Historian's Report

By Mike Adams, AgriTalk

While NAFB business meetings in recent years have been short and void of controversy, that hasn't always been the case. Those of us who remember meetings in the 70's, 80's and 90's remember long, emotional debates with members standing in line at microphones waiting to speak. Many of those debates centered around membership qualifications but that was by no means a new topic of discussion. At the organization's very first meeting in 1944, the question of membership qualifications was discussed at length. The decision was finally made that any new applications be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a member of the organization to be sent to the national secretary and forwarded to the membership chairman to be acted upon by the membership committee. Various forms of this membership approval process have been used over the years by NAFB. Membership fees were set at $10 for those with commercial stations and $5 for those with non commercial stations. Two presentations were made at the meeting. One on a proposed farm reports service (NFBS) and the other asking for full assistance in urging production of more battery packs to alleviate the problem of many rural listeners who were dependent on battery powered radios. 

Other activity at the organizational meeting 70 years ago in Columbus, Ohio was a proposal by Art Page (WLS, Chicago) that a gavel be provided to the president and the gavel be made of wood representing the different areas. Layne Beaty (WBAP, Fort Worth) offered to secure wood from the West, Cliff Gray (WSPA, Spartanburg, South Carolina & Emerson Markham, WGY, Schenectady, NY) from the East and Page from the Midwest. Page also assured the group he would personally turn out the gavel and was given a ringing applause for his suggestion on national unity. After a vigorous debate that unity led to an unanimous vote of approval for the organization's name of National Association of Radio Farm Directors (NARFD) although some felt the use of "RFD" might seem flippant.