I came to radio ag circles after a seven-year career in teaching, followed by about eight years in radio, television and newspaper (regular news) reporting. (You might say I have a short attention span!)
I have a liberal arts undergrad degree (BDN University) and a bunch of “learn-by- doin'” experience.
I highly respected and was inspired by radio ag reporters I worked with in Prince Albert and Yorkton.
The late Norman Roebuck was a farmer, businessman and community builder in Yorkton. At CKOS TV in Yorkton he took me under his wing and quickly taught me how to relax in front of the cameras. At the time I had no inclination that ag reporting would become a career, but one day – on short notice (10 minutes) – I was handed an assignment to interview then federal ag minister (and minister in charge of CWB) Otto Lang! The lesson learned was, of course – keep calm and chive on!
At CJGX Radio, Yorkton, I was the (somewhat reluctant) news director for several years. A local farmer, Doug Sherwin, had been the voice of agriculture to east central Saskatchewan before I came here in about 1972. I was intrigued by how he went about his radio work with a laid back and casual approach that very much suited the material and his audience, I thought.
When I was offered the opportunity to “do ag” in 1987, I was eager but as was typical of most people in the media, wondered how would you “fill” a 30-minute slot with ag material! I very quickly realized ag journalism really is no different than regular “news” reporting. The show (and interviewing farmers) became a passion to me and quickly expanded to an hour daily. The biggest challenge, learning to ask the right questions, is still a work in progress!
As “exec” with The Prairie Oat Growers (2002 to 2011), I learned a whole new side of agriculture helping set up the first oat commissions in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. The job also gave me experience in newsletter writing. (The directors were of course all farmers and were the best people I have ever worked for!)
Since 2011, I have worked as a freelancer supplying daily news (and often an opinion piece) to 98.5 FM in Yorkton. I do a weekly one-hour magazine show – of course it’s all ag features – plus a daily three-minute “rap.”
Being part of the ag writers group has been another bonus – a bunch of new friends and colleagues I am very proud to know. My ever-lovin’ wife Jeanette is a retired high school teacher who has supported all the crazy moves I’ve made (no doubt in hope that Jack may one day grow up!).