Airing on the Side of Agriculture

Brownfield's Anderson Wins Media Award

Brownfield Ag News anchor/reporter Ken Anderson received the American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) 2018 Media Excellence Award at the group’s recent annual conference in Minneapolis. Presenting the award, ACE Communications Director Katie Fletcher said Anderson “epitomizes objective news reporting, and covers the policy, markets, events and issues that the ethanol and agricultural industries need to know.” 

From Sportscasting to Farm Broadcasting

Leif Bakken (Northern Ag Network, Billings, MT) is a new farm broadcaster and NAFB member who grew up on a small cow and wheat operation north of Lemmon, SD, where they also raised sheep until recently. His parents, DeJon and Jeri Lynn Bakken, currently run around 120 head of cattle and grow wheat. From a very young age, Leif was involved in agriculture especially in 4-H and FFA. He showed chickens, sheep, and steers almost every year of his 4-H career. “In North Dakota 4-H, there was a communication arts program where I started doing public speaking, demonstrations, and a broadcasting event. That’s when I was starting to realize this might be what I wanted to do.

Living Her Childhood Dream: Agriculture and Ag News

Sarah Heinrich (KFGO, Fargo, ND) grew up on a ranch south of Mandan, ND, raising purebred cattle and small grains. “As a small girl, I grew up on a farm where my uncle and longtime farm broadcaster, Al Gustin, would spend every afternoon helping and working alongside my dad, who is a full-time farmer to this day. I always thought Uncle Al had the best job. He could do ag news in the early morning hours and then be out raising cattle in the afternoon. My mom has been a 4-H leader for more than 40 years, so 4-H and FFA were a natural fit for me to be involved in during my entire school career.”

Iowa Farm Broadcaster Inspires Career

Anna Hastert (Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, Des Moines, IA), a recent Northwest Missouri State University (NWMSU) graduate, kick-started her broadcasting career early with help from an Iowa farm broadcaster. Anna competed and placed in the Iowa FFA Agricultural Broadcasting Career Development Event. “My junior year of high school, I competed in the Agricultural Broadcasting Career Development Event on behalf of the Harlan FFA Chapter. To be honest, I wasn’t any good then,” she said.

Redwood Falls Ag Director

The road to farm broadcasting was full of twists and turns for Scott Colombe (Alpha Media-Redwood Falls, Redwood Falls, MN). Scott started his broadcast career as a senior in high school, but he didn’t decide to pursue broadcasting until after he inquired about a part-time board operator position with Little Falls Radio Corporation (LFRC) in Little Falls, MN

From Production Director to Farm Director

Raised in Janesville, WI, Craig Dillion graduated from Janesville Parker High School in 1999 followed by University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2003. He interned in Madison at WIBA/WTSO-AM until being hired as production director at WCUB (Manitowoc, WI).  After working mostly in production and doing part-time voice tracking and on-air work, he then graduated to the Farm Director position two years ago.

Martin Named Texas State Networks Ag Director

Growing up in Little Rock, AR, Chuck Martin harbored a single ambition: to become a broadcast journalist. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Arkansas, Chuck began to hone his skills at the campus radio station, KUAF-FM. Upon graduating, he went to work in the news department at KXXA-FM (Little Rock, AR). From there, he was lured across town to KARN-AM and the Arkansas Radio Network. In 1983, Chuck returned to northwest Arkansas to become an anchor and reporter at KHOG-TV, the ABC affiliate. After a brief stint as the news director of NBC affiliate KFAA-TV, Chuck returned to KHOG where he spearheaded the coverage of then-Governor Bill Clinton’s presidential run, ultimately going to Washington, DC, as lead reporter for the presidential inauguration.

Observations From Members of the 2018 NAFB Delegation to China

Five broadcasters who traveled recently with the NAFB delegation to China offered their reactions and photos. Featured are highlights reported by Monte JamesShannon YokleySteve BridgeDavid Geiger, and Spencer Chase. U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad briefed broadcasters during their time in Beijing. The briefing was across the street from the U.S. Embassy at the Hilton hotel for logistical reasons and so broadcasters could access their recording equipment. The NAFB trip started June 21, and broadcasters returned on July 4.

New to NAFB and to Broadcasting

One of our newest NAFB Broadcast Council members is new to the broadcasting industry, too. Originally from Topeka, KS, Ashley Craft (KMZU, Carrollton, MO) graduated from the University of Missouri with a BS in science and agricultural journalism and an MS in agricultural communications, education, and leadership. She has had experience with video, social media marketing, newspaper writing, editing, and book publishing; but radio is a new adventure that the Kansas native is excited to be taking on.

Kansas Broadcaster Grew Up in Agriculture

Dan Johnson is part of the farm broadcast team with 580 WIBW Radio and the Kansas Agriculture Network in Topeka. You could say Dan has come full-circle in terms of radio and agriculture. Dan grew up on a farm operation in southeast Kansas. During the summer when he wasn’t hauling hay, he was usually listening to the radio as he drove a tractor, truck, or self-propelled swather. In spite of that background, Dan didn’t pursue agriculture or media when he left the farm after graduating from high school.  Like many who aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up, Dan began a scenic route through higher education by studying business. A couple years later, Dan switched to journalism with a focus on broadcast news. Dan also married his wife around this time. They raised two children. After earning his journalism degree, Dan worked as news director at a Chanute, KS, radio station for a few years before eventually transitioning into sales.