communications, and he started his career in broadcasting in 1973. He worked first in sales at WAIA Radio and then as local sales manager at WGBS Radio, both in Miami. In 1979, he joined WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, and worked his way up to vice president of sales. He subsequently worked as a multi-station marketing consultant and joined WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, before taking the helm of WBAY-TV in 1993. In addition to his extensive involvement in local community and charity causes, Carmichael contributed to strengthening the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and served as WBA chair in 2002.
Charles A. Culver
Dr. Charles A. Culver (1875-1969) was Wisconsin’s first broadcasting pioneer. In 1907, Dr. Culver became chair of the physics department at Beloit College and immediately began wireless experiments at the college. The following year he sent a wireless signal from a campus rooftop in Beloit to a public library 15 miles away in Rockford, Illinois. In 1909, he gave the first public demonstration of wireless telegraphy in Wisconsin by broadcasting the results of a track meet at the college’s athletic field to receivers on campus and at the Beloit Daily News.
By 1910, Dr. Culver had a 1,000-watt wireless station in daily operation at the college. He received Wisconsin’s first radio license–9XB, for Beloit College–in 1913. During World War I, Dr. Culver enlisted with the U.S. Signal Corps and formed a Beloit Signal Corps Company that saw service in Europe. After the war, he returned to Beloit College for a short time and then worked in the private sector for three years before returning to his alma mater, Carleton College, in Minnesota, where he put one of Minnesota’s first radio stations on the air and subsequently served 23 years as physics department chair.
Sandra K. Shockley
Sandra K. Shockley co-founded Shockley Communications Corporation in 1985 with her husband, Terry Shockley. She provided instrumental leadership as they built the company into one of Wisconsin’s signature broadcasting groups of the 1980s and 1990s. She headed the company’s radio division and served as executive vice president and director of new development from 1985 to 2001. During her tenure, Shockley Communications expanded to include seven radio stations in three markets, along with the Wisconsin Television network.
A teacher who earned her degree at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, Shockley broke into broadcasting with a two-year stint as on-air talent for KMCD Radio in Fairfield. After a move to Wisconsin and co-founding Shockley Communications, she quickly excelled in sales and became national sales manager for two Shockley stations, WOLX-FM in the Madison market and WZTR-FM in Milwaukee. Known for generously contributing time and talent to worthy causes, Shockley has chaired the Greater Madison Visitors & Convention Bureau and served on the boards of many community organizations, including the Madison School Foundation, the University of Wisconsin Veterinary School, and the Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Club. In 2001 she became co-owner and vice president of Shockley Group, Inc.
Mike Sullivan worked in almost every aspect of radio broadcasting from DJ to Station Manager during his 44-year career, but he is best known for his deep commitment to local news and sports in the Eau Claire market. His enthusiastic work on the air and behind the scenes was instrumental in the growth of sports radio broadcasting in Wisconsin. He called more than 3,600 local games in 30-plus states and, in 1992, turned WBIZ Radio in Eau Claire into the state’s first all-sports station. He also mentored many young announcers who went on to successful careers in other markets.
Sullivan attended Swarthmore College and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and he graduated from Brown Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He broke into broadcasting in 1971 as an overnight disc jockey at WMKC-FM in Oshkosh and, in 1974, joined the Eau Claire stations of what is now iHeartMedia. He worked as part of a Marconi Award-winning morning-show team at WBIZ-FM, where he was on-air for approximately 6,000 shows. As a reporter, he won several awards for documentaries and spot news coverage.
Thomas A. Walker
Thomas A. Walker took a unique path into broadcasting. He entered the industry not as an account executive or disc jockey, but as a chief financial officer with years of corporate experience. The Madison-based company he joined, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, had been founded by his grandfather and then owned by his father. As a result of his accomplishments and leadership–and theirs–Walker is a third-generation member of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame. His grandfather, William E. Walker, was inducted in 1990, and his father, William R. Walker, was inducted in 1995.
Walker earned his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spent 10 years in finance before joining the family company in 1990. He steered the company through the many federal regulatory changes of the next decade, and became president and general manager in 1998. Walker played an important role in strengthening the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association through his service as WBA chair, WBA Foundation treasurer, and founder of the Walker Broadcast Management Institute.