Everett Griner, at 92 years young, is turning off his Southeast AgNet microphone to officially retire. He plans to spend more time with his wife at their farm home in Moultrie, Georgia.
There are so many things about Griner I have learned to appreciate and respect since he joined the Southeast AgNet farm broadcast team in the late 1980s. He was already an accomplished and well-known farm broadcaster throughout Georgia at the time. His commentary skills were honed through a lifetime of unique experiences and world travels.
Griner served in all four branches of the U.S. armed forces. He entered the Navy during World War II and was transferred into a Marine security unit immediately after boot camp. World War II ended the day his unit crossed the international dateline on the way to the war, so his months in the Pacific were spent traveling the region on various missions during the rebuilding months in the war’s aftermath.
Enlisting again during the Korean conflict, this time into the Air Force, Griner was immediately assigned to an Army base, due to limited facilities in the Air Force at that time. He saw places like Libya and Tripoli, and even spent time as a military police officer. Griner’s combined years in the service included assignments on four different continents.
In between his two stints in the armed forces, Griner began his radio broadcasting career in 1948. “We did very little taping,” he says. “Everything we did was live.” In those days, regular newscasts in Georgia included a lot of farm news.
Griner tells stories of playing the guitar during live music segments. When the band took a break, he would read the local news, farm news and high school sports headlines. The station had a daily farm news hour, which he eventually hosted and anchored. Griner has made farm broadcasting his full-time career for the past 38 years. Nearly 30 of those years have been spent on the Southeast AgNet Radio Network team.
In 1980, “I left the job I had for 26 years in local radio broadcasting and became the full-time farm reporter for the Georgia Network,” Griner recalls. “By 1982, we had 100 station affiliates, just in Georgia.”
SEGUEING TO SOUTHEAST AGNET
I met Griner for the first time when I was working in communications at Florida Farm Bureau in the early 1980s. I heard about this guy in Georgia who was broadcasting farm news statewide from a studio in a barn in Moultrie. There was a niche industry developing in many farm areas of the nation called “farm broadcasting.” The seed was planted. I fondly refer to Griner as the Granddaddy of Southeast AgNet. He had the vision, roots, historical background and grassroots knowledge of radio and farming that in later years helped us introduce Southeast AgNet radio network into Georgia.
The forerunner of Southeast AgNet first expanded out of Florida into a three-state network in 1989. Griner anchored AgNet’s regional broadcasts for many years. Later on, reducing his workload, he focused energies on network commentaries called “Agri View.” His more than 2,400 commentaries have developed a loyal following online at http://southeastagnet.com/?s=agri+view. A favorite of mine is “The Farm Dog”, also online at http://southeastagnet.com/2007/09/22/the-farm-dog/.
Griner has been called “the Paul Harvey of farm radio” due to his effective use of pauses in delivering his messages with his unique southern drawl.
A master woodworker and hobby carpenter, Griner built his barn himself decades ago, complete with an upstairs broadcast studio that allows him to watch his cotton and peanut operations from the window. For many years, travelers passing his home on Highway 319 could buy one of his custom-made birdhouses on display daily at roadside. It’s another endeavor for which he developed a regional following.
Recently, Griner and his wife watched live TV coverage as Hurricane Michael made its devastating pass through the Southeast, destroying crops and property on some of the richest farming acres in Georgia. While most others in their immediate area lost power, the Griner’s were fortunate.
Griner offers this advice for young people coming into the industry: “Just enjoy what you do, and do what you enjoy, but do it well. If I were a young man looking for a career today, I would choose the same thing I’ve chosen. I would do it again!”
If you would like to send Everett a retirement message or a comment about his commentaries over the years, you can get your message to him by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org