Blogging My Way To Austin & Back

Chuck Zimmerman

It’s almost Commodity Classic time. Well some folks are already there.

I’ll be heading that way tomorrow and will be providing reports on what I see, hear and participate in. I can tell you that the trade show and press conferences alone would keep a person busy full time for 3 days. You should see the press conference invitations and notices I’ve got!

A highlight on the schedule will be the general session on Friday. Most of the attendees will get their first personal contact with our new Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns.

The session will start with a panel discussion, followed by a speech from Johanns.

Ag commentator John Phipps will moderate the panel, which includes Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore; agriculture biotechnology expert Sano Shimoda; and Lynn Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development director for South Dakota.

Panelist will talk about topics, including the promise of biotechnology, combating negative consumer attitudes toward technology and farming, redefining U.S. agriculture’s role in improving the economic and social well-being of Americans and strategies for moving rural America forward.

Look for pictures and audio file links to statements and interviews I’ll conduct while I’m there.

It should be a very busy agenda!

Commodity Classic

Ahh, Swiss Agriculture

Chuck Zimmerman

We all know that the world has become much smaller due to new technologies. Journalists of all kinds are travelling all over the world covering agricultural news and information. We’ve got friends outside the country right now on the Valmont World Tour for example.

You may be familiar with a number of professional improvement groups here in the U-S like NAMA, NAFB, AAEA and LPC whose members are covering the industry wherever it takes them but did you know about IFAJ?

That’s the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. As they describe themselves on their website:

Our members are writers, broadcasters, photographers and designers working in all agricultural communications media. Members report on all aspects of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishery and food production industries.


promote the research and distribution of fair and accurate information
encourage unbiased and objectively presented work
help foster professional and personal contacts between agricultural journalists
assist in training of members
contribute to a better understanding between agricultural industries and all other sectors of the community including those active in environmental and animal protection issues.

Once again this year IFAJ will be holding it’s annual World Congress. This year in Switzerland in late August. The program will feature presentations on Swiss agriculture, the role of agriculture and the role of media. Sounds interesting. I think it would be a great place to be and blog what I learn there. We’ll see what happens. I hope they have good internet access.


2,803 Reporters! Over 6,000 Radio Stations!

Chuck Zimmerman

Yes, I’m still bragging about it. That’s a lot of radio stations and reporters.

I know I wrote about this in my last post. But I think it should be repeated.

If you had us send your Talking News Release to our complete reporter database, that’s how many would be on the receiving end. Where else can you get your news release in front of that many eyes?

The best part is that we push it through to them. They don’t have to travel to a website or look it up on some service. It’s right there in their inbox.

If they’re pressed for time but think you’ve got a good story then they even have immediate audio available to them.

This is why we encourage you to start using our service on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be just for some extremely special purpose. The cost is very reasonable.

Of course you should also send your release to print, tv and other reporters (we can help with that too). Why not send them the “Talking News Release” we’ve created? Then they can hear you while they read your release. Many print publications are incorporating audio into their online e-zines and you can certainly use the audio yourself on your own website.

It just makes sense to put all your technical options to work for you. That’s what we’re here for.

Call me today – 573-896-5842.

Remember our 2 for 1 offer which ends this week. Place your Talking News Release order by March 1 and we’ll give you a 2 for 1 deal.


Here’s How Many News Directors We Can Email To

Chuck Zimmerman

After doing a little updating on our radio station news director database I thought you might be interested in a little bit of analysis. We get asked these questions all the time.

We have individual email addresses for 2,803 different radio reporters across the United States. However, they work for and are heard on over 6,000 radio stations! A few of these reporters are also reporting for radio networks in programming that can be aired on many radio stations. You can safely assume that on the average most radio reporters are doing double duty and reporting news on at least 2 stations. Hopefully this helps you understand the potential number of stations a news story could air on when a news release is sent.

These are the folks we email Talking News Releases to. As you may know we can break out any state or group of states and even station formats.

Regular breakouts of states that we use include the top 15 corn and soybean growing states as well as other commodity area breakouts. We’ll custom create one for your Talking News Release project!


ZimmCast – Our Version of the Podcast

Chuck Zimmerman

We finally got it figured out and now it’s available. The ZimmComm podcast is the ZimmCast!

We’d like to know what you’d like to hear. Listen to the first one, it’s short, then provide your feedback. We intend to interview agrimarketing pros and provide their ideas through this new form of “radio/audio” communication. We recommend you get podcast software like Ipodder or iPodderx to manage your podcast subscriptions.

