Student Job Leads to Career Position

After what will end up being a year-and-a-half part-time job, Kolt Buchenroth has accepted a full-time position at Ohio Ag Net. He will continue to be responsible for regular radio programming, coordinating the network’s live and produced video products, and writing for the company’s publication, Ohio’s Country Journal.

“I couldn’t be more excited to continue to serve Ohio’s number-one industry,” said Buchenroth. “I’m so thankful to Bart & Sheryl (Johnson) for taking the chance on the college kid and giving me such a great opportunity.”

Buchenroth, who cut his teeth at WKTN-FM during those same high-school years, was starting to find his footing in farm broadcasting. He realized he could marry his passion for stories to his background in agriculture.

“I grew up showing cattle in 4-H and later in FFA,” said Buchenroth. “Mom raised horses, and Dad is an excavator specializing in farm drainage. While I did not grow up in the cab of a tractor, agriculture has always been a way of life for our family.”

Buchenroth started at WKTN as a board operator and reporter. It was several months before his voice ever hit the airwaves.

“Keith, my boss at the time, said ‘I need someone to cover these banquets.’ Really, that is where it all began,” said Buchenroth.

Those banquets were the county’s commodity association and FFA banquets. Being an FFA member and chapter officer himself, it was a natural fit for Buchenroth. From there, he started interviewing local farmers about their growing seasons, attending soil and water conservation district meetings, and visiting the county’s Ag Council breakfast put on by the Ohio State University Extension office.

“Looking back, I had no clue what I was doing. I am sure I’d cringe if I played those old interviews now. But those local farmers would talk to me. They believed in and trusted me. It meant a lot then and still does today,” he said.

His first experience with the Ohio Ag Net team (other than listening to Dale Minyo on the radio every day) was during the Ohio FFA State Convention.

“We do a student reporter program every year during the state FFA convention. Five FFA members get to do our jobs and cover the convention,” said Buchenroth. “I learned so much in those two days and met Bart and the team. The rest is history.”

He completed his freshman year at Ohio State at a regional campus while working at the radio station until he left for Columbus in 2018.

“I moved to Columbus to continue school. WKTN is an affiliate, and I just happened to keep in touch with the team at Ohio Ag Net through the years,” said Buchenroth.

It paid off. After Ty Higgins’ departure from the network, the team needed some help with programming.

“They redistributed Higgins’ responsibilities and brought me on to anchor afternoons and do some video,” Buchenroth said. “I was ecstatic. I remember calling my parents and saying, ‘You aren’t going to believe this!’”

He says he has most enjoyed meeting the “family” that is Ohio’s agriculture. Beyond that, Buchenroth has enjoyed his time in NAFB.

“I think NAFB is a fantastic resource for both students and professionals. I suggest a membership to all of my friends,” said Buchenroth. “As a professional, the networking component is just fantastic. Because of NAFB, I have been able to connect with folks to bounce ideas off them or just to chat. Agriculture is best served when we are all working together. NAFB fosters that.”

Buchenroth is set to graduate in May. In addition to his studies and work, he is a member of FarmHouse-ATZ Fraternity, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, and Collegiate Farm Bureau. He is the editor-in-chief of the Ag Communication program’s capstone magazine, The AgriNaturalist.

Additionally, Buchenroth serves as the marketing and communication director for the Hardin County Fair. He plans to move back to his hometown of Kenton after he graduates.