After seven years, Zoy Begos has ended his run as president of The Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI). The new president is veteran musician, Jason Klagstad, longtime guitarist for Semi-Twang.
“This feels like the challenge I’ve been in training for my entire life. It's the opportunity to use every single one of my skills as a musician, businessman and human being to serve my extended musical family,” said Klagstad.
“The day the board told me that I had been chosen to lead the WAMI organization, it was like a breath of pure oxygen. Just know this: I am ready and I can hardly wait to get started.”
Klagstad is a member of the WAMI Hall of Fame as a member of Semi-Twang.
Along with Klagstad, Ron Books is vice president, Jessie Johnson-Greenwald is secretary and Matt Anton is treasurer.
"It's been an honor and privilege to lead this wonderful organization,” said Begos. “I've had the pleasure to work with some amazing people during my tenure and I thank them for their passion and dedication.”
On Tuesday, WAMI announced its priorities for 2022, including:
- A robust, new website that captures WAMI history and provides greater resources. WAMI aims to connect members to 8,000 Wisconsin musicians and a quarter million globally.
- A return of WAMI events such as the Youth Showcase at Summerfest, Fast Pitch and workshops. They’ll be live-streamed and captured on WAMI’s website and social media.
- A new online voting system with processes used by the Academy of Country Music and the MAMAs.
- Reduced membership fees that provide increased value throughout the year.
- An expanded WAMI Board for better representation of the state and its many music genres.
- Greater charitable work benefitting groups including Guitars For Vets and MusiCares.
- Outreach across Wisconsin and new partnerships with media, venues and other music ventures.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.