THE GEORGIA FARM RADIO NETWORK
Georgia's Largest, Most Professional Ag Radio Network
49 Years Of Georgia Farm Bureau Radio History
John Johnson joined Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) to produce a weekly radio program, called the Georgia Radio Monitor. It aired on 50,000 watt WMAZ-AM and would later expand into a 40-station network.
John Johnson originates the Georgia TV Monitor, a weekly half-hour program, which began airing on WMAZ-TV, Macon, in the Summer of 1966. It was produced by the Georgia Farm Bureau in cooperation with the Channel 13 CBS affliate and was sponsored by the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commissions. In 1969, the TV show's name would be changed to the present Georgia Farm Monitor.
Johnson left the Georgia Farm Bureau, and Jimmy Lee of WMAZ-TV became producer and host for the 40-station Georgia Radio Monitor programs on May 14,1967. Lee was then the Farm Director and Radio Operations Director for WMAZ-TV & Radio.
Jimmy Lee left WMAZ and, on Jan. 1, 1970, became GFB Director of Radio and Television. He would later be promoted to Information Director.
Steve Malone leaves WMAZ to join Jimmy Lee at Georgia Farm Bureau and becomes a FB radio network program producer and assists with television production on the Farm Monitor TV show. Radio programs are now carried on the Georgia Radio News Service, a statewide news network. GRNS later became the present-day Georgia News Network (GNN).
Jimmy Lee reports to the State Board that there are 35 stations carrying Farm Bureau Radio programs. Some carry programming originating five times a day on the statewide news network called Georgia Radio News Service and some stations carry recorded long-form programs mailed out on tape.
Jimmy Lee retires from Farm Bureau after 18 years. On August 12, Paul Beliveau, who like Lee, was Director of Operations for WMAZ, joined GFB as Director of Information/Public Relations. At that time, Steve Malone was named producer/host of the Georgia Farm Monitor TV program and Rick Treptow, another WMAZ alum, was hired as the producer for "Today's Farm Monitor" as the radio broadcasts were then called.
Cost dictated that we discontinue our radio programs on the Georgia Radio News Service (we were paying for satellite time). We then went to a telephone interface using two ITC broadcast cart machines and two 800-numbers, one for an Ag News program and one for daily Markets. Radio stations then called and recorded the programs for broadcast. We used equalized lines and it actually sounded pretty good.
The Georgia Network in Atlanta (formerly called Georgia Radio News Service) had an agricultural news service they called "AgriNews." It's demise, announced in late 1990, resulted in a call from Georgia Network's flagship station WGST about Farm Bureau becoming the ag news and ag markets provider on the Network.We accepted in January, 1991 and began producing news and markets for the satellite-delivered Georgia Network. The name of the new service is "Georgia Farm Radio News" or GFRN.
This marks the third year we have been the agricultural program supplier for the 115-station Georgia Network, owned by Meredith Broadcasting. Jacor soon owned WGST and the network and would later be bought by Clear Channel. GFRN is the only daily agricultural programming in Georgia. We are producing 5 daily programs: Morning Farm News; Midday Farm News; Opening Farm Markets; Closing Farm Markets and a program called "Today's Farm Monitor."
In May, 2001, a contract is signed by Clear Channel Radio Networks in Atlanta and Georgia Farm Bureau, Inc. creating the Georgia Farm Radio Network. GFRN is a commercial network joint venture and would initially begin with five daily programs carried on the same satellite as the Georgia News Network. Later that year, two more daily programs are added to the GFRN lineup for a total of seven per day.
Jan. 3, 2003 Steve Malone retires after 25 years with GFB. He was a principal radio program producer from 1977 to 1985, when his primary duties shifted to television.
GFRN celebrates 40 years as Georgia's largest, most professional ag radio network. As of December 15, 2005, GFRN has 40 affiliate radio stations throughout Georgia.
Rick Treptow retires after 28 years with GFB, and Mark Wildman is named News Director of GFRN.
Paul Beliveau retires after nearly 29 years with GFB. GFRN has 53 affiliates across the state.
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