News Staff

Dan Lea
Dan Lea has been news director for the Maverick Media family of radio stations in Eau Claire since 2005, but his history with the station goes back more than 20 years. He first began working for WAYY as a weekend air personality 1988. Dan left the station a couple of times to try other things, working as a talk show host and air personality on WFHR-AM and WGLX-FM in Wisconsin Rapids in the mid 1990's, and spending a couple of years as a computer programmer. Here at Maverick, Dan also served as morning news anchor on sister stations WIAL, WECL, and WEAQ, and morning host/operations manager of WECL- 92.9 FM, before becoming news director for the group. Awards include the Wisconsin Broadcasters' Association's "Best Hard News/Investigative Reporting," "Best Newscast," and "Best Spot News.".

Dan is a 1986 Chippewa Falls High School Graduate and studied journalism at U.W. Eau Claire and U.W. River Falls. He lives in his hometown of Chippewa Falls with his wife, Jacey, whom he met at WAYY when she was a morning talk show producer. They have two daughters, Alissa and Randi. Dan & Jacey can often be seen performing original music together, and Dan finds time to appear in a local theatrical production now and then.
Mike Ness
Mike is in the early stages of his radio career. Mike was hired as the afternoon news anchor/reporter in September, 2011; a month after earning his AAS-Radio Broadcasting degree from Brown College, and finishing a 12 month internship at KDWB in the Twin Cities. While working in the Mid-West Family Broadcasting news department during the day, Mike also works as an on-air personality by night for sister station WAXX 104.5. You might also run into him in person at various restaurants in the Chippewa Valley hosting Team Trivia shows.

Mike's passion for radio came to be at a young age. By his sophomore year at New Richmond High School, he decided he would pursue a career in radio. Mike grew up in New Richmond with one sister Amanda, cats Junior and Kitty, and Dachshunds Sonya and Mo. He currently lives in Eau Claire.

Brady Merne
Brady Merne covers investigatory and feature stories for the 790 WAYY news family at Mid-West Family Broadcasting. He's part-writer, part-board operator, reporter--and go-to substitute afternoon news host.

Hear him Fridays, on 790 WAYY, at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Merne also reports occasionally midweek for 790 WAYY on Wisconsin-centric issues.

He's a 2011 Marketing, B.S.B. major, and alumnus of the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management, at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.

Merne was mentored by WCCO-TV news anchor great Mike Binkley; he also works with Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network, and has moonlighted as a U of M Golden Gopher Tour Guide, General Mills Inc. Consumer Insights Researcher-Intern, a seasonal, customer service Concierge, and a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Loan Documentation Specialist.

An avowed learner -- and growing appreciator of country music -- Merne grew up, and still lives, in Chippewa Falls, Wis., near his mom, dad, and "Nana"; his interests include adult education, cross-country skiing, and daily walks with his Cairn terrier, "Birkie."

Caitie Cole
Caitie Cole is a proud Eau Claire native, who gained an interest in news in high school. She wrote for the North High School paper, 'The Husky Howl" and took journalism classes. She graduated from UW-Superior with a degree in Mass Communications, and worked at Wisconsin Public Radio (KUWS) on campus for 2 years.

Caitie Cole worked at WQOW News 18 for 2 1/2 years, where she produced the "Daybreak" show. She was responsible for putting the show together, gathering and writing new stories, wrote and produced her own live segments for the show.

Caitie is happy to be back in the news field again for WAYY, and writing stories for morning broadcasts. Feel free to e-mail her with a news idea or tip!


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