Generations of students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have credited their passion for journalism to Professor James Hoyt. When Hoyt retired, a colleague estimated he had taught more than 25,000 students during his 29 years on the faculty. His popular freshman course, Introduction to Mass Communications, attracted some 500 students every semester and was the gateway course to major in journalism. Professor Hoyt primarily taught courses in broadcast news and journalism ethics. He also served as Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for ten years. His former students work in TV newsrooms throughout the country and at all major networks. His professional experience includes time with WSAW-TV in Wausau (his hometown), WHA-TV in Madison, WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee and NBC News in Washington, DC. Throughout his career he also consulted for NBC News and more than a dozen local television stations. Hoyt conducted extensive research on the effects of cameras in courtrooms. In 1978-79 he was a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Committee on Cameras in the Courtroom, which drafted the policies directing the use of cameras in Wisconsin courts. He is co-author – with the late Ed Bliss, formerly of CBS News – of the esteemed text, Writing News for Broadcast. In 2001 the International Radio and Television Society selected Hoyt as its Frank Stanton Fellow and in 2002 the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication named him Outstanding Broadcast Educator. Hoyt was elected to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2007.
Director of Engineering and Operations, WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee, WI. Tony Lucas is the Director of Engineering and Operations at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, WI. He has been a stalwart leader serving in various capacities within the organization for the past 41 years. After earning Associates Degrees in Photography and Broadcast Engineering from Milwaukee Area Technical College, Tony began his career at WTMJ in 1976. He became recognized as a leader early on through his service as Union Steward for 5 years and then as Chief Steward for 20 years. He worked as Engineering Supervisor from 1995 until 2002, after which he transitioned to the role of Chief Engineer. In this position, Tony not only managed the day-to-day engineering operations, but for periods was also responsible for broadcast production, facilities and maintenance of the station. Following many years of wearing many hats, Tony was promoted to the role of Director of Engineering and Operations in 2015. Beyond his work at WTMJ, Tony Lucas has shown an unwavering commitment to community engagement. His focus has primarily been on education and the arts, and he has notably been recognized as the longest-standing volunteer with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO). Beginning in 2012, MYSO established the “Tony Lucas Award” in recognition of Tony’s dedication to the organization for more than two decades, and in particular, his commitment to MYSO’s Progressions program, a twoyear string training program for underserved third and fourth grade students who live or attend school in the City of Milwaukee. The scholarship, given to one outstanding second year Progressions student, provides MYSO membership and private lessons. Tony Lucas was also given the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s “Collaborative Spirit Award” in March of 2017.
Dan Needles is WISN’s sports director and sports anchor for the weekday 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, and the host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday”. The Waukesha native has worked for 27 years at WISN-TV, covering every major sports event at the local and national levels, including 5 Rose Bowls, the Green Bay Packers win in Super Bowl XLV and their defeat in Super Bowl XXXII, the Brewers run to the 2011 NLCS, Wisconsin’s back-to-back appearances in the Final Four and Marquette University’s journey to the 2003 Final Four. Prior to coming to Milwaukee, Dan served as weekend sports anchor/reporter at WAOW-TV in Wausau, as sports director at WNBK-FM in New London, Wisconsin and as the sports and news director at WCFW-FM in Chippewa Falls. His award-winning work at WISN 12 has included several Wisconsin Broadcast Association awards for the “Best Sportscast”, a Milwaukee Press Club award for the “Best Outside Sports Newscast” for coverage of the final game at County Stadium called “Thanks for the Memories,” and a Milwaukee Press Club honor for “Best Planned Coverage” of “Forever 19,” a special on the Hall of Fame induction of former Brewer Robin Yount. For the last 12 years, Dan has also hosted a daily sports talk show on 540 ESPN in Milwaukee. He made a cameo appearance in the movie Dare to Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story, and was the winning contestant on a special sportscasters edition of Stump The Schwab on ESPN. Dan received a B.S. in radio/TV/film from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He is also a graduate of Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.
Jim Wilson is the assistant news director at WITI-TV Fox 6 in Milwaukee. He started his career there in 1990, winning numerous awards including the National Press Photographer Association’s Regional Photographer of the Year award in 1996. He served as the station’s Chief Photographer for eight years, starting in 2008. Under Jim’s leadership, WITI-TV was named the NPPA’s National Medium Market Station of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. When Jim graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1986, his plan was to be a commercial photographer. As fate would have it, he stumbled into a job as a news photographer at WREX-TV in Rockford, Illinois. With no experience, but a willingness to learn he quickly embraced and excelled at storytelling moving on to stations in Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky before moving to Milwaukee. In 2003, he earned a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, going to school at night while shooting stories during the day. He was promoted earlier this year to the station’s number two position in the newsroom.
Marko “Mark” Zelich was born in 1928 in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His broadcasting career started in 1951, when he worked for six years at radio stations in Michigan and Ashland, Merrill and Wausau, Wisconsin. In 1957 he joined WSAU TV/AM/FM as its sports director and became news director in 1965. But Wausau viewers knew him best as the 6 and 10 p.m. sports anchor from 1957-1977. In 1994, Zelich resigned as news director but remained at the station in a parttime role through 2007, continuing many of the popular franchises he created, including: Channel 7 Men’s (1961) and Women’s (1965) Golf classics, Ladies (1964) and Men’s (1980) Bowling tournaments and Boys and Girls High School Athletic All Stars (1961). Those events attracted more than 45,000 participants and all continue to this day. Zelich retired after a 56-year career, 50 at Channel 7. He married Nancy O’Leary in 1959 and has four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Zelich’s career highlights include: • Induction into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame (1998) • Snowmobile Hall of Fame (2015) in honor of broadcasting the World Snowmobile Championships for 20 years • Greater Wasau East High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2016) • Broadcasted statewide telecast of more than 100 Iowa High School Boys Basketball Championship games in Des Moines (1971-1987) • Voice of University of Wisconsin Badgers football for 35 stations in the Wisconsin Radio Network. (1959-1970) • Broadcasted Channel 7 Men’s and Women’s Golf Classics for 35 years