Wisconsin Public Radio: WPR’s Larry Meiller inducted into Hall of Fame

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Rick Reyer

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Madison, Wis. – Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) is pleased to announce The Ideas Network host Larry Meiller’s induction into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame. At its annual gathering on June 15, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation honored Meiller’s 50-year career on WPR.

“I deeply appreciate this award; it’s something I never dreamed I would receive, and I want to thank the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association for this honor,” Meiller said. “In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would have the privilege of doing this job for 50 years. It has never felt like a job. It is more like a fun experience I can share with listeners every weekday. I am deeply humbled.”

In 1967, Meiller was a senior in college at University of Wisconsin-Madison when his agricultural journalism professor Maury White asked Meiller if he could fill in on the farm report for the summer while White was out of state. White’s department had a long-standing agreement with public radio to provide agricultural programming. Meiller, who had just taken his first radio course, agreed.

The young broadcaster, who was admittedly green, clearly made an impression. White returned, but soon he was promoted to a deanship, and the agricultural journalism department asked Meiller to take over the position. He began working to get his Ph.D. in mass communication and continued on air, expanding his on-air role with strong support from WPR and his academic department.

Over the last 50 years, Meiller has been a trusted companion on WPR’s statewide broadcast schedule, hosting daily programs, including “The Farm Program,” “The Midday Report,” “Wisconsin Hear and Now” and “The Larry Meiller Show” (formerly “Conversations with Larry Meiller”). And, for 14 years of those years, he also hosted the nationally distributed “Calling All Pets” with Patricia McConnell on more than 100 stations. He is WPR’s longest serving host, and he is still a fixture on The Ideas Network each weekday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

He’s interviewed everyone from Jesse Jackson, Pat Summerall and John Grisham to Santa Claus and Zelda the Chicken. He makes complex topics accessible and brings a smile to listeners’ faces throughout every show. But Meiller isn’t just a broadcaster; he’s also an educator with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to hosting one of WPR’s most popular and longest running call-in programs, Meiller has also spent the past 40 years as a professor in the department of life sciences communication in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences at UW-Madison.

Beyond the classroom, Meiller has also been a thoughtful friend and mentor to countless producers and staff at WPR. “Larry is a true professional, a great colleague, and a friend to listeners around the state,” WPR Director Mike Crane said. “On air or in person, Larry is always kind, inquisitive and gracious — this is a well-deserved honor.”

Meiller’s story is featured online at wisconsinbroadcastingmuseum.org.