Spanning the globe to advise sports media
■ A Wisconsin physician helps sportswriters and broadcasters get the medical angles in their stories right.
By Bob Cook — Posted Feb. 19, 2007
Making sidelines pay
Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: Ben Wedro, MD
Specialty: Emergency medicine
Location: LaCrosse, Wis.
Business: DocTalk Media Productions mddirect.org/. The company -- basically, Dr. Wedro -- advises sports media and others on medical issues, does public speaking engagements, and provides medical care for media networks and companies sending a large amount of staff to remote events.
Annual revenue: "That's privileged."
Why he started the business: "I heard a story on public radio in LaCrosse, and I thought the facts were wrong. They said if you think you can do better, come on down. So we did."
DocTalk produced medical programming for public radio and Armed Forces Radio syndication, served as a medical adviser to CBS during the network's 1992 Winter Olympics coverage, and as medical adviser to the CBS television series "Touched by an Angel."
For the last 10 years, Dr. Wedro has been a medical adviser and on-site physician retained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (Dr. Wedro is a native of Canada) for its Olympics coverage and other large events, helping CBC journalists interpret drug-testing news, occasionally doing on-air reports, and being on call to treat the thousands of network personnel on location. He also has Fortune 500 clients.
Part of his promotion strategy is to make himself available to sportswriters who want to better understand athletes' injuries or drug-testing issues.
"Using the sports media is helpful because people are vested in sports," Dr. Wedro says. "That helps them get the concept of illnesses and injuries."
For his media clients, "I can prepare questions for people, so they can go to a press conference and know what to ask," he says. "Ultimately, it's about getting the medicine right."
Why he keeps practicing: "I feel that my credibility to my colleagues in the press and media needs to come from my continued presence on the front line of medicine," says Dr. Wedro, who practices in the emergency department of Gundersen Lutheran in LaCrosse. "My seeing patients routinely allows me to provide as accurate information as possible to those who ask for it, no different than if a patient asked."
Words of wisdom: "The first thing is that there is opportunity for everyone to follow their passion. Sometimes you find it by accident. I found mine by accident. They shouldn't do it for money, but for the love of what they do. The money will follow. But do not expect to get rich. Also, with the Internet, your market can become much more global."