About Ben

Ben Merens has been a professional journalist for 32 years. He spent 21 of those years as a talk show host at Wisconsin Public Radio. He currently is the Director of Podcast Network International (PNI) and the Media Director for both The Vistelar Group and The Brand XLerator Company in Milwaukee.

Ben also is a public speaker whose focus is the art & science of empathic listening and the conflict management principles of Verbal Defense and Influence. In his free time, Ben is an improvisational, acoustic-guitar-playing singer/songwriter.

As Director of the newly-formed PNI, Ben is re-creating his former program “At Issue” and hosting programs professionally for individuals and companies that are seeking to have a 21st broadcasting voice.

In addition to “At Issue,” Ben currently is hosting a program for corporations called “Story Your Business,” a program about conflict management called “Confidence in Conflict,” and a program about cutting-edge marketing practices called “Unified Marketing.”

In conjunction with his speaking work, Ben has authored two audio books, “People Are Dying To Be Heard” and “Uni-Tasking: 25 Tips For Better Listening.” “People Are Dying To Be Heard” will be available in book form in Fall 2014.

Ben’s work in the public arena has led to award recognition from organizations including: The Medical College of Wisconsin, the Washington, D.C.-based Population Institute, the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association, and the Associated Press. He also received an “Award for Staff Excellence” from the University of Wisconsin-Extension while at WPR.

Ben has been published by The Chicago Tribune, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Talkers Magazine. His work has aired on NPR’s Morning Edition and PRI’s Marketplace.

Additionally, Ben has taught journalism and communications courses at Hofstra University, Columbia College, and Concordia University. He remains on the adjunct faculty at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education and Marquette University’s College of Communication.

He holds a masters of science degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and an undergraduate degree in public relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Ben also has been certified as an in-state “Honoring Choices” facilitator for end-of-life planning by the Wisconsin Medical Society.