|Broadcast area||United States|
|Slogan||Rural America's most important network|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||Rural Media Group, Inc.|
|Sister channels||The Cowboy Channel|
|Launched||December 1, 2000|
|Digital terrestrial television||36.1 (Redwood Falls, Minnesota)|
22.1 (Cortez, Colorado)
|Available on some cable providers||Channel slots vary on each operator|
|DirecTV||Channel 345 (SD/HD)|
|Dish Network||Channel 231 (HD)|
|C-Band - H2H/4DTV||AMC 18 - 226|
|C-Band - Free-To-Air||AMC-1 Freq: 3915 SR: 4410 FEC: 2/3 QPSK|
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 568 (SD)|
Channel 1568 (HD)
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
|AT&T TV||Internet Protocol television|
RFD-TV is an American pay television channel owned by Rural Media Group, Inc. The channel features programming devoted to rural issues, concerns and interests. The channel's name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the name for the United States Postal Service's system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons. Production and uplinking facilities for RFD-TV are located at 49 Music Square West, Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. RFD-TV's sister radio channel is Rural Radio on Sirius XM. RFD-TV also owns a theater in Branson, Missouri where some variety shows that air on RFD-TV are filmed, as well as the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.
RFD-TV is the flagship network for Rural Media Group. Launched in December 2000, RFD-TV is the nation's first 24-hour television network featuring programming focused on the agribusiness, equine and the rural lifestyle, along with traditional country music and entertainment.
As of 2017, RFD-TV operates on a full-service format. Mornings and the early part of daytime feature syndicated newsmagazines and a five-hour block of news, weather (forecasting services on the network are outsourced to The Weather Channel) and agricultural commodity market prices, in the basic format of an American cable news outlet. An additional newscast airs during the evening hours. The remainder of the daytime and evening schedule consists of horse-related magazines, coverage of rodeo and other Western sports, rural lifestyle programs, reruns of classic television programs with rural appeal, and music programs centered around country music, polka and Southern gospel.
Infomercials, which were previously publicly banned from the network, appear during the overnight hours. The network also features brokered programming in the form of its call-in program Rural America Live, and brokered televangelism from Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah and John Hagee.
As of February 2015, RFD-TV is available to approximately 52 million pay television households (44.8% of households with television) in the United States. It is currently carried by satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV, as well as through cable providers such as Mediacom, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Armstrong. It is not available in most Comcast markets; Comcast dropped the channel in many of its Western markets in 2013. In addition to its subscription coverage, RFD-TV is offered as an Internet television feed; the feed is currently paywalled and requires a paying subscription. In March 2020, RFD-TV launched a streaming app RFD-TV Now, making RFD-TV programming available on tablets, phones, and connected TVs. It was added to Sling TV on April 4, 2017 as part of the "Heartland Extra" add-on service. RFD TV is also available as part of AT&T TV. With an average of 136,000 viewers in 2016, RFD-TV has some of the highest viewership relative to availability compared to other "ultra-niche" networks with similar or wider distribution owned by major corporations.
RFD-TV (Rural Free Delivery Television) was launched in 1988 by Patrick Gottsch. However, the channel was not picked up by any carriers. This attempt ended in bankruptcy. Another attempt was made in the 1990s, but could not get funding. Gottsch continued to look for programming. Beginning in 2000, the channel was a non-profit. RFD-TV was finally pick up by Dish Network in December 2000 then DirecTV in 2002.
In 2007, the channel was shifted to being a for-profit as the Federal Communication Commission ruled that airing cattle auctions was not public interest programming. The company then rented a Nashville studio and hired experienced TV executives including Ed Frazier, former Liberty Sports CEO. A TV simulcast of Don Imus’s radio show was arranged which got RFD-TV picked up by Comcast and Time Warner.
RFD-HD, a high definition feed of RFD-TV that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format, first began broadcasting in high definition in the fall of 2007.
In mid-2009, the channel gained carriage on Cox Cable. RFD began a rural news department in late 2009 with bureaus in London and Washington, DC.
Rural Media contracted with Sony Pictures Television in September 2013 to handle RFD-TV's and other properties' national ad sale. By August 2014, Rural Media Group began moving its Northstar Studio/RFD-TV staff and some of its Omaha, Nebraska staff into subleased office space at 49 Music Square West, Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The rest of the Omaha staff would follow in 2015 except Gottsch.
