The Georgia Farm Monitor is now celebrating 47 years on the air! That's over 2,400 half-hour programs produced -- with NO re-runs! The Monitor is the only national and state weekly news and information television program dedicated to Georgia's largest and Number One industry - agriculture. It airs 15 times a week on Georgia television stations, and three times per week nationally on the RFD-TV Network.
The "Monitor" has been on the air continuously since June,1966, when it began as a local TV program that was co-produced with Georgia Farm Bureau in the studios of WMAZ-TV 13, the Gannett CBS affiliate in Macon, Georgia.

As the show and staff grew, it eventually moved to its own production studios at Farm Bureau in 1978 and began adding other TV stations at that time. Twelve TV stations now carry the show each week in Georgia, including
WMAZ.
The staff on the Farm Monitor set: from left, standing, Dean Wood, Damon Jones, Mark Wildman, Rick Treptow, Michael Edmondson and Vickie Amos. Anchors Paul Beliveau (L) and Ray D'Alessio.
The Georgia Farm Monitor staff travels the state, the Southeast and to other parts of the country to cover stories of interest to farmers and consumers in this entertaining and informative 30 minute program.

While the program focuses on agriculture with the Georgia and Southeastern farmer in mind, national ag issues, consumer information and interesting feature stories about rural life and people are also part of the show each week.

Ray D'Alessio is principal writer and producer and is the program's co-anchor along with Paul Beliveau. Regular segments feature Rick Treptow, Mark Wildman and Damon Jones. The show is produced each Tuesday morning. For more on the Staff, choose "Monitor Staff" here or in the Main menu above on left.


In 2000, the Georgia Farm Monitor was one of the first programs to begin airing several times each week nationally on the RFD-TV Network, which originates in Nashville, Tennessee. It now airs three times a week on the Network.
 
As a camera shoots the story, Denny Moore prepares for an annual benefit tractor ride on a '57 Deere model 620. The event raised money for St. Jude Children's Hospital.

RFD-TV is distributed in the U.S. on Channel 345 of DirecTV®, in HD on Channel 231 on the DISH Network, plus on cable systems in all 50 states, serving over 50 million U.S. homes.
U.S. Cable systems carrying RFD may include: Comcast, the nation's largest cable system, serving a total of 24.1 million cable customers in 40 states; Time-Warner Cable, the nation's second largest, with 14 million customers in 28 states; Mediacom Cable - which currently serves over 2.7 million homes in 23 states. It is also carried on Charter, NRTC, Bresnan cable systems, and NCTC Cable Systems - the National Cable Television Cooperative. The NCTC is made up of over 1,000 independent cable operators, representing over 6,500 systems and over 14 million subscribers located throughout rural America in all 50 states.
The Georgia Farm Monitor is broadcast nationally on RFD each Sunday evening at 11:00 p.m., Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. and again Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m..
• Check the U.S. schedule by going to the RFD-TV site.

• Check the Georgia TV station schedule by clicking HERE.

The Monitor -- from 16mm film in 1966, to P2 and HD in 2012:

The Georgia Farm Monitor has come a long way technologically. We started shooting on 16mm film back in 1966 using the venerable Swiss-made Bolex (a wind-up, silent film camera) and that original camera (shown at left) is a little dinged up, but still works today! It has spent the last 27 years collecting dust, sparking occasional conversation, and acting as a bookend in Paul Beliveau's office bookcase.

The next step after the Bolex was to add sound to our program. Farm Bureau added a couple of
Canon Sound Scoopic cameras (right photo) for SOF's (sound on film). Note the film cannisters under the camera body and the umbilical cord to the magnetic film sound recorder at back left. We still have an "Auricon all-transistor high-fidelity" sound recorder from those days, although the film cameras were given away in the mid 1980's.

Videotape cameras and decks became smaller and more affordable in the mid 1970's and so began the move away from film, which had to be processed commercially to be viewed and used. Videotape, which offered instant pictures and sound, was also much easier to edit since there was no "hot splicing" like film! GFB purchased 3/4" editing decks in 1978 and began producing the show in-house after having used the editing facilities at WMAZ-TV for 12 years.

Along with the rest of the television industry at that time, the Farm Monitor went through the natural progression from the film era to videotape, starting with the huge (and heavy) 3/4" U-Matic "portable" tape decks with a shoulder strap and a cumbersome "umbilical cord" linking it to an equally heavy shoulder-mount camera.

See the picture at left:

A dark-haired Paul Beliveau interviews then U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn at his Washington office while Rick Treptow shoots using a JVC KY-2700 camera with that huge Sony 3/4" U-Matic deck on his left shoulder. This was probably our 3rd generation video camera. Note the black "Bat-Belt" around Rick's waist. That was a very heavy battery pack belt that operated a high-wattage TV light that was needed back then.

From 3/4 inch tape, we progressed to state-of-the-art, lightweight, integrated
S-VHS camera/recorders in the early 80's, then on to Sony Betacams a few years later. Then we made the move to DVCPro digital tape format.

Now, our field stories are shot on one of our three "tapeless" cameras: two
Panasonic AG-HPX500 HD P2 cameras or the smaller Panasonic AG-HVX200 HD P2 camera. P2 cameras save video to a credit card-sized data storage card - the P2 card - that plugs into the camera body. After we shoot a story, we plug the camera card into a P2 Drive Bay on a MacPro to ingest HD video into our system.

Our Master Control and two edit suites are SDI-based 1080i HD integrated with an AJA KUMO HD Router. We are producing the show and editing field stories using
Final Cut Pro HD Suite in all three rooms. We use a For-A® HVS-300HS HD switcher for the three studio-configured HD cameras, two Panasonic HPX-370's for talent and an HPX-170 for wide-shots. We use the QTV FDP-17S teleprompting system on our studio cameras.

While we are currently producing the show in HD, as of today, only 5 outlets carry the show in HD: the Dish Network RFD-TV feed; 13WMAZ in Macon, WALB-ABC 10, WALB-NBC 10 in Albany and WRWR-TV in Warner Robins, GA.. The remainder of our Georgia-based TV stations are not in a position to carry non-network HD programs at this time.