BATON ROUGE—The Louisiana Farm Bureau Radio Network is merging its farm broadcasting operations with the Louisiana Radio Network’s Agri-News division, creating one of the largest farm radio networks in the South.
The Louisiana Farm Bureau Agri-News Radio Network will have a combined 42 affiliates in Louisiana and Mississippi. LRN President Jim Engster said the merger, which takes effect Aug. 6., represents the largest consolidation of Louisiana stations that carry farm news.
“Over the years we’ve worked closely with the Farm Bureau to provide our listeners with timely and accurate farm news and commodity prices,” Engster said. “This merger gives us both an opportunity to improve our farm news presence across the state.”
LRN launched the Louisiana Agri-News Network in 1976, offering several daily agriculture reports for the state’s farmers and produced in cooperation with the Farm Bureau. In 1998 the Farm Bureau began the Louisiana Farm Bureau Radio Network with 22 affiliates statewide.
In 2008 both organizations began sharing farm news and commodities prices. Ronnie Anderson, president of the Louisiana Farm Bureau, said merging the networks represents the next logical step.
“This is an opportunity for us to increase public awareness of the important role farmers and ranchers play in our daily lives,” Anderson said. “It’s also a chance to showcase the economic impact that farming has on our state while keeping residents updated on things going on in their communities.”
Neil Melancon, general manager of the Farm Bureau network, will share broadcasting duties with Don Molino, LRN’s farm director since 1987.
“We’ll each have the ability to get out into the field more often, bringing our listeners a wider range of stories than ever before,” Molino said. “For our affiliates, it means more concise broadcasts and greater local revenue-generating potential.”
The Louisiana Farm Bureau Agri-News Radio Network will host a companion website with podcasts of its daily radio reports as well as “The Bottom Line,” Melancon’s segment that airs on the Farm Bureau’s weekly TV show, “This Week in Louisiana Agriculture.” The site, www.LFBARN.com, will launch the week of Aug. 13.
Founded in 1974, Louisiana Radio Network provides 71 radio stations throughout Louisiana and parts of Mississippi with news, sports and agri-news. LRN also publishes Tiger Rag, “The Bible of LSU Sports,” since 1978, and presents the annual Louisiana Farmer of the Year award.
The Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, founded in 1922, is the state’s largest general farm and ranch organization.