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Agrimarketing : October 2007
i-28 AgriMarketing October 2007 The roots of modern farm radio began with broadcasting com- modity prices to farmers in rural America so they could make the decisions they needed to market their crops. As farm broadcasting evolved over the years, it began to cover all agricultural news that was relevant to producers in the coverage area, both national and local. Many farm broadcasters today are increasing their information delivery to their audience with mul- tiple "touch points." With the chang- ing demographics and technology of rural America, this effort often takes the form of electronic communica- tion that is direct to the recipient. TEXT MESSAGING KRVN Radio, Lexington, NE, recently launched their new text mes- saging service at Husker Harvest Days called "KRVN Mobile Markets." The paid service provides text mes- sage updates on the commodity mar- kets selected by the client. "KRVN started providing ag news and information to farmers and ranchers on the radio in 1951," says Denny Waddle, KRVN Radio. "Hav- ing the legacy of being a leader in ag radio, we continue to seek opportuni- ties to provide the information ag producers need to succeed." KRVN partners the text messag- ing service with the Colorado-based company Commodity Updates. Clients can select the specific com- modities they wish to follow as well as the number of times per day they would like to receive the messages. "Since we're owned by 4,000 farmers and ranchers," says Eric Brown, KRVN GM, "we are always looking for better ways to communi- cate information. In today's market you can't afford to be out of touch, this technology is easy to use by uti- lizing something you already own, a cell phone." The service is also offered to lis- teners in the KTIC (West Point) and KNEB (Scotts Bluff) listening areas. E-MAIL AND E-NEWSLETTERS NAFB broadcaster Ron Hays, Radio Oklahoma Network, Oklahoma City, OK, has been producing a daily e-newslet- ter for the past couple years called the "Okla- homa's Farm News Update." The subscription list has grown to more than 1,500 recipients. "The difference between what we offer on our radio reports and what we offer on the e-newsletter is that we can impart more details about stories to our e-mail audience than we have time to do so on the radio," Hays says. "Often on the air, we will direct our listeners to our Web site for more information on a particular story --- and it's the same concept for the e-mail. The added element for the e-mail is that we can hyperlink to audio that we did for radio that is on our Web site, or we can link to even more details on a story that is out there in cyberspace on the Internet." He has also used times of the year when his farm radio audience historically grows, like harvest, to promote his daily e-mail. He has found that ending reports during wheat harvest season with a tagline about how to sign up for his newsletter has significantly increased the subscription base. A little further north, in the Dakotas and surrounding area, the Red River Farm Network (RRFN) produces a weekly e-newsletter titled "FarmNetNews." "It's really the best of both worlds," says the RRFN's Don Wick. "Our on-air product delivers the breaking news. We provide timely information with the power of the human voice, from our team of broadcasters and the newsmakers. Our e-newsletter, FarmNetNews, supplements this and offers news to an audience that likes to have the information on their own terms. The e-newsletter is available in their inbox on a schedule that is conve- nient to them. And, it's not just fluff; we provide solid information in a concise manner." FarmNetNews is now reaching over 5,000 total subscribers. Readers range from producers in the radio coverage area of the RRFN to legisla- tors in Washington, D.C. The success of the weekly e-newsletter prompted the team to also start the "Farm Bill Focus" Web site. Wick says, "We have been taking turns going to Washington covering all the latest news on the Farm Bill and what it means to our listeners. "Having a member of the RRFN go to the source in Washington, D.C. on a regular basis has provided a lot of good candid content to this site. We take pride in our direct con- tact with our listening audience in all the events we attend in the RRFN coverage area, it just made sense to follow this same practice on something as important to agricul- ture as the Farm Bill." NAFB members have various stories about how their e-newslet- ters originated. Many were initi- ated by recognizing the need for a consolidated brief source of infor- mation for their audiences. This was the case for the Ohio Ag Net, launched by Bart Johnson, the son of NAFB Hall of Fame member, the late Ed Johnson. "One day Bart and I were talk- ing and he asked if I would start sending him a daily e-mail update that contained audio from my Morn- Hayes Wick NAFB MEMBERS REACH THEIR AUDIENCES by Jeremy Povenmire, NAFB Member Services Manager
November December 2006
November December 2007