For over 20 years, broadcasting legend Derry Brownfield mixed in a healthy dose of country humor and Midwestern values with his politically incorrect opinions as part of his talk show “The Common Sense Coalition.”
But when Brownfield, founder of the nation’s largest agricultural news network and co-founder of America’s sports giant Learfield Communications, died at the age of 79 earlier this year, the voice of “common sense” in the Heartland fell silent.
One faithful listener told the California Democrat in California, Mo., “With Derry gone, where am I going to get the real news of what’s going on?”
But now Beth Schoenberg, a long-time employee and partner in radio with Brownfield, has announced she will continue the broadcaster’s legacy by following through on plans they were making before his death to start a new show, no longer as Brownfield’s sidekick, but as the host of “Commonsense Coalition Talk Radio,” a program with the tagline, “Straight talk with a knack for seeing things as they really are.”
In a newsletter to fans, Schoenberg writes she “feel[s] the same passion for the mission of truth for which Derry lived. He fought day in and day out for the farmer, the rancher, small business owners, our Constitution and rural America.
“You expressed to me that you too felt this show and its mission to be too important to lose,” Schoenberg told Brownfield’s fans. “I am honored now to ‘ride for the brand’ and continue the fight for truth and freedom.”
Shoenberg’s “Commonsense Coalition Talk Radio” can now be heard on over 40 radio stations from Alabama to Montana and nearly every state in between.
A farmer and rancher from his earliest days, Brownfield began in radio in the 1960s with farm reports and markets at a local radio station in Missouri. In the early ’70s, Brownfiled met with Clyde Lear and together launched the Brownfield Network, which debuted 10 stations broadcasting farm facts, crop data, weather reports, commodities news and opinions. The network ultimately boomed to 190 stations, and Brownfield’s show was carried by more than 80 stations nationwide.
Brownfield’s “common sense” challenged the status quo on a variety of topics, from Big Government, corporate agriculture, the stock market, global government, the United Nations to anything else his listeners were riled up about.
Brownfield ended each show with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing “Happy Trails” in the background, while he said a prayer: “”May the good Lord bless and keep you whether near or far away. May the good you wish for others shine on you today. May your heart stay tuned to the music that will cheer the hearts of men. May the good Lord bless and keep you until we meet again.”
Brownfield’s and Lear’s later joint work, Learfield communications, now powers Learfield Sports, a network that provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations throughout the country, and Learfield News, which provides programming to more than 170 radio stations throughout the Midwest.
Learfield’s Bob Priddy, who delivered a eulogy for Brownfield at the broadcasting legend’s memorial service, described Brownfield this way: “Independent, contrary, opinionated, entertaining and committed to telling people about agriculture in his own way. He didn’t need all this high-falutin’ stuff to tell people about farming. He talked the language and he did the talking and that’s how it always was.”
Friends of Brownfield put together the following video they believe “captures the uniqueness of Derry Brownfield”: