| ||Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’s farm radio program, Call of the Land, celebrates its 60th anniversary on April 1, 2013. Call of the Land is a unique program to Alberta and is the only one of its kind in Canada.
“The program was first broadcast on April 1, 1953,” says Caitlynn Reesor, farm radio commentator with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. “Its purpose was and is to publicize the department’s programs and policies, provide updates and advice as well as look at what’s going on in agricultural industries.”
Call of the Land is currently being carried weekdays on 27 Alberta radio stations and two stations in British Columbia. However, when the program first started in 1953, it had a much smaller audience. “The program was originally carried by just six stations, and there was quite a scramble actually getting those first programs to air,” says Reesor. “There have been 11 commentators since the program started in 1953. Everett McCrimmon was the first and then came Scott Flewitt, Ed Hamula, John Andrew, Warren Wismer, Don Potter, Douglas Pettit, Phil Thomas, Gerard Vaillancourt, Jack Howell and now myself.”
“I’ve interviewed provincial agriculture ministers, deputy ministers and specialists from many divisions and branches of the department as well representatives from production, processing and marketing areas of Alberta’s agriculture industries.”
Over the years, technology has really changed the way Call of the Land is produced and delivered. When the program began, it was recorded on audiotape and copies were made of each broadcast and shipped by mail to stations two days before the program was to be aired. Now the program is produced entirely on computer and sent to the stations via internet for same-day broadcast. Listeners can even read the scripts and download the recorded interviews from the department’s web page. The internet delivery means that the program can be uploaded literally minutes before the program is received by the stations.
Call of the Land has been a valuable resource to the agricultural community for the last 60 years. The program provides a unique service that highlights what department staff are doing as well as publicizes department programs and policies. The calendar of upcoming events on the program has always been an invaluable way to keep the audience well-informed.
Further information on Call of the Land is available by calling Reesor at 780-422-3981.