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Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 -- 10:01 AM

Can you imagine a world without billboards? One group of Wisconsinites can.

"There are roughly 15,000 billboards in the state of Wisconsin," says Charley Weeth of Citizens for a Scenic Wisconsin, "We rank 4th as far as the number of billboards per state in the country."

Billboards have been getting bigger and brighter and increasingly block scenic views around the state, Weeth claims.

In Wisconsin, supply seems to outweigh demand, as many billboards simply advertise? well? billboards.

"New billboards can still go in, in fact, I just got a couple new complaint," Weeth laments, "It gets a little bit silly: you can't see the billboards for the billboards."

But, it's a big money-maker for the billboard companies, who Weeth says aren't necessarily hurt by vacant sign space.

"There are some regulations that are in place that guarantee once a billboard is installed, the owner of that billboard will be compensated for, not only the installation, but future earnings," Weeth notes, "Even if they never rent the billboard out enough to generate a lot of revenue, at some point, they know they will get a return on that investment."

Scenic Wisconsin wants to find a happy medium, suspending construction of new billboards and eliminating them through attrition.

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