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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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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Open Spaces
2:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

June 28th, 2013

Wyoming Lawmakers Outraged at Obama’s Climate Plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket.

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Open Spaces
2:00 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming Education Association President is pleased with where the state is heading

Kathy Vetter
Credit Photo Courtesy of the Wyoming Education Association

Monday the President of the Wyoming Education Association Kathy Vetter will join other colleagues from across the nation in Atlanta for the National Education Association Representative Assembly where they will discuss a number of education issues.  Kathy Vetter joined Bob Beck to discuss some issues that might come up and give us her thoughts on some education issues facing Wyoming.  One issue is on the agenda surrounds school safety and gun safety prevention.

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Open Spaces
1:56 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming gears up for adventure race

Credit Photo courtesy of Cowboy Tough Adventure Race

In July, Wyoming enters the world of adventure racing when the state hosts the Cameco and City of Casper Cowboy Tough Adventure Race.  It’s a 3 ½-day race across the state that begins on July 18th. 

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Open Spaces
1:51 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Grand Teton Music Festival returns

Credit Photo courtesy of Grand Teton Music Festival

Next week the annual Grand Teton Music Festival gets underway at the Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with Andrew Palmer Todd, the New Executive Director of the event. He says this event has become well known.

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News
7:28 am
Thu June 20, 2013

WY still not sure how the health insurance exchange will function

The Wyoming Insurance Commissioner says he has no idea how the federal health insurance marketplace, also known as an insurance exchange, will change the health insurance landscape in Wyoming. Tom Hirsig says he has no idea how many companies are considering offering insurance to state residents as part of the exchange.

“Probably companies are going to have to pick the states where they do the most business to start with, but in the future we are hoping that with time there will be more activity inside the exchange or marketplace.”

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News
5:12 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Pew Study shows more one party control of legislative bodies

A review of state legislative work shows that 37 states are led by one party, and that has led to changes in many state laws across country.  The report was published by Stateline, a news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts.  Editor Sandy Johnson says having majorities in legislative bodies helps pass a lot of legislation, from pro-marijuana laws in more Democratic States to loosening gun laws in more Republican states like Wyoming.  Johnson says that it’s led to other changes as well.

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Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wyoming’s Oil and Gas Supervisor discusses issues from flaring to fracking

Natural gas, a byproduct of oil extraction, is flared at a well pad near Douglas
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with the new supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Grant Black.  Since he started the job a few weeks ago, Black has been dealing with issues ranging from the flaring of natural gas to water contamination.  He says the flaring issue is interesting.

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Laramie software company makes a dent in the medical world

Happy Jack employee Spencer Buda
Credit Bob Beck

In our occasional series on upstart businesses we take you to Laramie to tell you about a software company that is making a dent in the world of medicine.  Mona Gamboa started Happy Jack Software in 2004 after she left her software job in Texas to join her husband who took a job at the University of Wyoming.  Gamboa got a Master in Science in E Business from U-W and started Happy Jack software in the U-W Student Union.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
4:04 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Author discusses the book Wyoming’s Outlaw Trail

Mac Blewer
Credit Photo courtesy Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with author and historian Mac Blewer about his entertaining book called “Wyoming’s Outlaw Trail.”  It’s about the outlaws that frequented Wyoming in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  For instance he says Baggs, Wyoming was a popular hangout.

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Open Spaces
5:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

May 31st, 2013

Uranium yellowcake powder

Wyoming missed out on last uranium boom, but planning for the future

Wyoming Public Radio has for years reported that the state is on the verge of a uranium boom. It turns out the state missed the peak of that boom, and is now betting on slower, more conservative growth. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.

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Petition
4:57 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Petition to restore powers to State Superintendent fails

The Wyoming Secretary of State’s office says a petition drive to repeal a law removing powers from the State Superintendent has fallen short. 

State Elections Director Peggy Nighswonger says she notified the Wyoming Constitution Party that the referendum will not be placed on the ballot.

“The petition filed on May 28th did not have the number of signatures required by Wyoming’s Constitution in Article 3 section 52,” Nighswonger said.

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Open Spaces
4:31 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Wyoming Trails Summit hopes to improve communities

For the first time, non-motorized trail enthusiasts will gather formally to discuss ways that communities, land managers, and others can improve trails across the state. Tim Young of Wyoming Pathways and Angela Emery, the Director of Casper’s Platte River Trails talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck about the Wyoming Trails Summit.

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