Jenkinson Restores Antique Tractors, Flies Plane, Broadcasts on Radio/TV

“I grew up on a 5,000-acre irrigated and dryland grain farm in southwest Kansas, and always knew that I was going to be a farmer,” said John Jenkinson (KBUF).I was very active in 4-H and FFA and got my degrees in agriculture and aviation. However, in 1994, I was offered a news/on-air position at a radio station in Hutchinson, Kansas. I took the job, sold my equipment, and moved. While working there, a friend told me about farm broadcasting and told me there was an opening at KFEQ in St. Joseph, Missouri, with Tom Brand and Gene Millard.

“From there, I went west to Ft. Morgan, Colorado, and got more experience under the leadership of Todd Whalen at KSIR. After making a name for myself there, I was invited by Kelly Lenz to join him and Greg Akagi at WIBW and the Kansas Agriculture Network in Topeka. It was there I also got experience in front of the television camera at WIBW-TV and KSNT-TV.  

“After that, it was on to KMZU in Carrolton, Missouri, and then back closer to ‘home’ as farm director at KBUF in Garden City, Kansas. During my time there, I created The Ag Network that served seven states with farm news and markets. I also was asked to provide two agriculture reports a day for the KSN television network of stations,” Jenkinson said. 

“While sitting at home one evening, I received a call from Gary Kanofsky at RFD-TV. He wanted to know if I would be interested in filling an open position as anchor of news and markets at RFD-TV and Rural Radio, Channel 147 on Sirius XM. 

“That was a turning moment because six years earlier, I had the chance to visit RFD in Nashville, and told myself at the time, ‘I’d sure like to work here someday,’ but never dreamed I would stand a chance. The time there was undoubtedly the highlight of my farm broadcasting career. 

“I spent four years with that organization, before going back to Garden City and taking over again at KBUF and The Ag Network. Today, I provide two television reports a day for seven NBC affiliates in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado. Also, I provide market and newscasts for 33 radio stations from Springfield, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado,” Jenkinson said.

“This job has never been about me. It’s always been about telling the story of agriculture. While I was in FFA, I was making speeches about the rural lifestyle and was an outspoken advocate for farming and ranching, so I guess it was a good fit. I’d love to be farming full-time, but I didn’t choose this career. God chose it for me. I’ve always kept my feet in the family farm because I believe that it’s important for me to know what I’m talking about, rather than just reading it from a computer screen. I still find time to enjoy restoring antique tractors, semis, and flying my airplane. I’m also a colonel in the Commemorative Air Force and spend some of my spare time as crew member of a C-45,” Jenkinson concluded.