Teri Barr

My day jobs are many and include being part of the morning team at WOLX (94.9—where I recently had the good fortune to win the “Music Radio Personality” of the year from the Madison Area Music Association), a writer at Insight on Business Magazine, a multimedia specialist at Quincy Bioscience, and, my latest gig, being the voice of Alexa for six regional newspapers, including the Wisconsin State Journal.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the good fortune to reinvent myself several times. I really appreciate the support and help I’ve gotten throughout my career to try new things.

My decision to work in media grew out of my desire to make a difference. Growing up on a dairy farm outside of Green Bay, no matter how busy we were, my family always made time to eat dinner together. And during dinner we’d always listen to the news. It gave me a strong awareness of what was going on in the larger community.

When I was in high school, I got a job working at the radio station for fun—I don’t think I made any money. I loved it! I enjoyed doing interviews, learning people’s stories. I began to realize sharing these stories could make a difference; that they could change someone’s day, hopefully for the better. 

One of the stories I’m glad I got to help tell was Tommi Thompson’s. Tommi is the daughter of the former Wisconsin governor, Tommy Thompson. Tommi beat breast cancer, as did her mom, Sue Ann. Given Tommy Thompson’s political role, this was a family people in Wisconsin felt they knew, but most hadn’t heard this story. I think the Thompsons’ willingness to share their experience helped make it easier for people to talk about breast cancer. 

This story was especially meaningful to me because my mom is a 25-year breast cancer survivor and has been very active in cancer research fundraising efforts.

My most memorable caffeine would be impossible to pick because coffee is so important to me. I’m not a good morning person and if you cross paths with me before I’ve had my coffee—stay away! I’m not awake yet. One thing I’ve learned about coffee is that it doesn’t stop me from falling asleep. I can easily take a nap after work, even if I’ve had quite a bit of coffee.

My current caffeine of choice is a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. My husband asked me to marry him in the middle of Times Square and we often go back to New York City to celebrate our anniversary. He knows how much I like my latte and will get out of bed and find me one.

My favorite place for caffeine is someplace local if I’m in Madison. I really like The Victory on Atwood.

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with are Michelle Obama and Seth Godin.

I was lucky to have the chance to interview Michelle when she was campaigning for Barack but it wasn’t enough—I only got to ask the standard political campaign-type questions. I’d love to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and have a deep conversation about everything.

I’d love to connect with Seth because he’s so committed to trying to lift people up. Sign up for his daily emails—it’s a little blip of positivity.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: There’s so much going on right now: race, equality, COVID. I’d like some clarity to see where we’re headed and what we could be doing to make a difference. I hope we will learn from this time—I’d hate to think 2020 was a wasted year.