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What Orion means on the farm

Courtesy of WGN Radio promotional photo of Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson taken around 1980
TAKE US BACK: For many listeners and viewers, the voices of Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson conjure sweet memories around the radio at dinnertime and around the television on Saturday mornings. This promotional image was taken around 1980.
Listeners tune in and share their memories of Orion Samuelson, marking his 60-year retirement from WGN Radio.

What do you think of when you hear the name Orion Samuelson? Do you hear “Samuelson Sez” in his voice? How about “ag-er-a-cul-ture”? There’s a good chance his name (and the voice you likely hear in your head right now) is associated with plenty of rich farm family memories — like these:

“His voice on WGN Radio at noon. I can picture myself as a kid sitting at my Grandma Mary’s kitchen table with my Grandpa Mac.”
Emily Webel, Yates City, Ill.

“Waking up on a Saturday morning and watching ‘U.S. Farm Report’ and ‘Country Church Salute.’”
Randall Anderson, Galatia, Ill.

“I remember being shushed by my dad whenever he’d come on the radio or TV so he could listen with his full attention.” 
Elizabeth Hulsizer, Galesburg, Ill.

“Most favorite quote I heard from him a couple of years ago while listening to the radio first thing in the morning. Orion was in studio and the host said, ‘Orion, it’s good to see you.’ To which Orion responded, ‘Well, Steve, it’s better to be seen than viewed!’”
Jason Tompkins, Mahomet, Ill.

“The Walter Cronkite of ag.”
Julie Terstriep, Macomb, Ill.

“When I served as a state FFA officer, Orion interviewed us at the state fair. My hand disappeared in his when I said, ‘My name is Katie Dallam.’ He held on. ‘Dallam? I know that name. Seems that I met a man named Dallam once.’ That was my grandpa, and he’d met him at our county fair two years before. For a man who met everyone, traveled everywhere and experienced everything, he remembered the farmers who tuned in each day for their agriculture news.”
Katie Pratt, Dixon, Ill.

Matt Boucher, Dwight, Ill.

“THE VOICE! He has the most engaging communication style of anyone I’ve ever met. And it is a voice I always trusted!”
Raquel Nelson, Champaign, Ill.

“I always loved listening to him interview the champion exhibitors of the market animals during state fair.”
Chelsea Duis, Hanover, Ill.

“Ambassador of agriculture. He always said to remember a farmer buys everything retail and sells everything wholesale, and not many businesses stay in business with that model.”
Tim Seifert, Auburn, Ill.

 A life in numbers infographic

“He interviewed me when I was about 16 and North Cook County 4-H Fair Queen, and I have loved him ever since!”
Pat Fuchs, Woodstock, Va.

“A friend of all.”
Bob Easter, Mahomet, Ill.

“He was the voice of our lunch times with my dad or uncle. Anytime I hear him, I am immediately taken back to sitting at the table at our house or my uncle’s.”
Kristen Springer, Metamora, Ill.

“When we were first married 55 years ago, the radio station had to be changed at lunch to WGN to hear Orion and the farm news! Our radio hasn’t been on any other station since just in case Orion comes on!”
Bobette Von Bergen, Hebron, Ill.

“Working as an intern for the WGN Radio Farm Department is one of the most memorable things about my farm broadcasting career. My favorite memory was getting to fly out of Chicago Meigs Field with Orion and landing at a small airstrip in Ford County as he was speaking at the Ford County Fair that Friday night. He knew that was close to home for me and thought I might enjoy tagging along. Did I ever!”
Carrie Muehling Vogel, Normal, Ill.

“As a kid, the voice of Orion Samuelson in the milking parlor meant conversations with Dad paused so we could focus on the ag and markets report. And Saturday morning breakfasts in the ’70s and ’80s on the farm included ‘U.S. Farm Report.’”
Rod Stoll, Champaign, Ill.

“The gospel of ag life.”
Margie Twaddle, Macomb, Ill.

Read more: 
‘The Voice of Agriculture’ retires
How Orion became beloved in agriculture
Max on Orion: Champion for the American farmer
Orion Samuelson: Explaining agriculture to Chicago


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