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Kyle Wallace and 101.7 The Truth Are Breaking Glass Ceilings

Tony Cartagena

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Timing is everything.

In December of 2020, Good Karma Brands publicly announced their plans to launch 101.7 The Truth, a talk radio station focused on embracing and telling the stories of Milwaukee’s black community.

Months of interviews, planning and hiring’s led to the first full day of broadcasts, Jan. 4, 2021.

After completing graduate school at Central Michigan, Kyle Wallace worked in the Milwaukee area as a high school football coach. He then followed that with a stint as a college recruiter for Marquette University.

On the side, Wallace was a part-time teammate at ESPN Milwaukee, working live radio remotes, producing shows and attending games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, collecting sound during post-game availability.

During a conversation with Barrett News Media, Wallace explained how he was overly happy with his position at Marquette. He took great pride in the reality that he was able to make a difference in the lives of prospective students.

However, he still had this itch. He wanted to be involved in sports media, and needed to create a lane for himself to thrive as an on-air contributor. So he continued working whenever he could at 540 ESPN Milwaukee, another station owned and operated by Good Karma Brands.

“In June of 2020, (Good Karma Brands Founder and CEO) Craig Karmazin reached out to me and asked what I thought about a black station. Really, where do African Americans go for news about the community?” Wallace recalled. “There’s not a station that people go to and can run to when they want to hear black voices, that’s something that’s absent from the Milwaukee media market.

“When he said that he had interest in potentially trying to start something I told him, ‘I am more than happy to help in any way that I can because I think it is very important that we provide a platform for African Americans to really voice their thoughts and opinions.'”

Throughout his time with ESPN Milwaukee, Wallace learned the ins and out of the media landscape in his city. He grew comfortable asking questions at press conferences, and networking with fellow media members. His experience allowed him to teach incoming intern classes, and other teammates, everything from running the board to cutting audio and using a recorder.

“I told (Karmazin), I am willing to do anything and everything I can to help you guys get this off the ground,” he said. “I know I’m just a part-time teammate, but I’m a teammate at the end of the day, and I want to make sure this is a success,”

“Whatever I have to do I am more than happy to do it.”

Little did Kyle Wallace know he would soon be named the Director of Content for 101.7 The Truth.

Wallace told BNM that before being offered the position he actually helped game-plan potential teammates to bring in, powerful black Milwaukee voices. He also gave input on who he thought would be a good fit as program director.

“It was a leap of faith,” he said after a tough decision to leave his role with Marquette. “Making that jump to a brand new radio station. The goal is to be around forever, but at the end of the day you have to make sure you are producing, not only on-air but also making money as well.

“I was a little bit nervous but I was excited as well because I knew it was a new challenge that could be very very special for Milwaukee’s community. Not just for the black community, but for everybody that is interested in great talk radio, and to hear a different perspective than they may be used to.”

The Truth is working tirelessly to break glass ceilings in media. The station is providing representation and opportunities for people of color who want to pursue and grow careers in the field, and fans who want exposure and coverage of their community.

“Covering the Brewers, I don’t think I ever saw another black reporter,” Wallace said. “(Covering the Bucks) there was maybe one or two, sometimes.”

On July 22, 2021, 101.7 The Truth was broadcasting live from downtown Milwaukee, during the parade for the NBA Champion Bucks.

During the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration, The Truth provided a live broadcast experience.

“An audio platform that embraces Milwaukee’s black community,” reads the mission statement on the station’s website. “This is our marketplace where authentic conversations can challenge and inspire everyone. You won’t hear just one perspective. It’ll be raw, honest, and true to what’s really going on in our communities.”

Wallace discussed with BNM the impact his former career had on his ability to direct content at The Truth. He knows how to teach an aspiring producer how to produce a live show, because he did it himself.

As a recruiter, he had no idea the impact it had on students to see a black male care about their educational future, until they told him, ‘we wouldn’t be (in college) without you.’

At Whitefish Bay High School, Wallace doesn’t remember ever having an African American teacher during his four years there. An unfortunate common theme in education.

