Wisconsin Public Radio broadcast journalist, central Wisconsin businessman and singer-songwriter Glen Moberg passed away at the age of 67 on Saturday, August 31, 2019 because of cancer. Glen died surrounded by family, at his wooded home on the Wisconsin River in the Village of Maine.
In June, Glen was honored as a Local Broadcast Legend by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. His 48-year career in radio and television culminated with his role as an award-winning reporter and talk show host at Wisconsin Public Radio, coordinating news coverage for the network’s bureau at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau. Prior to that, he served as assignment manager at WAOW-TV ABC Wausau, news director and anchor at WSAW-TV CBS Wausau, general assignment reporter and network correspondent at WFLD-TV Fox News Chicago, news manager for a proposed 24-hour cable network based at the Fox News Chicago studios, traffic reporter for WBBM 780-AM Chicago, news director, anchor and executive producer for Centel cable television in Chicago’s western suburbs, and morning host and disc jockey at WJKL-FM Elgin, a legendary progressive Chicago-area radio station in the 1970’s. Glen also did scripting, production and voice-over work for corporate and public service clients in Chicago and north central Wisconsin. He worked briefly for the central Wisconsin Village of Weston as community affairs director.
He joined Rotary International in 1982, served on the Rotary Club of Wausau board of directors, the board of directors of the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, the First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, the Center for Visual Arts, the Marathon County Literacy Council, the Marathon County Library Foundation, and the Elgin Community College Foundation.
Glen achieved the rarely awarded title of Distinguished Broadcast Specialist with WPR, where he served as a reporter, story teller, talk show host, debate moderator and producer for 15 years. During that time, Glen’s work was recognized with more than 40 broadcast journalism awards, including seven regional Edward. R. Murrow awards, and first place awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press, three of them for Best Broadcast Writing in a large radio market. The weekly radio show “Route 51” which Glen hosted and helped create, was also recognized with first place awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Midwest Broadcast Journalism Association. Glen was a frequent guest host for Wisconsin Public Radio’s statewide network in Madison.
“Route 51” listeners were drawn to their radios each Thursday by Glen’s clarion call, “Fasten your seat belt and turn up the radio, we’re going on a road trip!” The program featured a unique format with an eclectic mix of political debates, discussion of regional issues, science, philosophy and the arts, and live music shows in which Glen accompanied the guests on guitar. Glen was proud of the fact that the show generated more light than heat, with guests from opposing viewpoints seeking common ground despite today’s polarized political climate.
Glen moderated and produced a number of high-profile debates and forums, including two U.S. Senate debates for Wisconsin Public Radio that were covered by national news organizations. He was cohost of a Wisconsin Public Television candidate forum for the 2014 Wisconsin Governor’s race.
At WAOW-TV, Glen directed the news assignments during the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and moderated and produced debates and special events. He coordinated the successful “Jam for Johnny” fundraiser in memory of John Ullrich Jr, who was killed preventing an armed robbery at a Chicago cab stand.
As news director and anchor at WSAW-TV, Glen’s team of broadcast journalists won numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Many of the people he hired and mentored continue to thrive as anchors, reporters and meteorologists at television stations across the country, including several who are still serving the public in Wausau.
At WFLD-TV Fox News Chicago, Glen covered crime and politics, including the deliberations at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield over funding for the Chicago school system, and the riots following the Chicago Bulls championship victory in 1992. In 1993, he covered the Lucasville, Ohio prison riot for the national Fox news network, and was first on the air with the breaking news of the settlement that ended the violence.
Glen’s tenure at WFLD-TV started in 1990 when John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel, hired him as news manager for a proposed 24-hour Chicago area cable news channel based at the Fox studios on Michigan Avenue.
In the 1980’s, Glen served as the news director, anchor and executive producer of a regional news network he created for Centel Cable Television, later Jones Intercable in Chicago’s western suburbs. His team of journalists produced the nightly Fox Valley Report with all original news content for Elgin, Aurora, Wheaton, Naperville, West Chicago, Geneva, St. Charles, and adjoining communities. He moderated and produced debates and hosted the weekly call-in show Accent on Issues. The program made news when leaders of the Kerr McGee company in Oklahoma reached an agreement with West Chicago political leaders and citizen activists live on the air to remove a radioactive waste dump in the community. In 1987, Glen was named Centel Cable Television’s Employee of the Year.
In the 1970’s Glen was the morning show host for WJKL-FM, “The Fox” in Elgin, a progressive Chicago-area radio station that mixed jazz, blues, reggae, country and bluegrass into its rock music format. The station was instrumental in jump starting the careers of musicians who would otherwise not have a venue for their music. It was there that Glen developed his affinity for roots music and live, unscripted radio.
Glen was an accomplished guitarist, singer and a songwriter who was influenced by blues, jazz, country and American pop standards. He performed as a solo artist and was a regular with the Sid Kyler Dixieland Band in Wausau. His songs reflected his love for the north woods of Wisconsin.
Glen worked alongside his wife Mary Beth as business manager for The Northwoods Goldsmith, the jewelry store she owns and operates in Wausau. He created marketing campaigns for her original jewelry designs, including Cool Beans, a nationally advertised and federally trademarked line of silver coffee bean jewelry.
Glen grew up in the Chicago area, and spent his childhood in Palatine with his parents, Alfred Roland Moberg Junior and June Moberg, and his brothers Dean and Mark. The family would often vacation in northern Wisconsin, fishing and bird watching. Glen graduated from William Fremd High School, where he was the editor of the school newspaper. He spent two years at Knox College in Galesburg. Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1974 with a degree in political science and philosophy. He spent a great deal of time at the school’s radio station, WPGU-FM. His first paying job in radio was at WGIL-AM, Galesburg in 1970.
Glen once said, “I’m old fashioned. I believe in objective truth.” He believed empirical evidence and science were the best tools available to journalists, which led him to focus as a reporter on the scientific consensus of the dangers of man-made climate change.
Through his work, Glen tried to give a voice to the voiceless, to stand up for those without wealth or power, to fight racism, and to call attention to the destruction of the environment and earth’s fragile ecosystems. He tried to leave a better world for his wife of 42 years, Mary Beth Moberg, and his children 31-year-old Melody Moberg and 23-year-old Thomas Moberg.
Glen Moberg’s celebration of life will be at First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, WI, on Saturday, September 21. The service is at 11:00 am, with a visitation beginning at 10:00 am and a reception following the service. Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau or Raptor Education Group, Inc.
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