WITY Celebrates 20 Years with Farm Broadcasting

In January, WITY Radio celebrated its 20th anniversary of farm broadcasting across the central Illinois and western Indiana regions. For most of those 20 years, Dave Brown, vice president and general manager of WITY Radio, has been responsible for the station’s farm broadcasting efforts.

Brown has been involved in radio for more than 45 years and began working at WITY in 1994.

“Farm broadcasting provides agriculture information to a diverse audience on local, regional, statewide, and national levels,” Brown said. “We can accomplish that by multiple partnerships, including a local farm department, the RFD Illinois Radio Network for state coverage, Max Armstrong’s Midwest Digest and Farm Progress America, and the Hoosier Ag Today Network.”

WITY began with farm broadcasting in early 2002, with just one farm director, Marvin Wells. The station now has a group of several individuals who all make up the ag team, covering community events as well as providing traditional farm and market reports.

“It takes a team to make it work. One person cannot do it all. But I believe we have a great agriculture team here at WITY, when you add all the resources up,” Brown added. “99.5 FM and 980 AM WITY provides more than three hours of farm programming every weekday.”

Phyllis Parks, Dennis Michelsen, and Erin Anderson are the three primary members of the ag team at WITY. Together, they cover events impacting the area, including county fairs, regional agriculture shows, and other special events. In addition, the WITY ag team presents coverages on all-day markets, interviews, online podcasts, videos, and more with the “Down on the Farm” feature.

WITY also provides audience members with information from ABC News, including state and local news, weather, and The Dave Ramsey Show, along with the area’s only adult contemporary and country-crossover music format, featuring favorites from the 1960s through the 1980s.

In addition to sharing agricultural information and stories with the station’s farming audience, Brown said, he and his team also realize the importance of sharing that information to urban listeners.

“Over the years, I have had many listeners tell me how they appreciate hearing agriculture information, even if they are not directly involved with the industry,” Brown said. “It allows everyone to understand better what the farmer or agriculture business goes through to provide those necessities. At WITY, we try to give people a better feel for the agriculture industry, and we are proud to do so.”