Job Shadow: Dean Kallenbach of Wisconsin Public Radio

By: Jonathan Fortier

I have always been interested in broadcast journalism as a career. My favorite type of broadcast journalism is radio, and specifically, public radio. For my job shadow, I decided to contact Dean Kallenbach of Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) in order to gain professional insight to the industry. Kallenbach is the senior regional manager of WPR, in Eau Claire.

I arrived at the WPR building around 8:45 a.m. and was immediately welcomed by Kallenbach. He gave me a tour of the building, introduced me to the staff, and a brief overview of the daily operations.

Kallenbach invited me into his office, at which time I conducted the first part of my interview. I have always known Kallenbach as the advisor to the Blugold Radio Sunday organization, but this interview opened my eyes to just how important his job is. In addition to finding talented broadcasters and helping them advance in the industry, Kallenbach is responsible for overseeing 33 different WPR stations across Wisconsin. Each station focuses on local news, and often find ways to locally connect a national story.

While I was there, I had the opportunity to sit in on the show, “The West Side”, hosted by Rich Kremer. This is a call-in show that focuses on issues specific to western Wisconsin. The show featured an interview with Sheriff Dennis Smith and Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. Kremer and his guests discussed active shooter training across western Wisconsin. This is an interesting topic in the country now, and it was interesting to hear the callers discuss it with the show. During the Show, I learned how a call-in program is set up. One of the office staff answers the phone and then takes down their name and what they would like to talk about. Then the caller is placed on hold and Kremer can decide which caller’s thought fits the conversation best.

After the Show, I went to Kallenbach’s office to finish my interview. We discussed his recommendations for beginning broadcasters. Kallenbach thinks that internships are the most important part of gaining experience. In fact, the Eau Claire WPR office has an annual summer internship that is given out to one lucky student. This student gets to work closely with Kallenbach and his staff 40 hours a week while getting paid.

Overall, I learned a lot from Kallenbach about the radio broadcasting industry. His valuable insight has further compelled me to continue my pursuit of a career in radio.

 

This is a clip of my interview With Dean Kallenbach where he discusses his job and education background.

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