Bohacz staying busy with TV segments, YouTube videos and podcasts
ALLAMUCHY TOWNSHIP — Ray Bohacz Jr. combines his loves of engines and of farming in his podcast and his television appearances for Successful Farming Magazine.
Bohacz thought his career would go a very different way.
He was planning on attending college in Detroit for mechanical engineering specializing in engines.
Then his father was in a serious car accident on Route 80 and the son was needed back on the farm.
He went to school at NJIT and did work on engines, but never really left the farm.
The property on Cat Swamp Road had been a dairy farm when his parents bought it in 1954 from wealthy entrepreneur Clendenin Ryan whose property also became the Panther Valley development after the construction of Route 80.
The Bohacz family was still living in Manhattan, in a Ukrainian neighborhood, on the Lower East Side and Bohacz was born there.
Eventually, they moved full time to Warren County, joining many other Eastern European immigrants who farmed onions and leafy vegetables in the fertile, black soil.
Both of Bohacz’s parents had connections to Great Meadows from relatives who already farmed there.
The Cat Swamp Road farm proved best for sweet corn and Bohacz and his wife, Charlotte, made that their main crop.
“There’s always a market for sweet corn,” he noted.
Bohacz worked on street racers in a Fairfield shop and also for Allen, the manufacturer of oscilloscopes.
On the side, he worked for the National Hot Rod Association as a tech inspector before races around the Northeast until seeing a terrible accident made him decide to give it up, although he didn’t give up on drag racing.
He later worked for Lingenfelter Engines on their electronic engine control and had a hand in the small block Mustangs by Bernie Golick.
All of this gave Bohacz a different perspective than many farmers and an incentive to share his knowledge of engines.
He was a subscriber to Successful Farming, but he wasn’t pleased with their journalism when it came to engines, so, unaware of the scope of Meredith Publishing, he wrote them a letter offering to write for them. That’s how he became “The Engine Man.”
A Meredith staffer thought he would be great on the “Successful Farmer” TV show, so he agreed.
His first segments were around 3 minutes, but he has been boosted to about 4.
The first two seasons were shot at The University of Northern Ohio at Lima, the third at a farm shop in Des Moines where Meredith’s headquarters is.
He is scheduled to shoot his sixth season this summer at the Firestone Test Farm on the site of Harvey Firestone’s farm in Columbiana, Ohio.
Bohacz’s segment runs in 10-12 episodes of the show each season, predominantly on RFDTV.
He admits it took a while to get used to television, but he is comfortable with it now. He doesn’t use a script and brings his own props for whatever he talks about during each segment.
His second foray into electronic media came when someone recommended he try a podcast.
He knew nothing about how to do one, but he went to the Staples in Newton and bought a microphone for $29 and decided to try.
He had already set up a website, so it seemed a natural extension.
“Firestone found out about it before I even launched and asked for a media kit. I didn’t even have a media kit,” he said.
He launched the “Idle Chatter” podcast in October on the Farm and Rural Agricultural Network and Carbon Media.
Of its 10 podcasts, he was in fifth place and he has been in the top five every month since.
He reached out to other people he knew from the television spots and generated more sponsors besides Firestone and is now launching “Hot Rod Farmer TV” as a YouTube channel.
He works with a graphic designer in Dawsonville, Ga., but otherwise on his own. He has listeners all over the world — including Australia and New Zealand, Ireland, England, and a even a man in Senegal who airs it on Christian Broadcasting Network in the French-speaking nation.
Most are farmers, but he also hears from engineers who enjoy hearing about farm machinery and engineering.
“I shoot from the hip,” he said of his podcasting style, “but I always know what I’m going to talk about.”
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