William Samuel (Bill) Ray
AGRINET® NEWS mission is delivering the latest daily breaking agricultural news to agricultural producers and radio stations, sharing today’s agricultural news affecting the economics of farming and agribusiness. Listen to AGRINET® at www.agrinet.com and on affiliated radio stations nationwide. Bill Ray is the owner of AGRINET®.
National and international agriculture information and trade news is at the forefront of AGRINET® NEWS daily. Bill has covered live on-site WTO Ministerial Conferences back to the GATT Uruguay Rounds in Geneva and up through the Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong and Geneva. He has been involved in broadcast coverage of U.S. trade missions.
USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other Ag leaders are frequent visitors on AGRINET® NEWS. Bill Ray has interviewed most every President back to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He has covered many world leaders, diplomats, trade representatives, governors, senators, congressional members, corporate ag leadership, key spokespersons for agricultural trade associations and their farmer board members along with ag producers with a story to tell.
BILL RAY began his agricultural broadcasting career with Charlottesville Broadcasting Corporation. He developed his farm news and markets into AGRINET®, an interconnected agriculture news operation for radio and television, now expanded into Internet, mobile, cable and video distribution.
Bill began The Farm Report on WINA Radio, Charlottesville, VA in 1966. Owner of Mount Air Farms, formerly Whitehall Farms, he needed market news for the area in his own farming operation. He asked the local station to provide this information & they asked him to produce the news. With exclusive federal trademark registration, Bill Ray’s “The Farm Report” was renamed “AGRINET®” in 1972. AGRINET® was the first farm network advertising purchased by Monsanto for the introduction of Lasso & later with Roundup.
Bill rose to Vice President of Charlottesville Broadcasting Corporation. During his tenure Bill worked with great broadcasters including Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw and Chet Hagan, producer of the NBC Today Show, John Wayne, Grace Kelly and others. In the late 70s while continuing to grow AGRINET®, Bill joined NBC-TV New York/Washington, DC as a consultant producing news documentaries from around the globe. His work with NBC cycled with CBC, BBC and the Australian broadcasting system. bill covered the White House to the Seven Year War in Beirut.
Later Bill went on to produce and host the national award-winning Ag show, “Crossroads Camera” at WHSV-TV Harrisonburg, VA. He has produced films used in Congressional hearings including “The Antibiotic Controversy” produced for Animal Health Institute.
Continuing agricultural radio news, AGRINET® was expanded over the Mutual Radio Network until Bill began his own satellite radio network, Ray Communications, Inc. in 1985.
On the sports side, Ray Communications handled network distribution and affiliate relations of numerous professional and collegiate sports including The Washington Redskins, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers, Penn State, VA Tech, University of Maryland, UVA, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bob Costas Coast-to-Coast. He began the Motor Racing Network satellite network. Bill was the concept originator of “DirecTV” to deliver sports, news, ag news and educational programming and advertising commercials to consumers’ home via direct satellite. Penn State was the first to sign-on to DirecTV.
In 1986, Bill and wife, Lisa, bought WGAI-AM Elizabeth City, NC and added additional Ray-D-O Biz stations, WQDK-FM Ahoskie, WCXL-FM Kill Devil Hills and WWOC-FM Engelhard, NC. Stations were sold October 2002.
In addition to producing AGRINET® NEWS daily, Bill and Lisa, own a sustainable purebred Angus farm operation in Currituck County overlooking Duck in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Direct beef marketing is an added-value with heritage purebred Angus bloodlines. The Rays purchased the farm tract in 1997, constructing a tall 1000 foot tower for their radio stations and for AGRINET® Farm Radio Network.
Bill’s background followed cattle and hog production. At 18, Bill began to manage Mount Air Farm, in Albemarle County, Virginia, which he bought later raising feeder cattle, purebred Duroc hogs, corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and barley. Bill graduated in the Class of 1962 at Virginia Tech with a B. S. in Animal Science.
Lisa Ray graduated in 1976 from Virginia Tech in Dietetics, Food Business Management with internship at Medical College of VA Hospitals, McGuire Hospital, Marriott Food Service, Reynolds Metals Food Service, Richmond, VA. She is a former member of the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA).
AGRINET® Sales & Affiliates Manager
Lisa Ray enjoys working in high agricultural census markets directly with station management for AGRINET® NEWS affiliation. She understands that advertising sales makes programming work and helps promote each AGRINET® radio partner to agencies for local business through AGRINET®. As AGRINET® Sales Manager, she works with agricultural advertising agencies throughout the media planning and buying process through placement, traffic, affidavits and payment as a “one stop” shop.
In addition to AGRINET® NEWS, Lisa and husband, Bill Ray, own Ray Farms, a sustainable purebred Angus operation in Currituck County overlooking Duck, North Carolina in the Outer Banks.
Lisa, a Virginia native, with more than twenty-five years of network radio advertising sales experience including national, regional, co-op and local advertising sales. Her professional background includes sales management of the Ray-D-O Biz radio group stations from 1987-2002. Additionally, Lisa was responsible for all tower leasing, negotiations through contract management for radio, television, cellular and government contracts. She was an active member of the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA), an organization representing tower site owners in the wireless telecommunications industry.
Prior to 1986, Lisa was an Executive Director within the Virginia Department of Agriculture responsible for marketing, advertising public relations including television, radio, newspaper, foodservice and in-store supermarket promotions. She was a state lobbyist for tax and organizational issues for agricultural commodities groups during the Virginia General Assembly.
Lisa received her Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech in Dietetics/Food Business Management with post-internships at Medical College of VA Hospitals, McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital, Marriott Foodservice and Reynolds Metals Food Service, Richmond, Virginia; additional coursework with New York University for Graphic Design, Nikon school, Radio and Television production/Virginia Commonwealth University.