The Road to the White House Goes Through Rural America . . .
Presidential Candidates to appear on RFD-TV’s RURAL TOWN HALL as part of the Rural America Votes campaign.
Issues important to rural Americans, farmers, ranchers, and senior citizens will be the sole focus in a new series of live, one-hour, primetime programs featuring presidential candidates leading up to the caucuses in Iowa, and New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Produced by RFD-TV News in conjunction with Mediacom Connections Channel, each program will offer individual candidates the opportunity to share their vision for rural America, while answering questions submitted by rural associations, organizations, and commodity groups. Veteran farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson will serve as host.
RURAL TOWN HALL will premiere in July and air on Monday evenings at 8pm ET (7pm CT), and Thursday evenings at 10pm ET (9pm CT). The program will be delivered to almost 50 million homes through RFD-TV’s distribution on cable and satellite. In addition, RURAL RADIO on SiriusXM Channel 80 will simulcast each town hall to SiriusXM’s 27+ million subscribers. Rural Town Hall production will originate from a variety of locations in the State of Iowa or the RFD-TV studios on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. A complete schedule of each candidate’s appearance to follow.
In addition, RFD-TV’s RURAL EVENING NEWS broadcast at 7:30pm ET (6:30pm CT) and repeated at 11:30pm ET (10:30pm CT), the only prime-time nightly news broadcast produced from a rural perspective, will cover political issues on a daily basis from RFD-TV’s dedicated news bureau located in Washington D.C. at the USDA and from reporters and mobile satellite trucks positioned around the countryside.
“Rural America’s impact on national elections is undeniable. This is a tremendous opportunity for each candidate to address issues largely ignored by urban media, yet are so important to many of the citizens voting in these primaries,” stated Patrick Gottsch, Founder & President of Rural Media Group. “From day one Rural Media Group’s goal has been to reconnect city with country. We believe that this nation is at its best when urban and rural America understand each other’s issues and perspectives, in order to work together resulting in a solution acceptable to all.”
Questions will be solicited from grain, livestock, poultry, fruit, vegetable, and fiber producers, rural educators, FFA, and 4-H members, along with officials from small towns who have unique concerns about rural development, healthcare, and other challenges facing America’s rural communities.
RFD-TV’s viewers are 28% more likely to vote than the average television network. In addition, 64% of RFD-TVviewers vote in federal, state, or local elections, while 60% always vote in federal elections (Source: 2014 doublebase GfK MRI). Finally, RFD-TVviewers have very high indexes for political engagement stating they have “Called Or Written A Politician” (162), “Identify As An Influencer” (151), “Friends Ask My Advice” (118), and “Attended A Political Speech/Great Deal Of Knowledge On The Topic” (116). Nationally, 63% of all farmers and 81% of cattlemen watch RFD-TVon a weekly basis, yet 52% of RFD-TV’s total audience resides in A & B counties. The median age of the average viewer is 62 years old.
“For the first time candidates will be able to communicate with Americans on a national network devoted exclusively to issues that are most important to that audience,” added Gary Kanofsky, Chief Content Officer and EVP of RFD-TV News. “All of America will be tuned in as these issues resonate outside of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. By focusing on rural and agriculture topics for the entire hour, each candidate will have ample time to address a wide variety of subjects typically not covered on a national network.”
RFD-TV is distributed on digital basic cable in Iowa on channel 78 on Mediacom, channel 345 on DIRECTV, and channel 231 on DISH Network.
It has always been the goal of RFD-TV to cover national political elections from the “rural” perspective. In our opinion, the urban-based news organizations simply are not familiar and thus do not understand the issues that are so important to rural Americans and those involved in agriculture. Questions are rarely asked and the candidates avoid having to develop and/or address their policies in any detail, despite the fact that Iowa and other rural states hold many of the first primaries.
In past years leading up to the elections, RFD-TV had neither the news organization, nor the budget, to properly support such a political effort. Fortunately, we now have both. It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I am proud to announce RFD-TV’s entry into providing political news and programming that is dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America.
This effort will begin with a series of RURAL TOWN HALL specials where each and every presidential candidate will be invited to appear to present their policies on the major issues facing rural America, while taking questions from the audience and RFD-TV viewers. I firmly believe that such a format will be interesting to rural viewers in all 50 states because we share so many of the same challenges – rural development, rural education, rural healthcare – no matter what crops are grown or the livestock raised. Of equal importance, I believe that this program will go a long way to help educate our urban neighbors and the urban media about rural issues, advancing an understanding of how we must all work together to take this country to its full potential while securing a safe, and plentiful, food supply for the future.
One thing that I want to stress about RFD-TV’s political coverage. There will be no bias allowed by anyone associated with our news division. We cannot be viewed as Republican or Democrat. Liberal or Conservative. Our one and only goal is to represent the interests of rural America. All of rural America. Every candidate will be extended an invitation, and all viewpoints are welcome. I believe that, if given all the facts in a constructive format, RFD-TV’s audience is smart enough to make up their own minds.
And, there will be no arguing, or people talking over each other. Candidates will be treated with respect. RURAL TOWN HALL is intended to be a positive experience that actually lifts the level of discussion where real solutions can be found for the benefit of all.
Together, we can, and will, make a difference in 2016.
Founder & President, Rural Media Group