Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation
Our MIssion

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation contribution to broadcasting in Wisconsin encompasses a strategic, long term vision for enhancing, promoting and supporting the broadcast industry by encouraging the preservation of broadcast history, participating in public affairs activities in the State of Wisconsin and providing educational opportunities for professional broadcasters and those who seek future careers in the broadcast industry.

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.

  • Tom Koser

    Tom Koser is an exemplary model of a local broadcaster who is dedicated to his local roots and committed to community service through broadcasting. Koser has made numerous contributions to broadcasting as an industry as a station owner and as a highly engaged member of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association where he served on the Board of Directors and as WBA Chair.

    Koser started his career in 1981 as an account executive at WISM-AM/FM in Madison for Mid-West Family Broadcasting after graduating from the UW-Platteville Broadcast Management program. He served the company for eight years as a general sales manager and general manager for stations in Illinois before starting Koser Radio Group in 1988. Koser first purchased WJMC-AM/FM in Rice Lake, and then built a 14 station group in Hayward, Rhinelander, and Escanaba/Marquette, Michigan. He owns and operates six stations in his home area of Rice Lake and Hayward. He serves on numerous boards and formed the Rice Lake Celebrity Charity Classic organization that raises more than $100,000 a year for local youth organizations.

    Koser has established a tradition of excellence and effectiveness that he will pass to the next generation.

  • Chris Lytle

    Chris Lytle’s innovative training has reached hundreds of thousands of broadcast salespeople throughout the world and his entrepreneurial spirit has its roots in Wisconsin broadcasting. He has helped radio sellers and their managers build careers and realize levels of personal success they had only dreamed of. Many people call him “mentor.”

    Lytle began his career in 1972, at WCLT-AM/FM in Newark, Ohio and joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison in 1973 where he was quickly promoted to local sales manager. It was there that he modeled relationship selling and coached with expressions like “Your clients get better when you get better.” Lytle joined American TV in 1978 where he continued developing the character of “Crazy TV Lenny” in TV and radio spots. In 1983, Lytle, along with his partner and wife Sarah McCann, launched The AdVisory Board, a sales training company based in Madison where they produced recorded sales training sessions and management seminars that have touched more than 250,000 sellers, programmers, managers, and advertisers. Lytle has written four books, numerous distance learning courses, and given more than 2,300 presentations on four continents and in all 50 states always proudly representing Wisconsin broadcasters.

  • Bob Smith

    Bob Smith exemplifies leadership in television broadcasting through a career of leading stations and staffs in Wisconsin and throughout the country. Smith started and grew his career in Wisconsin and continues to live in Wisconsin in his position of Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Gray Television.

    Smith was an account executive at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire when he started his career in 1986. He later became the station’s local sales manager. His career with Benedek Broadcasting continued over the following decade taking him to leadership roles at stations in Virginia and Illinois where he went from leading sales departments to leading whole stations. In 2000, he became general manager at WMTV-TV in Madison and he eventually expanded his responsibilities to overseeing seven markets for Gray Television after it acquired Benedek Broadcasting in 2002. He was promoted to his current position in 2013 where he has corporate responsibilities and oversees revenue and operations for Gray stations in the Midwest and Western regions of the U.S.

    Smith is a mentor who guides his employees while giving them autonomy. He is credited with making stations run better and making them more community minded. 

  • Gary Timm

    Gary Timm is best known for his dedication to promoting and supporting the Emergency Alert System in Wisconsin and nationally. He embodies the commitment Wisconsin broadcasters have to serving their communities. His career in engineering, numerous consultant roles, and leadership as Broadcast Chair of the Wisconsin EAS Committee for more than 25 years have demonstrated his expertise, commitment to excellence, passion for broadcasting, and dedication to the important role broadcasters play in keeping people informed and safe.

    Timm was an engineer at WTMJ-AM, WKTI-FM, and WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee starting in 1973 and spent much of his career working on EAS issues. Timm is the primary author of the Wisconsin State EAS plan, which was the first in the nation to be completed. From 2010 until his retirement in 2015, Timm was a senior consultant supporting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In retirement Timm continues to be involved in EAS issues and has assisted the National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, Amber Alert, the FCC, and FEMA. He has authored numerous articles and handbook chapters and is recognized as an EAS expert. He has won acclaim for his ability to explain technical issues to a non-technical audience.

Our Mission

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation contribution to broadcasting in Wisconsin encompasses a strategic, long term vision for enhancing, promoting and supporting the broadcast industry by encouraging the preservation of broadcast history, participating in public affairs activities in the State of Wisconsin and providing educational opportunities for professional broadcasters and those who seek future careers in the broadcast industry.

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