From Farm Broadcasting to Travel Ambassador

Roddy Peeples

Retired farm broadcaster Roddy Peeples is turning his people skills sharpened by years of farm broadcasting toward welcoming travelers arriving at Dallas/Ft.Worth International Airport (DFW). Even though Roddy sold the Voice of Southwest Agriculture (VSA) Radio Network in Texas in 1995 to Clear Channel Communications, he continued broadcasting for the network several times a month until about six years ago. Roddy and wife, Bettimae, moved to Dallas from San Angelo, TX, in 1997, and in 1999 Roddy joined the then fledgling DFW Airport Ambassador program as a volunteer. Except when the two of them are traveling, he’s at the sprawling DFW every Wednesday for four hours answering travelers’ questions about the airport, helping them to locate (sometimes even guiding them) their next flight’s gate.  Only about 35 percent of the people passing through the airport are local to the area. The remainder are passing through to a connecting flight. For several years now, Roddy has been using the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system traveling to and from the airport each Wednesday—stopping for breakfast on the way at a favorite Mexican restaurant within the rail station – then spending the rest of the 2 1/2 hours each way reading the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and usually a good book. His reading time was cut down permanently, though, on August 18 when DART inaugurated Dallas’s first light rail service directly to the airport.

Roddy and Stephanie with Morgan Lyons,
DART’s Assistant Vice President of Communications
and Community Engagement

 The Orange Line now goes directly into Terminal A, from which travelers can board either the Skylink airport inter-terminal train or a Terminal Link bus to go to other terminals. Roddy decided to be a part of this history…and got up at 2:00 a.m. that morning (even earlier than he used to rise for his early morning VSA farm broadcasts) in order to catch the train on its first official airport run.  He drove to a nearby station to board and found only two other people on the platform: the TV crew from CBS 11 News – reporter Stephanie Lucero and cameraman Tim Anders. They were headed to the airport to capture the historic moment for television. Stephanie interviewed Roddy as a part of her coverage. Morgan Lyons, DART’s Assistant Vice President of Communications and Community Engagement, is coincidentally an old friend of Roddy’s from his days as a reporter for Associated Press. Both were judges at the World’s Championship Barbecue Goat Cookoff in Brady, TX, in 1973, which continues to this day.  With the new direct train, Roddy now has only two hours each way to read.  Roddy says he’s “a train freak anyway and enjoys the ride.”