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 76 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 has covered the Wyoming Legislature longer than any broadcaster in the state.  He 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, walking his dog or cheering on his beloved Packers, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Salukis.

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Healthcare
4:58 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Committee proposed to oversee Federal Health Insurance Exchange for Wyoming

Sen. Bill Landen of Casper

After failing to meet federal deadlines to develop a Wyoming based Health Insurance exchange, the legislature’s Joint Health committee has developed a committee to oversee a federal version of the exchange. 


A health insurance exchange is a marketplace where people can compare policies and purchase health insurance.  Since Wyoming did not indicate a willingness to develop an exchange, the federal government will develop one for state citizens by 2014. 


Casper Senator Bill Landen says they want to work with federal officials.

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Medicaid
6:59 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Appropriations Committee considers merits, drawbacks, uncertainties of Medicaid expansion

Members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee are worried that if they don’t decide to expand Medicaid services in the Wyoming, that there could be negative repercussions for the state and citizens. 


The committee has asked the Wyoming Department of Health to further study all sides of a possible expansion.   Committee members were told that an expansion would likely save the state several million dollars. 

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Education
6:52 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

State Department of Education loses power, seat on board after missing deadlines

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill addresses the Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A legislative committee has voted to take responsibilities away from the State Department of Education and give them to the State Board of Education. 

After the department missed deadlines for developing a model that would measure education performance in the state, the Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability voted to give the State Board of Education charge of the model.  State Superintendent Cindy Hill was also stripped of her membership on the state board. 

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News
8:43 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Gov. Mead supports Wind Energy Tax Credit extension

Although Wyoming’s Congressional delegation favors phasing out the Wind Energy Tax Credit this month, Governor Matt Mead would like to see it continue. 

The governor says he supports the Western Governors Association’s stance that the tax credit should be extended, but eventually phased out.

“I am one that I think there is opportunity in wind production, it is a renewable.  But it is not without its own problems.  And trying to get wind farms put up and the transmission necessary to get out the electrons is not without its economic and environmental challenges.”

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Federal Funding
6:48 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Sen. Hastert will draft a Medicaid expansion bill

Governor Matt Mead has said that he opposes expanding Medicaid services in the state, but a State Senator disagrees. 

Democrat John Hastert of Green River says he is drafting legislation to expand services, which would allow more residents to participate in the program. 

“Wyoming will save money by participating in that, so I am in favor of doing that.  Simply because I believe it will be savings to the state and a benefit to the citizens of Wyoming.”

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Budget
5:19 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Wyoming’s Joint Appropriations Committee discusses the governor’s budget proposal

Governor Matt Mead’s proposed budget was met with mostly positive reaction from members of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.  
 

Mead presented his budget to the committee Monday and said that he wants to eliminate a number of vacant positions and cut more than $60 million from existing budgets. 
 

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News
10:33 am
Mon December 10, 2012

A Legislative Committee will re-visit the topic of Health Insurance Exchanges

The Legislature’s Joint Health and Labor Committee will once again take up the issue of Health Insurance Exchanges this week.   An exchange is an on-line marketplace where consumers can purchase health insurance. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have to either set up their own exchanges or the federal government will set one up for them.  Senator Dan Dockstader is among those preparing exchange legislation for the state, but he says Wyoming needs a partner if the state is to be part of a non-federal marketplace.

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Open Spaces
5:02 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

December 7th, 2012

Credit Willow Belden

Converse County oil boom draws concerns from residents
In October, we reported that Chesapeake Energy had drilled a series of oil wells near Douglas, very close to people’s houses. Chesapeake says the area will likely continue to be a core drilling region. That has some area residents uneasy. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Taxes, budget
3:01 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Joint Revenue Committee supports raising state gas tax

The Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee has recommended approval of a bill that would raise the state gas tax by $.10. If approved by the full legislature, the gas tax would be raised to 24 cents a gallon and Wyoming Department of Transportation officials say the majority of that money would be used to improve the state’s roads. 


