Just back from visiting an Open House event at Vilas Hall studios
where some of my heroes do their work.
I found out that the first Wisconsin Public Radio broadcast was a morse code weather report for farmers first broadcast in 1918. The morse code was transcribed and posted in public and in many Wisconsin locations, an operator would transcribe the report and call farmers personally to deliver the weather news. That show evolved into a 30 minute farm report, which would later evolve into Larry Meiller’s show. This is why his is the longest running radio show in the nation at 92 years!
I was able to thank Michael Feldman for his story Madison: the Election at Home in person. And he was able to tell me he feels sad for Russ Feingold. More than one audience member was very thankful for WPR’s great journalism, and Norm Gilliland had some true Old Time Radio fans in the house.
As for the future of WPR, a web site overhaul is in the works. It will offer more ways for them to push stories and music at you – assuming you opt-in to that. And they will be providing more news through two additional employees to come on at the La Crosse and Eau Claire stations.
I sat through 4 discussion panels, and the repeated themes brought up by the audience were, “We’re worried about the future of public radio given our new Republican leadership” and “We are so glad to have public radio”.
Our state’s public radio service was an important window to the world when I was growing up in rural Northern Wisconsin in that time BEFORE we had satellite, cable, and internet. I am also so glad we have our public radio.