You’ll find it in a sidebar box on the right side of our blog. The graphic looks like this: . It’s a link to the subscribable file for our podcast. Right below it is a traditional audio file link to the same file if you don’t have podcast subscription software. All you have to do is click on it and your media player should automatically download and play the mp3 file.

For those of you who may wonder what this actually means, here’s a rather long definition of the term from the free online encyclopedia-Wikopedia:

The term “podcasting” is a portmanteau of the words iPod and broadcasting. Although an iPod is currently the playback device of choice for many early adopters of podcasting, a portable music player is not required to take advantage of this method of content distribution. Podcasting is functionally similar to the use of timeshift-capable digital video recorders (DVRs), such as TiVo, which let users record and store television programs for later viewing.

A podcast is much like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and she or he can listen to them at her or his leisure.

Podcasts differ from traditional internet audio in two important ways. In the past, listeners have had to either tune in to web radio on a schedule, or they have had to actively download individual files from webpages. Podcasts are more flexible and much easier to get. They can be listened to at any time because a copy is on the listener’s computer or portable music player, and they are automatically delivered to subscribers, so no active downloading is required.

Here’s a couple links to websites where you can learn more about it.

Wired article, 10/8/2004
The Podcast Directory
Podcasting News

Our plan is to provide ZimmCast on at least a weekly basis to start with. We’ll post a notice each time a new one is available as well. Happy listening!

Audio, Podcasts

Commodity Classic – Austin, TX

Chuck Zimmerman

I know I mentioned this in a previous post but here’s a little more information.

I’ll be blogging at the upcoming Commodity Classic in Austin, TX. This is the combined annual mtg. of the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association. It has a large trade show, along with member meetings and awards dinners.

From a press standpoint there are numerous press conferences already scheduled. In fact, I’ve got more places to be to find out the latest on products and services than there’s time to attend!

U. S. Secretary of Ag Mike Johannes will be there. It’ll be his second major event outside DC since taking that office. He was at the NCBA convention a couple weeks ago and you can see and hear him in previous posts from that event.

I’ll be heading out there on Thursday, so that’s when I’ll start posting more information. If there’s something you’re particularly interested in let me know and I’ll make sure I cover it.

Commodity Classic

Ag Media Summit – New This Summer

Chuck Zimmerman

I’m borrowing from the AAEA website for some of this post to help get the word out about the Ag Media Summit. Here’s what they had to say:

The Steering Committee of the Agricultural Publications Summit (APS) has voted unanimously to change the name of the annual professional development conference to the Agricultural Media Summit (AMS).

“Our members are involved in much more than publications today, including Web sites, radio and television,” said Betsy Freese, APS chairman and livestock editor of Successful Farming. “The new name better reflects the mission of our alliance of organizations.”

The AMS is a limited partnership of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and AgriCouncil of the Association of Business Media Companies. It will continue to feature professional development sessions in all phases of ag media, as well as an ever expanding Info-Expo trade show.

The first Summit was held in 1999. Approximately 400 members of the ag communications industry attend the annual event.

The 2005 Agricultural Media Summit will be held July 31 to Aug. 3 in Milwaukee.

In addition to the name change, Freese announced that AMS will launch a new interactive Web site that will provide updates on programs, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and registration. The site, which is still under construction, will be located at

The website isn’t currently active but should be in the near future.

ZimmComm will be attending and of course blogging through it. Ag communications professionals should plan to attend. This was a great event in 2004 !

Ag Media Summit

What A Week And A Busy One Coming Up

Chuck Zimmerman

While we had a very busy week the flu bug hit little old ZimmComm so I haven’t posted much for a few days. However, things are looking up.

We’d like to welcome a new client this week, Lutheran Senior Services. This company manages elderly care facilities including one in Jefferson City, MO – Heisinger Bluffs. We’ve been employed to conduct a community image assessment survey and report and also to submit a PR plan based on our findings. It’s an interesting project and we look forward to working with LSS in the future!

During the week we began conducting some new services for the Missouri Corn Growers Association as they have some staff transitions. Our good buddy Fred Stemme is moving to the National Corn Growers Association and this past Friday was his last day on the job in Jefferson City. I’ll be looking forward to seeing Fred at the Commodity Classic this week in Austin, TX.

I’ll be blogging away at Commodity Classic so keep checking back for new and updated information on the convention’s activities.

Commodity Classic

New Look And Name!

Chuck Zimmerman

Welcome to the new look for the ZimmComm blog. We’re currently transitioning to a new webserver so not all of our links are set up and working yet but that should be remedied within a couple days.

In the meantime all our posts and archives are active. Let us know your thoughts.