“It meant more to the kids, because it was more than just a recruiter,” he said.

Those recruiting skills came full circle after The Truth hired Zech Simmons as a producer. Wallace recruited him as a high school student to college, and they kept in contact over the years. Simmons was one of the first calls Wallace made when The Truth started drafting their roster.

“We are confident we chose outstanding leaders who have already made an impact on the city through their service, advocacy, and fight for justice and equality,” he said in the station’s initial press release.

The Truth isn’t even a year old yet, however, they are dreaming big. Wallace’s personal goals for the station are to continue creating an impactful on-air product. He hopes that momentum will carry over into the community, making the brand a destination for the black community to come together as one. That’s especially important as local and state elections take place in 2022. He aspires for The Truth to become an outlet where the black community can learn about prospective elected officials and each of their causes.

Of course, influenced by that background in education, Wallace said he eventually wants to create a college scholarship funded by the station, awarded to a local student.

Listen to 101.7 The Truth here.

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Ben Shapiro: Donald Trump Endorsing People Doesn’t Carry a Lot of Power

During his show on Wednesday, Shapiro said Trump may hold power over the Republican party but when it comes to local political races, there are other factors at play.

Ryan Hedrick

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AFP/Getty Images/Jason Kempin

Syndicated radio host and author Ben Shapiro suggested that an endorsement from former President Donald Trump is not the golden ticket it’s portrayed to be.

During his show on Wednesday, Shapiro said Trump may hold power over the Republican party but when it comes to local political races, there are other factors at play.

“So, there’s a difference between Donald Trump endorsing a person, which I don’t think has a lot of power. And Donald Trump is destroying people,” Shapiro said via Mediate.

“He (Trump) actually talked about how Brian Kemp was terrible and horrible and no good and very bad. And Brian Kemp won because he had earned the loyalty of the Republican voting base in Georgia, despite Trump’s anger at Brian Kemp.”

Shapiro concluded that “Trump does not have the sort of stranglehold the media thinks he has on the Republican Party.” 

Recently, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz is one Trump-endorsed candidate that has backed away from the former president.

An Axios analysis of Oz’s social media and campaign website uncovered that the Republican candidate is no longer lauding his Trump endorsement ahead of the midterm elections this fall.

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Longtime WIBC News Anchor Retires After Nearly 30 Years

Stan Lehr is calling it quits with his final day coming July 1.

Ryan Hedrick

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Longtime WIBC-FM news anchor Stan Lehr is calling it quits after nearly 30 years behind the microphone. The Indianapolis Star reports that Lehr’s last day will be July 1. 

WIBC is owned by Emmis Communications who last week announced a move to sell its Indianapolis radio properties to Maryland-based Radio One. Lehr’s retirement reportedly had nothing to do with the news of the impending sale. 

“This will bring to an end a long chapter in the station’s history,” WIBC News Director Chris Davis wrote in his email. “His reputation as a stickler has been widely-known in the industry for decades.” 

Davis described Lehr as a “stickler” who never wanted recognition for his work. 

“Instead, he made it clear to all who work or have worked with him that strong writing, accuracy, and excellence in delivery are the best ways to serve the listeners,” added Davis. 

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WWL, FEMA Unveiling New Emergency Broadcast Studio

The news conference will occur at 9 a.m. CT, leading to official remarks, Q&A, a tour of the facility, and a live demonstration at the WWL PEP station emergency studio. 

Eduardo Razo

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FEMA and Audacy’s WWL-AM/FM will present the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility on June 28th. 

The news conference will occur at 9 a.m. CT, leading to official remarks, Q&A, a tour of the facility, and a live demonstration at the WWL PEP station emergency studio. 

Some of the speakers at the event will include Erik Hooks, Deputy Administrator, FEMA, and Kevin Cassidy, Senior Vice-President, Market Manager, Audacy-WWL. 

“The modernization to the emergency studio increases WWL’s resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism,” the statement said which Barrett News Media obtained. “This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters.”

“WWL is the 15th radio station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.”

Anyone attending the event will arrive at check-in 15 minutes before the press conference starts.

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