Chance Celebrity Encounter Positively Influences Allmer's Career

It was a chance encounter with a celebrity: Pete Smythe, the recognizable voice in Colorado on the radio and — later — television, who was known for his broadcasts from the fictional town of East Tincup, where he elected himself mayor. During a school field trip to First Federal Savings Bank in Denver in the early 1970s, Pete Smythe, one of Colorado’s most recognizable voices and one of the state’s truly original characters, visited with students from Briggsdale Elementary, signed copies of his latest album, and gave a copy to each of the students on that field trip. A future broadcaster was in that audience and a recipient of one of those signed albums. Brian Allmer never suspected the impact and impression Pete Smythe would make in his career.

Allmer (Brian Allmer Radio Network, Briggsdale, Colorado) came into broadcasting by accident, literally. Raised as a farmer/rancher in northeastern Colorado, he eventually took over the family’s operation. He was involved in a fatality traffic accident that left him restricted from being involved in the day-to-day operations for an extended period.

“You’re laid up, bedridden, watching TV until you get sick of it. Then, I flipped on the radio and just happened to land on Farm Radio 1010 KSIR. I thought, with my 4-H and FFA background, I should be able to do that,” Allmer said.

Allmer was concerned about the misinformation he was hearing on television at that time and felt he could be a voice advocating for agriculture.

“I didn’t have any radio experience, but I had plenty of agriculture knowledge.”

Allmer’s broadcast career began at KSIR Radio in Fort Morgan, Colorado, where he worked for nearly five years as News Director and Assistant Ag Director, under former NAFB President Lorrie Boyer. It was during this time he developed his broadcasting skills and grew his connections in the agriculture community. After leaving broadcast for a short time, the opportunity arose to start a radio network; and in 2007, the BARN began providing broadcasts to radio stations and offering coverage of events across the state.

Today, the BARN has programming on more than 15 radio stations, offering seven weekday programs. Three of those are agriculture market-based, and the other four concentrate on agriculture news. In addition to weekday programming, the BARN also offers two weekend radio shows, “This Week Inside The BARN” and “FarmCast Radio,” which are 30 minutes and one hour in length, respectively. Allmer says it is a great way to showcase interviews and other content that time restraints prohibit him from using during the week.

His coverage of agriculture events and organizations is broad, ranging from the Colorado 4-H State Conference to coverage of the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture. He also has provided coverage of the Colorado State Fair’s livestock shows, showmanship, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale, the Colorado State FFA Convention, no-till workshops, and reports from the National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting.

“We want to show what agriculture is doing,” Allmer added.

The BARN’s coverage of agricultural events extends beyond the airwaves to the internet with listeners tuning in to reports streaming live online. These reports are available for listeners after the events are completed, as well. Allmer’s coverage this month will include live streaming the 2021 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, which is hosted by the Colorado FFA Foundation.

Allmer has dedicated a lot of his volunteer time helping the Colorado FFA as well as the Colorado 4-H and Colorado Extension.

“Extension agents don’t get the coverage they deserve; they play a key role in developing our young folks, and they really shaped me. 4-H and FFA mean a great deal to me; I bleed blue and gold out of one arm for FFA and green and white out the other arm for 4-H!”

Allmer has been recognized for his commitment to both organizations. In 2007, he was awarded the Honorary Colorado State FFA Degree; and earlier this year, the Colorado Association of Extension 4-H Agents presented him and the BARN with the Friend of Colorado 4-H award, an award he has received in the past. Allmer says he has proudly displayed the plaques in the BARN’s studio at the Allmer Farm and Ranch.

Allmer continues to live on a working family farm and ranch in northeastern Colorado with his wife, Connie. The farm has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years and was recognized as a Colorado Centennial Farm in 2016.

And…the Pete Smythe album is still in Allmer’s possession today. He says each time he looks at it or listens to it, he is reminded of the unforeseen influence Smythe had on him in his early years that led to a career in farm broadcasting. In fact, Allmer’s former soils instructor at Northeastern Junior College, Don Hagstrom, paid him with the ultimate compliment recently, saying that The BARN should be located at “Northeast Tincup, Colorado,” not just Briggsdale.