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Agrimarketing : April 2009
FOCUS ON: AG/RURAL BROADCASTING UPDATE BROADCASTERPROFILE:OHIO’SABN A by the AgriMarketing Editors gri-BroadcastingNetwork (ABN) Radio, Columbus,OH, has a 36-year history asOhio’s largest farm-radionetwork. Today,its network includes 65 radio affiliates in Ohio, Indiana andWestVirginia. Its teamof three full-time broad- casters, including husband andwife Andy Vance and LindsayHill plus Gary Jackson provide four hours of programming daily consisting of numerous feeds of both long and short-formcontent reports,Monday through Friday, featuring agricul- tural news,markets andweather. ABNutilizes a combination of satel- lite and FTP delivery for its affiliates to accommodate thosewhowish to fully automate the programming, and thosewho prefer to be hands on. ABNwas foundedby the leg- endary Ed (E.J.) Johnson in 1972. Johnsonwas inductedinto the NationalAssociation of Farm Broadcasting’s(NAFB)Hall of Fame posthumously in 2005 andwas a pio- neer in farmbroadcasting, particularly in the development of networks. STARTEDAS AN INTERN In 1998,Hillwent towork for Johnson as an intern. Starting out in the studio during the earlymorning shift, she eventuallymoved to another position in the company. In themeantime, Vancewas hired to replace her in the studio. Thus, began their journey together. After Johnson‘s passing in 2001, Hill continued towork for the John- son family as amarketing specialist for theOhio Country Journalmaga- zine. Vance took an internship at 880 WRFDin Columbus and a year later was offered the position of farm director forOhio FarmRadio.Hill joined himat that company and three months later theyweremarried. Just over a year later,WRFD dis- continued the farmprogramand the couple decided to launch their own farmradio network to fill the void. They put a studio in their farm house and the Buckeye Ag Radio Network (BARN) took to the air in November 2005. 64 Agri Marketing s April 2009 L to R: Gary Jackson, Lindsay Hill and Andy Vance.Hill and Vance are the only husband-wife teamto havewon NAFB’sHorizon Awardwhich recognizes excellence in farmbroadcasting and promise for the future. He in 2006, she last year. In February 2007, they took over operations ofABNRadio,merging the businesswith BARN. “WithABN boasting such a long and extraordi- nary history,”Hill says, “and being recognized both statewide and nationally,we continue to brand our radio programming asABNRadio.” ADDITIONAL SERVICES “ABNhas truly embraced the concept of 360 degreemedia thatwe can pro- vide for our clientsmedia services touching every aspect of their cam- paigns and products,” Vance reports. “At the heart of our new media integration is ourWeb site www.BuckeyeAg.com thatwe have branded as “Ohio’sHomepage for Agriculture.” The site offers news, audio on demand, an affiliate station locator and numerous other features. Themost popular feature of the site is consistently our blogs,which allowus to take off our news hat and offer editorial and opinion on a vari- ety of subjects.” Hill continues, “Additionally, through our re-branding,we created BARN-TV inwhichwe streamvideo content frommany of the events that we attend throughout the year on ourWebsite.Another layer of BARN-TV is the creation of custom video content for our advertisers and industry partners. “In addition,we have embraced socialmedia endeavors like Facebook and Twitter,” she says. The couple says they have been fortunateABN’s advertising base has remained strong, and even grown, in spite of concerns about the economy at both the local and national levels. Locally,one of its key partners isOhio FarmBureau Federationwhomthey assist inmarketing its own print, tele- vision andweb products. “We alsowork annuallywith the Ohio PropaneGas Association,” Hill says. “In that partnershipwe promote the benefits of propane by showcasing a propane-powered Gator at each stop on the ABN County Fair and Festival Tour dur- ing the summermonths.ABNvisits over 100 county fairs, festivals and field days each summer.” On a national level,ABNis repre- sented by Katz Advantage. LOOKING AHEAD “The future of agricultural and rural broadcast is as strong as it has ever been,” Vance says. “Naysayers claimed FMwas the death ofAM, the cassette the death of FM, Satellite radio the death of both and the iPod the great slayer of all of the above.” “Nothing, however, canmatch the instant and incomparable delivery of broadcast radio in delivering the days’ headlines andmission-critical infor- mation,”Hill concludes. “Beyond the primacy of a just-in-timemedium, the relational aspect of our farmbroad- caster heritage gives our industry a trump card onwhich to rely in grow- ing business through adoption and integration of social andWeb-based content delivery vehicles.” AM
May 2009 Supplement