Hays Reflects on Personal Impact of Farm Broadcasting

Growing up on a farm in central Kentucky, Ron Hays’ agriculture journey began at a young age. On their farm, his family raised duroc hogs and tobacco crops, but he was able to find his niche in agriculture when he entered junior high.

“I got bit by the radio bug in junior high because of my interest in listening to radio signals from around the world and country,” Hays said.

“When I started high school, I joined my FFA chapter. This is where I got to work on my speaking skills,” Hays added. “I then got the job of being public address announcer for the Woodford County High School basketball games and wrestling matches in Versailles, Kentucky.”

After graduation, Hays went to work for an FM radio station in his hometown.

In 1974, he traveled to Wichita, Kansas, for the opportunity to merge his two passions -- agriculture and radio -- by working as the farm director at KFH Radio. Since then, Hays has worked at the Oklahoma AgriNet and the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network.

Over the last 15 years, Hays has experienced the growth and change of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network while working as the director of farm programming.

“When I first joined the network, we had about 18 radio affiliates,” Hays noted. “Within the next year, we had grown to more than 40 radio affiliates.”

Aside from the number of affiliates at Radio Oklahoma seeing a significant increase, the network also has seen substantial growth in the number of subscribers for its daily email that contains the state’s top agricultural news.

“Our daily email has grown from only just a few hundred subscribers to about 5,300 subscribers today,” Hays said.

Throughout his career, Hays has been inducted into the NAFB Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Additionally, Hays is one of the few farm broadcasters who has been given the National VIP Award by the National FFA Organization.

“The people we work with at the network, as well as the many wonderful folks that we serve in the world of farming and ranching here in Oklahoma, are the most enjoyable part of my job,” Hays added.

“I love that -- although we have many things we do that we repeat daily -- the stories, events, and people with whom we get to interact are ever-changing,” Hays concluded.