WBAY at 70: Matt Smith
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - WBAY is preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary on March 17. And to celebrate the milestone, we’re looking back at some of the folks who make up the station’s legacy. This week, Kathryn Bracho caught up with former Action 2 News anchor and reporter Matt Smith, who is still a frequent presence on WBAY-TV.
I remember when Matt started as a young reporter in our Fox Valley newsroom in 2007. I knew right away he’d be an excellent journalist.
Even though he doesn’t work here anymore, you can still see him on WBAY-TV. He is on TVs in northeast Wisconsin and all around the state every Sunday morning as the host and producer of the political talk show “UpFront.”
He says his experience at WBAY helped him get there.
“I was like, what, six months out of college? I probably shouldn’t have been there,” he recalls with a laugh.
Covering news in cities like Appleton, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac, he learned the basics of reporting.
“The simplest things of finding stories and finding sources and telling those stories in ways that are accurate and captivating and really building a connection with the community, right?”
Many TV news reporters in northeast Wisconsin and at other mid-size stations around the country work for a couple of years and then move on to bigger cities.
But Matt stayed for seven years and was promoted to political reporter and weekend anchor along the way.
“I kept working my way up, but I also met my wife here -- we started our family, we got married, things happened, right.”
Matt and his wife, Karen, took a big leap and moved to Indianapolis when he got a job at the CBS affiliate there.
“I was there as Mike Pence was governor and then transitioned to vice president, and the search with Donald Trump for his V.P. pick, so there was a ton of national attention on Indiana, on Indianapolis, and that kind of took up a lot of my time.”
But he wanted to get back closer to family, so when our Milwaukee sister station, WISN, offered him a job, he took it.
He’s proud UpFront is a go-to stop for Wisconsin politicians.
“They love coming on this show, because it doesn’t only reach the Milwaukee audience, they know they’re talking to people on Northeast Wisconsin, which is a really critical part of the state, right? If you look at statewide races, whatever aspect you want to look at, Northeast Wisconsin is critical,” Matt says.
Matt says he’s grateful he got to know our part of the state and the people who work at WBAY.
“They live in the community, and it’s essential to the fabric not only of our democracy but of our community... to be informed and know what’s going on, but also to trust the people who are telling it to you, and no one can do that like WBAY.”
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