Mark grew up in north central Iowa on the family farm. Growing up with three brothers and four sisters, the Oppold family was never short on farm hands. The farm chores consisted of very tedious work, however, they were equally divided up amongst the eight children. As Mark always says, “Whether it’s chores on the farm or working for a major network, people are depending on you to get your part done.”
Since the tender age of ten, Mark knew that he wanted to broadcast sports on the radio. Throughout his high school career, he spent many hours participating in theater, music, and journalism. He was the reporter for his 4-H club where he wrote stories to send to the local newspaper. Later, Mark attended the University of Iowa and was enrolled in the journalism program. After graduating from college, Mark started his career at a radio station in Grand Island, Nebraska, as a farm broadcaster. Subsequently, he moved his career to a radio/television station in his home state of Iowa, where he got his start in television, hosting the agriculture mid-day news and weather. Mark spent the next 10 years in Iowa, but decided to move his family to Kansas City where he would get the opportunity to produce a nationally syndicated radio show on market analysis and market forecasting. It was there that Mark did a segment for the new RFD-TV and met Patrick Gottsch.
Mark has spent forty-four years in the farm broadcasting industry and the last twenty-six years working alongside Patrick. In those years, Mark and Patrick have created a close relationship. In the words of Mark, “Patrick calls me the ‘gatekeeper.’ He trusts me with the news we put on the air. I create a connection to the urban audiences and explain to them why the stories we produce are important to them as well. Each time I am on the air, I have my family, parents, and neighbors in mind, as those are the people that depend on what I say that day, and the information I present.”
Mark has one of the most recognizable faces in both directing and reporting rural American news, and his hard work and perseverance is most notably seen by others in the industry. After forty-two years, he still remains very active in the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. In 2010, Mark was awarded the New Holland Oscar in Agriculture Award for his documentary on the floods in Tennessee. Later in 2013, Oppold was elected by his peers to serve as the president of the organization.
Earlier in his career, he was presented the Iowa Cattleman’s Farm Broadcaster of the year award. Although Mark grew up in a large household, his parents never looked past his gifts and talents. They encouraged him to follow his dream and pushed him to excel past his comfort level. Now as a father of three and a grandfather to seven grandchildren, Mark takes his time to become aware of their capabilities and encourages his children and grandchildren to explore. Oftentimes, his grandchildren ask him if they can record their voices and play it back to hear themselves.
“WHETHER IT’S CHORES ON THE FARM OR WORKING FOR A MAJOR NETWORK, PEOPLE ARE DEPENDING ON YOU TO GET YOUR PART DONE.”
In addition to spending time with his family, Mark enjoys making video scrapbooks for friends and family. He also loves to sing. For many years, he sang in his church choir. Faith is very important to the Oppold family. Together, they light a perpetual candle each week that is blessed by the Archbishop. They also take time to write prayer requests for their coworkers, friends, and family.
From his family farm to the television screen, Mark Oppold continues his work with dedication and motivation from his family. Mark continues to incorporate the values of hard work he learned growing up on the farm to bring the best news he can each time he makes an appearance on television.