In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump purchased all available advertising spots in the last two weeks before the election, while Hillary Clinton purchased none. By January 2017, the channel opened a bureau in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is in a high agricultural export country.
A Canadian version of the channel was launched on February 1, 2020 on Shaw Direct television systems through a partnership with Rural Media.
When Don Imus returned to radio in late 2007, following his firing by WFAN radio in New York City after making misogynistic and racially insensitive comments about African American players on the Rutgers University college basketball team, Imus had also struck a deal to simulcast Imus in the Morning on RFD-TV after moving to WABC for the rest of his career. The program was broadcast on the channel from 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern Time on weekdays, along with a primetime telecast of the program on its high definition simulcast channel RFD-HD. During much of the show's run, a news ticker was shown with the day's news, similar to that featuring when Imus in the Morning was simulcast on MSNBC. The video simulcast of the program ended its run on RFD-TV on August 28, 2009, and moved to Fox Business Network several weeks later.
After Imus's retirement, RFD-TV owner Patrick Gottsch purchased Imus's 3,000-acre ranch.
One of the first programs to be aired on RFD-TV was The Big Joe Polka Show, a polka and dance variety program hosted by Omaha resident Joseph "Big Joe" Siedlik, which continued to be popular among the network's estimated (approximately) 40 million+ available households until it ended its run on January 1, 2011. In 2010, litigation commenced between RFD-TV and The Big Joe Polka Show's creators/producers of Polka Cassettes of Nebraska, involving several lawsuits and countersuits (mostly over a contractual dispute). RFD-TV contends that it had an option to air the program until December 31, 2010, while Polka Cassettes of Nebraska contends that the show was being aired against their wishes, and after cessation of the effectiveness of the previous contract, which expired on December 31, 2009. In August 2010, a multimillion-dollar "slander and defamation" suit was brought against Polka Cassettes of Nebraska by RFD-TV. In 2011, the court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed RFD-TV's lawsuit as being without merit. In January 2015, Joseph "Big Joe" Siedlik died.
The show was replaced by The RFD-TV Polka Fest on January 5, 2011, and aired during the same timeslots. RFD-TV Polka Fest was later replaced by Mollie B Polka Party, hosted by Mollie Busta in July 2011. Wednesday afternoons, starting in September 2015 featured selected reruns of the Big Joe Polka Show under the name Big Joe Polka Classics.
Other programs added in Winter 2007-2008 included a revival of Crook & Chase (which returned to TNN [now Heartland] upon its relaunch in 2012) and Bluegrass & Backroads.
Big Joe Polka Show (entertainment)
The following programs were aired on RFD-TV at one point, but are no longer listed on the official website.
|Headquarters||49 Music Square West, Music Row, |
|Patrick Gottsch (President)|
Rural Media Group is a media holding company owned by Patrick Gottsch.
RFD-TV (Rural Free Delivery Television) was launched in 1988 by Patrick Gottsch, but was not pick up until 2000. The group expanded with the RFD-TV: The Magazine in 2003 then RFD HD in 2008.
Rural Media Group bought the Country Tonite/Ray Stevens Theater with 2000 seats in Branson and renamed the RFD-TV Theatre on March 24, 2007.
A British version, Rural TV, was launched in 2008 followed by a US launch on February 15, 2012 on Dish. Rural focused on news and international programming. In October 2012, Rural Media purchased from Interactive Television and Gaming Networks (formerly Comstar Media) FamilyNet. The two channels would combine on January 1, 2013.
Rural Media contracted with Sony Pictures Television in September 2013 to handle national ad sales for RFD-TV, Rural TV and Rural Radio. By August 2014, Rural Media Group began moving its Northstar Studio staff and some of its Omaha, Nebraska staff into subleased office space at 49 Music Square West, Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The rest of the Omaha staff would follow in 2015 except Gottsch. At the same time, RMG Events LLC was formed and headed by RMG CEO Randy Bernard to run RMG events like RFD-TV's The American rodeo.
FamilyNet was changed over to a western lifestyle channel on July 1, 2017 tapping RFD-TV programming to start. This was the original plan for FamilyNet, but seeming limited programming and interest, Gottsch held off. With RFD-TV drawing more viewers for its western programming and events like rodeos, the switch was made.
Rural Media Group in early 2018 purchased the Imus Ranch, near Santa Fe, as a television production base for its two TV channels' programs. Best of America by Horseback, Debbie Duning’s Dude Ranch Round-Up and Gentle Giants were programs selected to film there starting by March 2019.