News Simply Southern Celebrates 10 Seasons

Simply Southern Celebrates 10 Seasons

Simply Southern Celebrates 10 Seasons
June 3, 2024 |

It started simply — with a goal to highlight Alabama’s farmers through a 30-minute TV show. Each episode would include additional features about tourist attractions, rural living, agricultural education and gardening to boost the show’s appeal. 

That was back in January 2015 when Simply Southern TV first hit the airwaves as a joint project of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC). Every Sunday morning, viewers in Alabama — along with parts of Georgia, Florida and Tennessee — were educated and entertained, particularly by the antics of original co-host Jim Allen. 

Much has changed in 10 seasons. The desire to reach as many viewers as possible meant experimenting with broadcast channels, days and times. 

Three co-hosts have stood behind the anchor desk, while five reporters and three interns have used their talents to share the good news of the state.

Despite the changes, Simply Southern TV has remained committed to highlighting Alabama farmers. With 247 episodes containing 988 segments, the show has featured farmers and attractions in all of Alabama’s 67 counties.

The show reached a national audience when it started airing on cable network RFD-TV in 2017. Simply Southern TV remains a staple of the channel’s Wednesday programming, airing weekly at 3 p.m. Central.

The seventh season of Simply Southern TV brought with it a new, modern set and high-tech equipment that simplified production. 

Support from generous sponsors, which makes the show possible, has remained steady throughout its history. Visit for a list of sponsors.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Simply Southern TV, some of those most involved in day-to-day production share their memories from a decade of the broadcast.

Kevin Worthington

Tasked with providing creative direction, Kevin Worthington has worn many hats, specifically as director, cameraman, writer and agriculture reporter. He was named co-host in 2021.

What were your first thoughts when you heard the Federation and AFC wanted to start a TV show? I thought it was going to be great and a lot of fun. Then we received approval and found out we had to have something on the air in January. It was September. That scared me to death. I hit the road with original co-host Jim Allen and started shooting stories.

What’s your favorite story? Back in season 3, we featured David Wright, a greenhouse grower in Dallas County. As a teenager, David lost his right arm in a farming accident, and he told me it’s the best thing that ever happened. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gotten into the greenhouse business or met his wife or have his family. He has such a positive outlook.

Kevin Worthington

Melissa Bowman

Melissa Bowman joined Simply Southern TV as a freelance reporter during season 4. Her adventures have taken viewers all over the state — from Black Belt Treasures in Wilcox County to fly fishing in Bug Tussle.

Do you have a favorite story? I’ve experienced a lot of once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Driving a tank at Combat Park in Eastaboga stands out. But what touched my heart the most was the Penguin Project with the Wetumpka Depot Players. It’s a theater program for kids with special needs.

What’s your biggest challenge? Not having enough time to share all the stories available! When I research for a story, I find so many events, communities and neat things worth sharing. I wish we had more episodes because there is so much fun stuff to do. 

Melissa Bowman

Matt Wilson

His name first appears in Simply Southern TV credits in season 1, episode 14. Matt Wilson shoots and edits stories, shows and special segments, in addition to closed-captioning every episode.

What stands out about working on Simply Southern? When I started, Kevin told me our farmers were great people, and that’s the truth. Every time I get to work with our farmers makes me want to work with more of them. Plus, Alabama has a wealth of beautiful places and people, and it’s our privilege to showcase all that.

What’s your favorite memory? I feel a little silly saying this, but a really fun one immediately sprang to mind. We sailed down the Tennessee River on replicas of the Niña and the Pinta — ships from Columbus’ voyage to America. I mean, that was a really nice way to spend a day shooting.

Matt Wilson

Mary Wilson

Originally credited as co-host and writer, Mary slowly took on more reporting duties for Simply Southern TV. She also updates the show’s website and social media and recently took over coordinating sponsorships.

What’s your favorite story? I like stories that delve deeper into what’s going on in agriculture. Last year, we shared a story about H-2A labor. It was difficult to tackle, but I think we did it well. Learning more about why father-son duo David and Will Gilmer transitioned from dairy to beef cattle farming was memorable. But the most fun was in season 3 when I went square dancing with the Lake Guntersville Twirlers. That was a blast!

What do you hope people get out of Simply Southern TV? I hope it inspires them to take the road less traveled. I want people to visit the small towns and agritourism attractions that require a jaunt off the interstate, or sit down at a local restaurant and chat with people at the next table. Most of all, I hope it makes viewers appreciate our farmers. They are the backbone of this country. 

Mary Wilson
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