Airing on the Side of Agriculture

Adams Presented Ag Journalist Award

Mike Adams, host of Adams on Agriculture (Jacksonville, Illinois), was named Ag Journalist of the Year by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at their 2019 annual convention. Adams on Agriculture is a national agricultural talk show featuring a mix of commentary on agricultural issues and interviews with decision makers, such as members of Congress, USDA personnel, and leaders of agricultural organizations.

Mark Oppold Redirects His Career

Last April, Mark Oppold left full-time employment at RFD-TV after a nearly 30-year association with RFD-TV Founder and President Patrick Gottsch. Word around the farm broadcast industry was that he retired, but his wife, Kathi, said, “He didn’t actually retire. He just redirected.”  While leaving full-time employment, Oppold continues to perform hosting and reporting duties for RFD-TV at conventions and trade shows. Those duties have included two private one-on-one interviews with President Trump, which Oppold says are career highlights. Free of his daily duties, part of Oppold’s redirection is a reintroduction of a piece of his broadcast history.

New KICD Assistant Farm Broadcaster

Gina Cerrentano is currently completing an agricultural communications degree at Iowa State University while working full-time at KICD Radio (Spencer, Iowa) as the Assistant Farm Director. She expects to graduate in May 2019. She is new to farm broadcasting, but she has prior experience in both radio and public relations, having interned with OsbornBarr in 2018.  Growing up in a northwest suburb an hour outside of Chicago, Cerrentano doesn’t have much experience in agriculture, but as she ventured off to college, she found a passion and interest to learn more.

Buchenroth Advances from Student to Farm Broadcaster

Kolt Buchenroth (Ohio Ag Network, Columbus, Ohio) is refreshing his NAFB membership after transitioning from a student member to the Broadcast Council. He got his start in agriculture showing beef cattle in 4-H and FFA and was active at his county fair as an exhibitor. While he was in high school, Buchenroth cut his teeth in farm broadcasting at WKTN, a small, locally owned and operated station in Kenton, Ohio. In high school, he worked with Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal as an FFA student reporter covering Ohio’s State FFA Convention. Through that experience, he discovered his passion for farm broadcasting and agricultural communication.

Callahan Named to Illinois Position

Colleen Callahan is the newly announced Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “I’m honored to be asked to serve in the Pritzker Administration and humbled to be in a leadership position. I’m also eager to work with the dedicated DNR career staff, to learn from them, and collaborate on ways to help meet the needs of enhancing Illinois’ natural resources. I welcome the opportunity to communicate the importance and impact of our natural resources and the diverse responsibilities of Illinois DNR. From mines and minerals; to museums and management of lands; from parks to preservation of history; from water to wildlife – the oversight is vast and various. I’m looking forward to connecting with those who use and those who depend on our state’s greatest asset, our natural resources.”

Armstrong Rides Purdue Boilermaker

Max Armstrong (Farm Progress, Batavia, Illinois) reports that he had a “fun ride,” courtesy of the Purdue Agriculture Alumni Association on February 2, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The university has an annual luncheon called the Purdue Ag Fish Fry. They always try to have an interesting program, and this year they brought back four former Purdue Ag School deans, and those four joined the current dean on the panel.” Armstrong added, “They asked me to moderate the panel, which I was proud to do, of course. The real thrill, though, was to have them deliver me to the stage riding in the official Purdue mascot, the Boilermaker X-Tra Special, the little locomotive that goes to all sports events.

Schultz is New NAFB Member

Scott Schultz started working last year as the assistant farm director at WAXX 104.5 radio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and is expanding into other roles at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Eau Claire stations. The long-time print journalist recently joined NAFB after making his broadcasting debut last fall. “I’m excited about this new challenge in my life,” Schultz said. “I’ve known WAXX Farm Director Bob Bosold for many years, and each day I look forward to working with someone so talented and respected.” Schultz earned awards in news writing, feature writing, headlines, and design during more than 40 years in the newspaper business. He was raised on a central Wisconsin dairy farm. His journalism career started while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, which led him to study journalism at the Defense Information School and through Indiana University, University of Missouri, and Pepperdine University.

Farm Broadcaster Makes Polar Bear Plunge

“This is my second time participating in the infamous Polar Bear Plunge at the Meadville General Store on the banks of the Niobrara National Scenic River,” reports Monte James (Your Ag Network, Inc., Yankton, South Dakota). “I grew up on a ranch about 10 miles down-river, so I try to make it back to this insane event when time allows. Every year, the local fire department cracks a pathway in the fast moving and stunningly beautiful Niobrara River to allow battle-hardened partiers and urban thrill seekers to gain membership in the Polar Bear Club. This year’s dip took place January 26, and we were fortunate to have a break in the -20 below temperatures we had fore and aft. It was a balmy 12 degrees with a windchill of about 15 below.

Rhiannon Branch Joins Brownfield Ag Network

“We are excited to have Rhiannon Branch join Brownfield as an anchor/reporter,” says Cyndi Young, Director of Brownfield and Ag Operations.  Rhiannon will be based in south central Illinois. “Her developing skill set as a farm broadcaster coupled with a passion for agriculture make her the perfect fit for our team.”  Rhiannon adds, “Two years ago, I had never considered broadcasting as a career. I took an internship with the Illinois Farm Bureau and RFD Radio because of my interest in their printed publication, but it is obvious that Rita Frazer and DeLoss Jahnke had different plans for me. After being notified about receiving the Orion Samuelson Scholarship and being invited to my first NAFB convention, Rita and DeLoss took me under their wings and set me loose at Trade Talk. It was chaotic, but it was the most fun I had ever had behind a microphone. I made up my mind that day that farm broadcasting was my ‘dream job’ after college.

Merick Is New NAFB Member

Greg Merick grew up in the small northwest Oklahoma town of Seiling. Greg’s parents and grandparents owned a farm with a small cattle operation, so Greg spent many hours working cattle, hauling hay, building fence, and living the normal farm life. After high school and a few jobs trying to figure out what he wanted as a career, he decided to do what he had always thought about doing, and that was to get into broadcasting. He went to American Broadcasting School in Oklahoma City, where he graduated in early 2002. That fall, he began his first broadcasting job in the small Alaska village of Galena as the sports director, news director, and operations manager. After a couple months there, he came back to Oklahoma City and went to work for iHeart Media’s KTOK/WKY radio.