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At a time when everyone else seems to be cutting back on farm programming, one network recently rolled out the largest programming overhaul in its 30-year history. The Brownfield Network, Jefferson City, Mo., has added 11 new program choices, which are being offered to the network's 220 radio affiliates in the corn and soybean belts of the United States.

"My main objective after being promoted to farm director in October of 2001 was to revamp our product," says Cyndi Young.

Cyndi Young, Brownfield Network farm director
The new lineup contains programs for both the traditional farmer-listener and the non-traditional listener in rural America. "The concept for these new programs and the tweaking of our current lineup was born of discussion with farmer-listeners and affiliate radio stations throughout the Midwest," Young says.

Anyone involved in agriculture can see that the industry is changing dramatically. The number of farmers is decreasing, while the population in rural America is actually growing. It's these changes that have prompted many agriculture media companies to change their strategies.

"The realization that the fabric of rural America is changing led us to add some programming that will be of interest to our rural audience, without short-changing our traditional farmer-listeners," Young says. "We asked the grassroots of America how to move forward and embrace these changing times in agriculture with programming that would satisfy their need for rural news and information, and their want for commentary and entertainment," she explains.

Trent Loos, host of "Truth Be Told" and "Loos Tales," two new shows of the Brownfield Network
A 15-year farm broadcast veteran, Young leads the farm broadcasting team that features market reporters Dick Marshall, Jerry Passer and John Perkins. Lauri Struve, Bob Middendorf and Janet Adkison report farm news. Andrew McCrea produces and hosts "American Countryside." Trent Loos and Derry Brownfield provide agricultural commentary, while Steve Kopperud, senior vice president of Policy Directions Inc., and Mike Duncan, Potomac News, report on agricultural and rural issues from the nation's capital.

"Going back to our roots, we feature more personality from our broadcasters and more local identity," Young says. She also points out that all but one of the broadcast team members come from a production agriculture background, and almost all of them are still involved in production agriculture, which creates credibility and camaraderie with the farmer-listeners.

Overall, the alterations in Brownfield Network's personalities and programs show the value that is being placed on agriculture and rural America. "This innovative programming and hiring of more broadcasters reflects Brownfield's commitment to agriculture and the rural audience it serves," says Clyde G. Lear, president of Learfield Communications, owner and operator of the Brownfield Network. AM


The Brownfield Network, Jefferson, City, Mo., recently revamped its programming and personalities. Here are the new features:

"Rural Issues Forum," hosted by Cyndi Young, takes a look at issues that impact rural America - from health insurance for farmers and their families to rural infrastructure, education, crime, property rights, etc;

"Managing For Profit" is a program about risk management in agriculture, covering the use of crop insurance, marketing tools, updates on farm programs, taxes, examination of the political environment and other information that helps farmers find success in a changing marketplace;

"Hoofbeat," an equine-specific program, showcases the personality of Learfield's resident horse expert, Lauri Struve. The program covers issues pertaining to the equine industry in the United States for the owner of one or two horses to larger operations;

"Inside D.C." focuses on agricultural and rural issues in Washington, D.C., utilizing the personality of Steve Kopperud, senior vice president of Policy Directives, a government affairs company specializing in production agriculture, agribusiness, food and research/health-related issues. Kopperud provides a daily update on what is happening in our nation's capital from his viewpoint - inside D.C.;

"Truth Be Told" addresses areas of food production, sorting fact from fiction and addressing the myths of food production. The program, hosted by Trent Loos, a sixth generation farmer, gets to the root of these issues and provides a plan of action on how everyone should combat the misinformation;

"Loos Tales," also hosted by Loos, focuses on the people involved in production agriculture and food production; and

"Speedway Spotlight" is a weekly program that reviews the past weekend's race, features interviews with drivers and team owners and covers issues pertaining to NASCAR, Busch series, ARCA, etc. AM

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