Broadcasting Pioneer | Wayne



Life is full of twist and turns. Where we finish is almost certainly not where we started. Wayne Jenkins, who has counted on Cloverleaf for therapy, started his professional career believing he would be a mechanical engineer. He was in fact enrolled at Purdue University majoring in ME. It just so happened that Wayne was working at the student radio station WBAA as an announcer which he really enjoyed.

Upon graduation from Purdue instead of pursuing a career in engineering, Wayne went to work for WBOW from 1949 – 1958 where he did general announcing. In 1958 Wayne needed a change, he went to work for WTHI in Terre Haute. There he was asked if he knew anything about the weather, because he just became their new weatherman. As time passed and people moved on, Wayne eventually found himself doing the agricultural report along with the weather duties. His boss felt like it was "a natural fit" the two positions being held by Wayne. This move ended up being a blessing because Wayne would later say, " My best work was done in agricuture."

Annually, Wayne attended the National Association of Farm Broadcasters meeting and over time he noticed that fewer and fewer broadcasters from TV were present. This got Wayne thinking because he knew that local TV stations wanted to report on agriculture, they just didn't want to pay someone to report it. So in Wayne's spare time, he started to devolp a concept of a national agricultural show. Somehow word got out on Wayne's side project, and one day he received a call from Washington D.C. It was the Press Secretary of the Department of Agriculture John Ochs. Press Secretary Ochs told Wayne that he had heard of his plans to broadcast a national agriculture show and that if the Department of Agriculture could help to let him know. Obviously Wayne wanted to know how the Department of Agriculture found out about his side project. It turns out that John Ochs was from Olney Illinois, and he knew who Wayne was. Wayne did have one request. He wanted to interview the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture for the first episode.

In 1982 Wayne started The Morning Ag Report. WFYI out of Indianapolis had the capabilities to uplink the daily show to the Bonneville 4 satellite. The show was broadcasted to 64 different TV stations nationwide. Topics ranged from all things agriculture including climate, weather, equipement, herbacides, etc. Included each week were two 5 minute interviews with Earl Butz, the former Secretary for the Department of Agriculture. He also had perodical interviews with John Block.

Wayne's affiliation with The Morning Ag Report took him more than around the U.S. He has spent time in Ireland, France, and Italy. In Italy he attended the 22 nd meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This meeting led to an informal meeting which included Pope John Paul II.

The Morning Ag Report ran for 10 years with Wayne as the anchor. The show ran 5 days a week for a ½ hour time slot. Wayne had a very successful career considering he had a Mechanical Engineering degree and never used it. With plans of returning home shortly, Wayne is grateful for the care he has received at Cloverleaf. "Good food, a lot of attention, and working with therapy; they have brought me back to where I was before my accident. For that I am truly grateful."