The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association will soon lose its Number 2 executive — and its Number 1 advocate for broadcast engineers.
I realize that the latter title doesn’t actually exist on her résumé. But anyone who knows Linda Baun won’t dispute it.
Linda will leave the WBA and its foundation in September, taking early retirement and moving to Indiana to be closer to family.
In sharing this news with colleagues, she led an email with the quote, “Life happens when you’re planning something else.” She wrote to her boss Michelle Vetterkind, the president/CEO of the association, that “life-changing issues necessitate that I vacate my position.”
She has been with the association since 2006, involved in all manner of its operations including its Awards for Excellence program and Awards Gala, Student Seminar, winter and summer conferences, and numerous other events and training sessions. She coordinated the association’s EEO Assistance Action Plan, ran numerous committees and handled administration of the WBA office.
But outside of Wisconsin — and maybe inside the state too — she probably is best known for her work in helping to run the Broadcasters Clinic. That regional engineering-focused event existed long before she arrived but she is one of the people who has worked hardest to keep it relevant while many other regional events have dwindled. Clinic Committee Chair Kent Aschenbrenner calls her “the heart and soul” of that event.
Linda established her national engineering profile while working for 15 years for the Society of Broadcast Engineers; she did great work as its certification director at a time of significant growth in SBE’s certification programs.
She also is the spouse of Terry Baun, the retired broadcast engineer whose honors include the SBE Lifetime Achievement and Broadcast Engineer of the Year Awards, and whose dedication to the education and support of engineers she shares.
“Terry instilled in me the love for the engineers,” Linda told me. When she had the opportunity to become SBE certification director, he encouraged her to “run it like it was my company.” And his influence in her professional career did not stop there; Terry sent Linda’s résumé to the WBA when the association was looking for a vice president. “Did I mention he didn’t share that with me, before he did this deed?”
Michelle Vetterkind said Linda “earned a well-deserved reputation for always going above and beyond what our members expected of her and the extra special personal touches she added to every event.”
I can speak from my own experience that the phrase “personal touch” is exactly right in describing Linda.
In the WBA press release, Linda is quoted saying, “Who knew that working at a college station, a small-town radio station doing farm reports and logs, could lead me to a Christian station, the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and ultimately to the WBA?”
So I add my appreciation for Linda Baun. The industry is better for her and her work. Congratulations, Linda — don’t forget to bring an ample supply of cheese curds with you.
PS: Linda Baun is often heard to end her phone calls with “I just want to do the best job I can for our broadcast engineers.” I wrote that sentence last evening, intending to use it in the text above. A few hours afterwards, I received an email from her answering another question, in which she wrote: “Being a part of the SBE certification committee and the SBE was truly a wonderful experience. ENGINEERS are the BEST.”
See what I mean?
Paul McLane is the editor in chief of Radio World.