A number of groups from the Wyoming Taxpayers Association to the Wyoming Mining Association say that they support the increase.  Steve Perkins of Perkins Oil in Rawlins doubts most consumers will feel an impact.

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Open Spaces
6:46 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

State Superintendent Cindy Hill Interview

Cindy Hill Superintendent

State Superintendent Cindy Hill Interview

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Open Spaces
6:02 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

November 30th, 2012

Slot Machine Word

Gambling addiction in Fremont County could be on rise, but not on radar

There have been rumors that Fremont County is experiencing a rise in gambling addiction amongst its residents. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that whether the rumors are true or not is still unclear, but some services are popping up to address it regardless.

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News
5:10 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Gov. Mead supports gas tax, equivocates on Medicaid expansion

Gov. Matt Mead

Governor Matt Mead hosted a press conference regarded his proposed state budget, and discussed two hot-button issues: a gas tax and Medicaid expansion.


Mead called on legislators to approve a ten-cent increase in the state gas tax.  The tax would raise 71 million dollars of long term stable funding for roads.  The governor says the state has not increased the tax in 14 years and the need is great.

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Prevention Management Org.’s Rich Lindsey talks about alcohol, tobacco, and suicide in WY

WYSAC

Issues that include alcohol, tobacco and suicide are serious problems in Wyoming.  In recent months Community prevention specialists in each county in the state have been compiling a needs assessment developed by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center, or WYSAC.  The specialists are trying to identify the extent of the problem in each of the three topic areas and the next step is to try and find some solutions.  Rich Lindsey, who represents the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming says they picked those topic areas for a reason.

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Open Spaces
4:12 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Black Dog Animal Rescue saves lives

Bob Beck

Wyoming Animal Shelters are overcrowded and that means many pets get killed every year.  But some organizations are taking an aggressive approach in trying to get more animals adopted and have fewer animals put to death.  One of those is the Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne.  The program involves a number of volunteers and a strong on-line and social media effort.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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News
3:57 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Mead prepares to submit budget to lawmakers

This week Governor Matt Mead is submitting his proposed budget to Wyoming legislators.  The budget will include some spending priorities, but will also feature a wide range of budget cuts, some as high as eight percent.  K-12 education has been viewed by lawmakers as untouchable due to the fact that the state lost an expensive lawsuit over school funding.  But Mead believes some adjustments can be made in the amount of spending that goes into new schools.

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News
7:55 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Comment period closes Monday for Shoshone's first plan in 25 years

The deadline for public comments for the proposed Shoshone National Forest plan is Monday.  It’s the first plan for the forest in 25 years. 

The plan has generated a lot of interest from multiple-use groups who want to expand areas of access.  The Sierra Club’s Connie Wilbert believes the plan could allow more motorized use, and that concerns her.

"The problem is that the illegal, unauthorized trails that go off of the legal trails are an enormous problem on the forest right now,” Wilbert said. “They’re getting worse every year."

Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

November 16th, 2012

Health Department director proposed new Medicaid Idea 
One of the costs that continues to grow in Wyoming’s budget is the cost of Medicaid.  Lawmakers were so distressed that they ordered the Department of Health to look for ways to control those costs. Department of Health Director Tom Forslund has proposed a plan to address the issue.  But first he explains why those costs have gone up.

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Health Department director proposed new Medicaid Idea

One of the costs that continues to grow in Wyoming’s budget is the cost of Medicaid.  Lawmakers were so distressed that they ordered the Department of Health to look for ways to control those costs. Department of Health Director Tom Forslund has proposed a plan to address the issue.  But first he explains why those costs have gone up.

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News
4:53 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Mead says budget cuts will help cover costs of emergencies

One reason why the Governor is going ahead with budget cuts is because he wants to make sure the state has enough money to pay for emergencies. 

For example, the state will likely spend 50-million dollars to pay for 2012 forest fires.  

