John Laabs

John-LaabsHis 23 years of service to the Wisconsin broadcast industry transformed the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and its Foundation into major statewide and national entities. He started his career as a news reporter at WAOW-TV, Wausau in 1970 and after one year embarked on a 16-year career of government service and governmental advocacy. In 1988, he became President of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. During his 19-year tenure, he expanded the role of the WBA, more than doubling its professional educational offerings for broadcasters and their employees, creating a statewide and national governmental advocacy presence and participating in public and community service activities. Chief among his accomplishments were the creation of the Wisconsin Amber Alert Program, the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program, the Broadcasters EEO Compliance Program, as well as the creation of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation, which he continues to head as President & CEO. He was also instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Walker Broadcast Management Institute, the R. Perry Kidder Broadcast News Resource Center and the Wisconsin Museum of Broadcast History. He also created the Foundation’s Political Debate series, producing and moderating debates in Wisconsin gubernatorial and U.S. Senate campaigns. He has served on the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts Advisory Board, the National Radio Hall of Fame Advisory Board and as President of the Broadcast Executive Director’s Association.

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