John Herath's Career Began With Radio Station Internship

About his career, John Herath (Farm Journal News Director, South Bend, IN) said, “Nearly all of my career circles back to an unplanned internship at a local radio station. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of very smart people who have been gracious and patient enough to let me learn from them.” It was at that station, WLDS in Jacksonville, IL, where John first worked with Mike Adams, then the station’s farm director. John worked full-time in the station’s news department through his college years. Mike Perrine was the farm director at the cross-town rival. After graduation, John did a brief stint as news director at WIHN (Bloomington, IL) before moving to WFMB/WCVS (Springfield, IL) where he co-hosted a morning political talk show and served as backup to legendary farm broadcaster Peggy Kaye. “Peggy not only taught me how to read a markets screen, but she also shared her tenacious news sense and how to relate on a personal level to the radio audience. Those lessons continued with subsequent Farm Director Hartzel Bruno, one of the most big-hearted men I’ve ever known,” he said. John’s radio career took a break in 1997 as he moved to the Illinois Department of Agriculture to serve as public information officer for Ag Director Becky Doyle and press secretary for Director Joe Hampton. In the state position, John had the opportunity to work on a daily basis with a strong ag reporting corps in Illinois, which at the time included Orion Samuelson, Max Armstrong, Charlyn Fargo, Colleen Callahan, Jim Fleming, Dave Schumacher, Mike Adams, and Mike Perrine. As Rod Blagojevich became governor of Illinois in 2003, it was time to find a new opportunity and re-join farm radio. John joined Mike Adams at the AgriTalk network as the show moved to St. Louis, MO. Mike Perrine soon became part of the trio. “I’ve spent probably more hours and certainly more miles with Mike Adams than with anyone, including my family,” Herath said. “From driving through blizzards in the Dakotas, to broadcasting from the show ring next to a bucking bull and traveling through the slums of Colombia, Mike and I have a million wonderful shared memories. I was so pleased to see his remarkable career recognized by the NAFB Hall of Fame.” Since 2012, Herath has been with Farm Journal, serving first as executive producer of radio programming and now as the company’s news director. He still manages the AgriTalk and After the Bell radio shows, the podcast network, and now also the news on the company’s varied digital platforms. “I still find myself surrounded by incredibly smart people like Chip Flory, Clinton Griffiths, Tyne Morgan, and Betsy Jibben. He concludes, “Now I get to work with a big stable of similarly intelligent and creative reporters across the Farm Journal print, digital, and broadcast teams. And I keep learning from them every day.”