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The evolution of talk radio

Erica Louder for Progressive Forage Published on 03 October 2019
Talk Radio Podcasts

One of my earliest memories was listening to Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. I was in the backseat of a pickup truck, forehead pressed against the cold glass and listening to stories of alien abductions, Bigfoot sightings and government conspiracy theories.

As kids, my siblings and I eagerly awaited 11 p.m. when Dad would tune into AM 580 KIDO. This daily deluge of the darker side was just part of growing up in the Ramsey household. As a teenager, my first understanding of national politics was shaped by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and my mom’s favorite, Michael Savage. And, if I was ever around midday, I caught a bit of the Dave Ramsey Show. He remains a favorite, not only because he shares my name, but also because of his savvy financial advice.

The appeal of these radio programs has never left me. Call it genetic, but I still eagerly tune in to the latest in “talk radio.” I catch a bit of those old programs while hanging out with my Dad, but like a true millennial I call my talk radio “podcasts.” They are so existentially millennial. To start a podcast, you don’t need a connection in the radio industry; you don’t need to be wealthy; you don’t even need have anything interesting to say. Podcasts are as millennial as it gets: open-minded, self-expressive, tech-literate, multitasking and advice-seeking. They hold a huge appeal for me, and my podcast library shows it.

A couple years ago I began getting my agricultural news from this new-fangled talk radio. It started out with AgriTalk with Chip Flory, which is simply a carryover of his talk radio show (see, baby boomers are more adaptable than we like to believe). Then I discovered the Future of Agriculture with Tim Hammerich (their episode on hooked me). I also regularly enjoy Off-farm Income with Matt Brechwald and the FarmHER podcast called Shining Bright.

Recently, I discovered another agriculture podcast which is top notch. It’s called Millennial Ag. It is co-hosted by Valene Lickley and Katherine Lotspeich. While I have never met either of these women directly, I know something of them by report (Valene is the daughter of some friends) and in true podcast fashion, as a follower I feel like I know them. On Millennial Ag, Lickley and Lotspeich tackle the tough issues that divide us in agriculture. The first episode is called “Agriculture’s Civil War,” and the hosts dissect the history of the feud between dairy and beef producers and its impact on agriculture today. They are frank, forward-thinking and care deeply about our industry. If you think millennials are shifty, these two will quickly change your mind. Maybe it’s because I am one of them, but the more millennial farmers I meet, the more I believe in the future of agriculture.

With all this talk, I can’t help but appreciate the age of information we live in. All this information is very literally at our fingertips. Long gone are the days when George Noory was your only option if you found yourself on the road in the wee hours of the morning. By all means, tune into him if that’s your interest, but don’t do so out of desperation. Almost anything you can think of is available on a podcast. I am partial to the young agriculturists tearing it up on their podcast each week. Check a few of them out, and if you have recommendations for the latest and greatest in the podcasting world, leave it in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

PHOTO: Talk radio has evolved from the days of Paul Harvey – it's now called a "podcast," and they're everywhere. Photo by Lynn Jaynes.

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.