NEIL MELANCON, Farm Broadcaster
Neil has been with the Louisiana Farm Bureau since 1996 and has served in a variety of public relation functions, including webmaster, "This Week in Louisiana Agriculture" producer and writer. Neil hosts the Bottom Line segment on TWILA each week.
In 2003, Neil was the first reporter from TWILA to travel abroad, reporting from Japan on the status of rice trade between the two countries.
In 2005, Neil was recognized by the National Association of Farm Broadcasters for his efforts in covering the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Neil holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Louisiana Tech and a Master's of Mass Communication from LSU. He is married to wife, Sherry, a biologist, and they reside in Baton Rouge.
Neil is a native of New Orleans and in his spare time runs a martial arts studio.
DON MOLINO, Farm Broadcaster
Don has worked for state networks longer than anyone else in Louisiana. His experience gives him a better understanding of what radio affiliates need in the way of agriculture programming and no one keeps in touch with the Louisiana farming community like Don.
Don has a B.S. degree in broadcast journalism from Texas A&M University and has done post-graduate work in broadcast journalism.
Farm broadcasting has been part of Don’s life since his early days as a radio and television news anchorman in Dallas. He has also been farm director of the Mississippi Radio News Network and news director of the Mississippi Agricultural and News Network. Don is a past Vice President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) as well as a former Southern Region Vice President of the NAFB.
KRISTEN OAKS, Farm Broadcaster
For as long as she could remember, Kristen Oaks had a passion for two things in life: agriculture and broadcasting. It was always her goal to prove to everyone that agriculture is much more than "sows, cows and plows."
She grew up on a ranch in Calhoun, La., and showed Angus cattle for 12 years. In fact, her debut on TWILA was during "Beef Month" in 2004 when she served as the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association Queen.
From those experiences with media, Kristen decided to pursue a career in broadcasting at Louisiana State University. Her career at LSU diversified her experience through leadership roles and involvement in Tiger TV, Student Government, the College of Agriculture, Omicron Delta Kappa and her sorority Kappa Delta.
In 2009, Kristen graduated from LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication with a BA and a minor in agriculture and leadership development.
During the fall of 2009, Kristen traveled the state as the sideline reporter for the Cox Sports Louisiana High School Game of the Week. In addition to her television work, she also has experience in radio broadcasting, print advertising, web design, public relations and political lobbying.
"I finally have a chance to tell the story of agriculture to everyone," Kristen says. "This is my dream job."
AVERY DAVIDSON, Farm Broadcaster
Avery began his career in broadcast journalism the day after he graduated from New Iberia Senior High, landing a job at his hometown radio station, 1240 KANE.
While at KANE, Avery covered city and parish governmental meetings, schools and, of course, sugarcane farming. While attending The University of Southwestern Louisiana (Now ULL), Avery made the move into television. In September 1995, KATC News hired Avery as the producer of TV-3’s morning show, Good Morning Acadiana. It was there that Avery first worked with TWILA veteran A.J. Sabine.
While at KATC, Avery won his first Louisiana Associated Press award: 2nd place for spot news. In April of 1999, Avery moved to Baton Rouge to work for WAFB-TV 9 as the weekend and investigative producer.
Following the September 11th attacks, Avery was the first and only reporter to travel with a group of Louisiana volunteers called the Gumbo Krewe to Ground Zero. There, Avery documented how Cajun hospitality extended well beyond the Bayou State. It was that series, Operation: Gumbo, which won Avery his first 1st place award from the Louisiana Associated Press for an In-Depth Series.
In January of 2004, Avery became the first Louisiana reporter to cover the war in Iraq from Baghdad. Avery traveled to the Middle East with a group of Louisiana medics who worked for Med Express out of Alexandria. Their job was to set up and operate an urgent care clinic for the contractors working at the “safe-zone” around Baghdad International Airport. Coverage of that story earned Avery another award from the Louisiana Associated Press: 3rd Place for an In-Depth Series.
During the following years, Avery worked his way up to weekend anchor at WAFB. In March 2008, Avery began working for "This Week in Louisiana Agriculture" as a reporter and executive producer. “It’s the people who make a story great,” Avery says, “and agriculture is blessed with lots of great people with wonderful stories to tell.”
In his spare time, Avery plays bass guitar in a local band and enjoys watching live music.