1985 NAFB President Johnnie Hood has passed at the age of 72. In addition to serving as President of our association, Johnnie was inducted into the NAFB Hall of Fame in 2013.
Johnnie Hood served as NAFB President in 1985 at the midpoint of his career as a radio farm broadcaster on WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was noted for his deep, resonant voice and an ever present pipe to show support for tobacco, his state’s most valuable agricultural commodity. Johnnie was also known for his skills in moderating agricultural events.
A native of North Carolina, he was born in 1943 and grew up in the transitional years after World War II. His father worked as a mechanic before, during and after the war and his mother also was employed to make ends meet for the family that included Johnnie and his sister, Judy.
Hood, as he was known by most of his friends, had an interest in radio that began with engineering. He worked as a remote engineer for WFMC while in high school In Goldsboro and later worked on air for the station. He built an AM radio transmitter in high school. While attending Guilford College, just outside Greensboro, his unlicensed broadcasts were loved by fellow students but not by townsfolk who picked up the signal and reported their content to the Dean. Hood was encouraged to dismantle the radio station, which he did.
He later received an Associate Degree in broadcast electronics and passed the test to claim an FCC First Class Operator’s License. His first full time job, including engineering and on air work, was at WNCA in Siler City.
He was working at WCOG in Greensboro when the call came to return to his hometown. He became the night mayor of Goldsboro on WGBR-WEQR.
In 1972 Hood was hired to host the morning show at 50,000 watt WPTF, “The Voice of the Capitol City” of Raleigh, North Carolina. Along with his morning show duties, he filled in for the Farm Director when he was away. When the Farm Director was promoted to station manager, Hood applied for and was named Farm Services Director for WPTF/Southern Farm Network.
Hood hosted a WPTF trip the Soviet Union in 1977, traveling with Jim Graham, North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. In 1985, he reported from Brazil and Argentina while accompanying a trade mission coordinated by the American Soybean Association. He then flew to China, Japan and Hong Kong to cover U.S. Grains Council activities there.
Johnnie Hood received distinguished service awards from most state and national commodity organizations and was named a “Tobacco Great” in 1999 by North Carolina State University.
Johnnie married Linda Monsees in 1962, and they had one daughter, Joanna. In 1992, he married Peggy Esten who attended all NAFB functions with him and became an integral part of the organization and Johnnie’s life. He and Peggy retired in 2002 and moved to Land O’ Lakes, Florida.