UF radio program blossoms, wins awards
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida extension’s newest radio program, “Gardening in a Minute,” and its companion Web site have been educating and entertaining Floridians only since October 2006, but already have racked up five prestigious national communications awards.
“We’ve heard from our listeners that they get a lot out of the show, but it’s also nice to be recognized by our peers,” host Tom Wichman said.
The program is written in a friendly and fun style that appeals to both amateur and experienced gardeners — covering such topics as lawn care, flower planting, watering and fertilizing. There are also shows about outdoor living, garden-related crafts, hurricane preparation and recovery, as well as coping with drought.
“Americans love to garden,” said Wichman, who is also the primary content reviewer for the program and the state Master Gardener coordinator. “And we think this format is a great way to get people interested in the latest University of Florida research information.”
Three out of four American households have some kind of yard or garden, according to the Garden Writers Association. In fact, Florida’s green industry, which encompasses all lawn- and gardening-related business, contributed $15.2 billion to the state economy in 2006. Research shows that gardeners are not only willing to spend to get the landscapes they want, they are also voracious seekers of gardening-related information.
Each “Gardening in a Minute” show refers the audience to county Extension offices and the “Gardening in a Minute” Web site, www.gardeninginaminute.com. Both the program and Web site emphasize Florida-friendly gardening practices, which impact the state’s unique environment as little as possible.
The radio program and its Web site have been recognized for providing quality information in a user-friendly format by the American Society for Horticultural Science; the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association; the National Association of County Agricultural Agents; and twice by the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences.
“Gardening in a Minute” airs every weekday on NPR stations in 19 counties in North Central Florida and will be expanding to other stations in the near future.
Produced by WUFT-FM in Gainesville, “Gardening in a Minute” may be heard on that station and WJUF-FM in Inverness during the 2 o’clock hour and again at 6:18 p.m. It’s sponsored by UF’s Center for Landscape Ecology and Conservation.