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Agrimarketing : November December 2006
How did I come to appreciate the power of farm radio? Coincidently, it was growing up as a farm daughter in central Illinois in a family of all sisters and no brothers -- which meant I only had limited "tractor time." You see, my dad didn't believe that "the girls" could drive very well. I can only remember a few times -- when there must not have been a guy available in the whole state -- that I was actually asked to drive the tractor, usually for cultivating. On those rare occasions of "tractor time," I was assigned the oldest tractor on the farm -- the one with no cab, no radio, really no comforts at all. It was quite literally a machine held together by rust and green paint. This was, of course, so I couldn't somehow ruin Dad's new equipment. On the other hand, he would have never been without his cab or his farm radio! Like most growers, he had a strong relationship with farm radio. It was important to his business. The irony is that, at age 15 driving that cab-less tractor, I had no idea how valuable farm radio would be to me in my future business -- working on behalf of my clients. As Media Director at Quarry Integrated Communications, as well as in previous media/ communications positions that I have held over the past 20 years, I have relied on farm radio as a key vehicle in building my clients' brands. Farm radio connects emotionally with producers and offers benefits like no other media: • Frequency -- Farmers are not listening to their farm radio once a month; they're listening every day, often all day, all year long. • Mobility -- Producers are listening at home, in their trucks, in their shops, in their tractors or combines. Wherever they go, radio goes with them. • Flexibility and Immediacy -- Radio campaigns can get up and running on very short notice. There's no 4- to 6-week lead time for closings. That makes it an effective vehicle when a new product is registered, or there is a disease or weed outbreak in a specific geography. • Local -- The news and information from the local radio station is pertinent to that producer in his geography -- and I can tag the spots with a local retailer if needed. • Measurability -- AMR ratings allow me to provide my clients with the quantifiable data on farmers reached by the radio stations and networks that I recommend. • Accountability -- NAFB farm broadcasters are well respected, professional journalists with a passion for agriculture and accountability to the crop and livestock producers they reach. These are the reasons that I recommend and buy farm radio. They haven't really changed much over the years. And it doesn't matter what crop I'm targeting --- radio can be a primary and cost-efficient component in the media mix, from almonds to soybeans. And, I think my dad would be proud to see how his relationship with farm radio and the agriculture it represents helped shape my career. I'm thinking that, by now, he might have even let me drive one of his "good" tractors -- one with a radio! RAISED ON CAB-LESS 'TRACTOR TIME' NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FARM BROADCASTING Our member stations and networks are the gold standard in farm and rural community broadcasting. Angie Skochdopole, based in a suburb of Richmond, Va., is Media Director of Quarry Integrated Communications, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.