Carl Gerdovich ▬ NEWS & SPORTS
WGFA’s News Director Carl Gerdovich is a 30-year news-sports veteran. He says his grandmother may have triggered his interest in “what’s going on in the world.” “When I, my brothers and sister were just little kids, running through the house, grandma would insist we settle down when it was time for the 6pm news…because Walter (Cronkite), Chet (Huntley) and David (Brinkley) had something important we needed to know about.”
Carl often talks about how the “thrill of live radio” and the opportunity to make a difference drives him. “The adrenaline rush to get a breaking news story on the air and deliver accurate, timely information listeners need to know is what it’s all about,” Carl says, and keeping the community informed is important.
Carl was born and raised in north-central Illinois. He credits his parents for his work ethic, committing to something and seeing it through to the end, while making sure the end result makes a difference. Growing up a sports junkie, Carl was inspired by Illinois sports voices Art Kimball and Lanny Slevin. As a kid, Carl also followed the Illinois sports voices of Dick Martin, Jim Grabowski and Max Hooper on the Bromar Sports Network. So, the day Dick Martin called to offer Carl a job at WGFA, Carl says “enough said.”
Carl won a news-documentary award for his look back at the 1970 Crescent City train explosion. He also earned spot-news recognition for coverage of the Amtrak train disaster in Bourbonnais and provided continuous news coverage of the FAA probe into the tragic plane crash at Roselawn, IN. Carl says he’s proud to play a role in maintaining WGFA radio’s commitment as “Illiana’s News Source.”
A member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, Carl’s response to news emergencies and interest in weather situations also finds him serving as Iroquois County Coordinator for Emergency Services & Disaster Agency (ESDA). He’s also a daily weather observer for the National Weather Service.
Favorite Food(s): Italian Food
Favorite Sports Teams(s): St. Louis Cardinals
Ken Root ▬ NATIONAL FARM BROADCASTER
Ken Root is WGFA’s National Farm Broadcaster. He joined the WGFA airstaff in spring 2010. He was recommended for the position by former WGFA farm broadcaster Colleen Callahan after she took a position as Illinois State Director for Rural Development.
Born and raised on a farm in Oklahoma, Ken has been in broadcasting for over 37 years and was the original host of Agritalk. In his professional life, Ken began as a vocational agriculture teacher in western Oklahoma. It wasn’t long before he received an offer to work at a local TV station as an assistant farm broadcaster. He was the Executive Director of the National AgriChemical Retailers Association in Washington, D.C., and was the Executive Director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Kansas City, Missouri.
To every WGFA Ag Broadcast, Ken brings his blend of experience, perspective, and often a little humor. One of Ken’s hobbies is photography. He has dubbed himself, “the best photographer in radio.”
“I believe that intelligent work pays off and that honesty and morality win out over time. I try to be a professional. I take my job seriously but I don't take myself seriously. I love to work for people who have a vision of what they want to accomplish and that I agree with their philosophy. I want to contribute and be a team player. When I get a chance to do something unusual, like go to Iraq with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, it is not about me, it is about the job of being a good reporter who takes the listener with me and tells the story in terms the audience understands. I am an adrenaline junky when it comes to news and I love to hunt for the truth. I was teaching vocational agriculture in western Oklahoma and received a letter from a local radio/television station saying there was a job opening for an assistant farm broadcaster. I had watched the TV station and listened to the radio station since I was a child and had always wanted to be on the local kid's show and ride Woody the birthday horse. I called to get an interview in hopes that I could see the set for the Foreman Scotty Show and perhaps see Woody. I got the tour, saw Woody and got the job. I've been hooked on media ever since.”
Favorite Movie(s): Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Star Wars, Madagascar (you got to move it!)
Favorite Music artist(s): Neil Diamond, Beatles, Neil Young
Favorite Food(s): Beef, Pork, Lamb, Goat and Fresh Seafood. “I had lettuce once but didn't like it. Just kidding I love all kinds of foods and it shows.”
Favorite Sports Team(s): Kansas City Chiefs, Oklahoma State Cowboys (Ken’s alma mater)