RFD Radio Network readies for its next 50

Radio station officials, farm broadcasters, farmer-leaders and supporters from around Illinois and the nation help recognize the first five decades of service to Illinois farmers and other Illinoisans.

By Mike Orso

Illinois farmers received on average $1.09/bushel for corn, $2.49/bushel for soybeans, a little over $23 per hwt./head for cattle and about $19 per hwt./head for hogs. The year was 1967, and Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) started the RFD Radio Network (RFDRN) with about a dozen radio stations around Illinois to help deliver markets and other essential information.

Fifty-years and 86-affiliated radio stations later, the network remains a vital link to Illinois farmers and other rural and urban Illinoisans.

“I was listening actually to RFD this morning,” said Findlay farmer Troy Uphoff, a member of the IFB board of directors who attended the network’s 50th Anniversary celebration Monday night in Decatur. “Whether you’re a millennial or a retired, seasoned producer, radio is always important.”

Illinois radio station general managers, news directors, farm broadcasters and other supporters of the RFDRN participated in its annual affiliates meeting Monday afternoon prior to the networks 50th Anniversary recognition. (Photo by Mike Orso)
Illinois radio station general managers, news directors, farm broadcasters and other supporters of the RFDRN participated in its annual affiliates meeting Monday afternoon prior to the network's 50th Anniversary recognition. (Photo by Mike Orso)

John Gooding, a Watseka farmer and farm director of RFDRN affiliate WGFA-AM/FM, joined 50 of his fellow farm broadcasters and radio station representatives at the celebration.

“I remember having my bowl of cereal, listening to the local farm broadcast getting the markets, and then as we got older my dad would turn on WGFA,” said Gooding. “Now it’s kind of ironic that I’ve become part of that team.”

Cebrina Hardy, left, network & audio services business manager, and Steven Peters, sales manager for RFDRN, FarmWeek and FarmWeekNow.com pulled out the 1960s garb to help celebrate the radio networks 1967 birthday.
Cebrina Hardy, left, network & audio services business manager, and Steven Peters, sales manager for RFDRN, FarmWeek and FarmWeekNow.com pulled out the 1960s garb to help celebrate the radio network's 1967 birthday.

RFDRN serves as one of the largest agricultural radio networks in the nation, broadcasting from its studios in Bloomington to more than 80 stations around the state.

Many ears and eyes will be focused on Decatur today as the annual Farm Progress Show gets underway after a heavy rain Monday evening. If you're planning a visit to the show, you can stop the IFB tent at 9:00 a.m. to watch and listen to RFDRN's Rita Frazer and DeLoss Jahnke broadcast  "RFD Today” on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at the COUNTRY Financial tent Thursday. Come by the IFB tent at 2:30 p.m. each day of the show to watch and listen in on Frazer and Jahnke's broadcast of the “Town & Country Partners” radio show. If you're not planning to visit the show, listen to your favorite local radio station that carries RFDRN to hear all of the latest taking place in Decatur.

Luann Pisarik, left, and Jennifer Saylor get in the 1960s mood at the RFDRNs 50th Anniversary celebration Monday evening in Decatur. Both work for J.L. Farmakis, which serves as RFDRNs national advertising sales representative. (Photo by Mike Orso)
Luann Pisarik, left, and Jennifer Saylor get in the 1960s mood at the RFDRN's 50th Anniversary celebration Monday evening in Decatur. Both work for J.L. Farmakis, which serves as RFDRN's national advertising sales representative. (Photo by Mike Orso)

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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