Governor Matt Mead said that weather forecast show that there is a good chance that the state will face a similar fire season next year.

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News
4:30 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

UW's Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department draws influx of students

The University of Wyoming says due to the high demand for Petroleum Engineers, there has been a huge increase of students in UW’s Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department. 

Department Head David Bagley notes that UW reinstated the program after it was dropped in 1996.  But due to an increase in energy production, the demand for engineers has skyrocketed.  He says that’s why enrollment increased 55-percent from last year.

News
4:20 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Mead still considering Medicaid expansion

With the re-election of President Obama, Governor Matt Mead said it is finally clear that the Affordable Care Act  will be the law of the land, and the state will need to be prepared by 2014. 

Mead plans to have a recommendation to the legislature on whether to expand Medicaid and how to go about it.   During a news conference, the governor indicated that the state could realize some savings if went ahead with an expansion.

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Elections
4:17 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Park County voters nix sales tax

The Mayor of Cody says residents in her community can expect to see budget cuts and a reduction of services following the failure of a one-percent sales tax which was intended to address infrastructure needs of Park County. 

Mayor Nancy Tia Brown says her community will see some changes: “It was a time for the Cody voters or the county voters to let us know if they wanted to continue things as they were or make adjustments.  And we are going to have to make some adjustments.”

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

November 2nd, 2012

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap
On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap

On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate.

Watch the Debates Online Here

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Elections
6:17 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Chesnut speaks out against "War on Drugs"

A Democrat US Senate candidate says the nation needs to stop its war on drugs.  

Tim Chesnut says the country spends too much money on the effort and should instead try to see the benefits of legalizing some drugs like Marijuana.  Chesnut says such a legalization effort could raise revenue.

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Elections
6:13 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

US Senate candidates talk Medicare

Two candidates for US Senate agree that something needs to be done to assure the affordability of Medicare long-term. 

Democrat Tim Chesnut suggests raising the caps on Medicare.  He says those who make more than 250-thousand dollars need to pay more into the system. 

Republican Senator John Barrasso favors revamping Medicare for those under the age of 55.

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

October 26th, 2012

Gov. Mead reflects on GREG report, promises cuts
The Consensus Revenue estimating group came out with projections that lawmakers will have about 85 million more dollars to spend this session.  The CREG report is main tool government officials use to forecast how much money the state will have.  Governor Matt Mead joins Bob Beck to discuss the report and the impact it has on his budget as he prepares to present it in December.

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Open Spaces
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Tim Chesnut is challenging incumbent Sen. Barrasso in US Congressional race

Longtime Albany County Commissioner Tim Chesnut is running for his first federal office this year.  The 46 year old Laramie native is a Democratic candidate for the U-S Senate seat currently held by John Barrasso.  Chesnut says his years as a local government politician helps him better understand the needs of citizens.  He joins me to discuss some of the issues.

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Open Spaces
3:22 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Incumbent Sen. Barrasso is running to keep his seat

We now turn our attention to a couple of political candidates. U-S Senator John Barrasso was originally appointed to the U-S Senate to fill the seat of the late Senator Craig Thomas.  He then was elected to a four year term in 2008.  Senator Barrasso had previously served as a State Senator and was a Casper Orthopedic Surgeon for 24 years.  Barrasso tells Bob Beck that he has been campaigning across the state and says there has been one main topic on citizen’s minds…

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News
5:15 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

CREG projects $85 million increase in state revenue

Wyoming got some good news from the latest Consensus Revenue Estimating Group report, but it won’t be enough to stop budget cuts from occurring.   CREG reports that state revenue should increase by $85 million, mainly from projected Sales and Use tax revenue. 

But Governor Matt Mead says that will not be enough to keep him from suggesting eight-percent budget cuts to the legislature.  

CREG Co-Chairman Bill Mai says the group is cautious about a downturn in the coal industry, but they remain hopeful about other energy prices.

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