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Five years ago, If you would’ve told Kolt Buchenroth that he would be in the communication business, he likely would’ve laughed in your face.
“I was always quiet as a kid. I never spoke up in class. I wanted to work in IT and sit behind a desk for the rest of my life.
Dusty Boots and Farm Roots
Kolt grew up on a horse and beef farm just south of Kenton, Ohio. He spent his youth in 4-H and FFA showing beef projects at the Hardin County Fair.
“I owe a lot to my time in 4-H, FFA, and the fair. I learned all of the valuable skills, but perhaps more importantly, I joined a great community of friends. It really does take a village.”
Although he spent most of his life in agriculture, the world of technology inspired Buchenroth through elementary and middle school. He had aspirations to work in information technology in the education or business setting. That all changed when Kolt joined FFA his Freshman year of High School.
“Given my farm background, my time in 4-H, and invovlement at the fair, FFA was a natural choice. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Looking back, I don’t regret a single second that I spent in agricultural education and FFA.”
From Exhibitor to Employee
When Kolt was in the 8th grade, Hardin County OSU Extension 4-H Educator Mark Light handed over the Hardin County Fair Facebook page and free reign.
“Mark looked at me and said ‘Take photos and have fun.’ I suppose that’s where it all started.”
Since that time, Kolt volunteered while an exhibitor on several projects spanning from wireless broadband access across the grounds to digital signage television monitors and audio systems. Since his days an exhibitor and volunteer, Kolt has joined the team at the Hardin County Fair as their Marketing and Communication Director. He coordinates all the fair’s communication strategy, marketing campaigns, and works with local media. In addition, he administers the fair’s computer infrastructure network and works with the audio/visual team.
Cutting Teeth at WKTN
On a boiling July day in 2015, Kolt got a call from Keith Genshimer, the president and general manager of WKTN-FM. Keith had a position opening and a mutual friend of the two recommended Kolt. He started off helping report high school football scores, and covering miscellaneous news events. He would later evolve into the Agriculture News Director for the station, and kept busy reporting news of all sorts, from rushing to structure fires and car crashes to human interest stories and events.
“I owe a lot to Keith and Susan. They gave me my start in radio. Everyone at WKTN taught me so much about the art and business, and we had a blast in the process.”
The Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal student reporter was something foreign. Thanks to several community members, and his FFA Advisory Mrs. Shalie Logan, Kolt applied to be a student state FFA convention reporter. He, along with several folks that would soon become friends, covered that State FFA Convention. It was at this point that Kolt discovered his passion for agricultural communication and farm broadcasting.
“I was able to combine my roots in agriculture with my passion for broadcasting and communication, all while making a difference for producers and consumers. What more could I ask for?”
Putting It Together
Combining his work at the Hardin County Fair, WKTN, and Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal as a student reporter, Kolt took home the State and National FFA Proficiency Awards for Agricultural Communication in 2017.
“The proficiency was something that was really important to me. It had been a goal for a long time. I would’ve never been half as competative if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Logan, the boards of education at both Kenton and Ohio Hi-Point, the administration, faculty and staff at both schools, as well as my peers and community.”
Ohio State and Ohio Agriculture
Currently, Kolt is a student at The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communication, and Leadership where he studies Agricultural Communication, is Vice President of the Ohio State chapter of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, and a member of FarmHouse-ATZ Fraternity. Additionally, he tells Ohio Agriculture’s story one broadcast at a time as a Farm Broadcaster at Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal, Ohio’s Source for Ag Information.
When not on campus, in the studio, or on the fairgrounds, Kolt can be found around his home community where he works on community advancement and advocacy projects. At his alma mater, Kolt volunteers working in show production for Kenton’s music and athletic departments. Currently, he sits on Hardin County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee, works with first responders on different projects in the community.
“I got to know a lot of great people in my time at WKTN. A few include Sheriff Keith Everhart, the staff of the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, and countless other fantastic community organizations. None were more welcoming than the Kenton Fire Department. Chief Clark and his firefighters were always eager to answer my questions and show me what they did. It’s because of them that I have found a passion for working with first responders to keep our communities safer.”