Austin Receives Wisconsin Agriculture Award

Mike Austin (WTAQ-AM/FM & WDEZ, Green Bay, WI), left, was presented the Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture Award by Jim Holte President of Wisconsin Farm Bureau (WFBF) during the organization’s 96th Annual Meeting December 6. The award is given for outstanding contributions to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry. “Mike has been covering agricultural news and events for more than 30 years both on radio and TV in the Green Bay area. He is the ‘voice of agriculture’,” said WFBF Board Member Rosie Lisowe of Chilton. “His agriculture reports and stories are heard throughout the Green Bay area, and his advocacy for the agriculture industry reaches multiple generations.” A Wisconsin native, Austin’s first job in radio was in Cedar Falls, IA, doing news and farm reporting. He came back to Wisconsin and started a farm broadcasting career in Oshkosh at WYTL (now WOSH). In 1980, he was hired by Midwest Communications, Inc., along with WBAY-TV to do agricultural news, features and markets. In 1991, Austin left television and worked for Midwest Communications doing agriculture reports for the Green Bay, Wausau and Sheboygan markets. In 2004, Austin was hired to do ag features for WFRV-TV in Green Bay while continuing radio reporting. Austin does agricultural reports and markets for radio stations WTAQ AM and FM and WNCY in Green Bay, WSAU and WDEZ in Wausau and WHBL in Sheboygan. He also does a daily ag feature at noon, Monday through Friday, on WFRV Channel 5 in Green Bay along with seasonal half-hour specials and also is the co-host of Mike, Matt and the Morning News on WTAQ-AM/FM. Besides his broadcast responsibilities, he keeps busy serving as either an emcee or speaker for 60 events a year. During the summer months, Mike also can be found serving as an emcee at dairy breakfasts and county fairs. For his commitment to the broadcast industry and his community, he was the recipient of the Associated Press Carol Brewer Award and the Town of Bellevue Community Service Award. Austin is an active member of his church, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a volunteer for several youth organizations and community events. Also, he served as a Boy Scout leader, baseball coach and youth league umpire. Austin and his wife, Connie, are the parents of three children and six grandchildren. “A true friend of agriculture, Mike has inspired many throughout the agriculture community and in the broadcasting industry,” added Lisowe. In response, Mike said, “It is always very gratifying to be recognized for one’s work. You also feel a little awkward because like my fellow broadcasters all I really do is tell the stories of agriculture and it is those stories and the people that they are about that really deserve the accolades.  I am one of those lucky people who is excited about what I get to do and the people I get to meet every day. And it’s been that way for nearly 40 years.” Mike has been a member of NAFB for 36 years.