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Rural America’s Most Important Network Celebrates Successful Continuation of New Series, Rural Town Hall

(NASHVILLE, TN — SEPTEMBER 25, 2015) RFD-TV News continues the momentum of its new series, RURAL TOWN HALL, with presidential candidate Jim Webb. The closed production taping was the fourth episode in the series and featured pre-selected questions solicited from key agricultural organizations, publications, and viewers. The candidates took questions submitted by viewers and rural stakeholders such as AARP, the American Soybean Association, the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Rural Education Association, National Rural Health Association, American Agri-Women, the American Farm Bureau Federation, CropLife America, America's Renewable Future, FFA, Mediacom, Agri-Pulse Communications, farmers, and ranchers. Throughout the one-hour forum Jim Webb outlined his vision for rural America and touched on a range of issues, from the need for expanded Internet service in rural areas to farming regulations, in particular the Renewable Fuel Standard, GMO labeling and the Clean Water Act. Produced in conjunction with Mediacom Connections Channel, RURAL TOWN HALL is a series of one-hour prime-time specials focused on rural American issues in advance of the 2016 presidential election.

"The momentum of the series has continued to exceed my expectations and I am continually impressed with the number of candidates that have stepped up to the plate and embrace the platform of RURAL TOWN HALL. As the series builds momentum and the political landscape takes notice of this unique format, I see the impact on rural America and our viewers,” stated Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of Rural Media Group. “New candidates continue to deliver on our goal to devote an entire hour, 100% focused on rural and agricultural issues. Our national television and radio audience of active voters continue to love and support this series."

According to Kim Norvel of the Des Moines Register, “The former senator from Virginia, who voted for the Renewable Fuel Standard when he was in office, said he would continue to support the program moving forward.

Jim Webb said he also prefers an all-inclusive approach to renewable energy and would promote finding technological solutions to burning coal more efficiently and effectively. Webb added that having multiple sources of energy in the United States is the only way to maintain our independence.

On the topic of GMO labeling, Webb said he is comfortable with the science behind genetically modified organisms. He said he does not support the need for state-by-state labeling, calling it impractical and unnecessary. Highlights from the hour-long forum included select questions presented by attending media and agricultural organizations.”

Jim Webb said he also prefers an all-inclusive approach to renewable energy and would promote finding technological solutions to burning coal more efficiently and effectively. Webb added that having multiple sources of energy in the United States is the only way to maintain our independence.

On the topic of GMO labeling, Webb said he is comfortable with the science behind genetically modified organisms. He said he does not support the need for state-by-state labeling, calling it impractical and unnecessary. Highlights from the hour-long forum included select questions presented by attending media and agricultural organizations.

Michael Tupper, President of the Iowa FFA Organization inquired about the former Senator’s stance on rural education and how he would address those unique challenges. "When I look at the issue of rural education today, it fits into my concerns about rural America at large. We know as a historical fact that rural America has always been literally at the end of the pipeline for getting infrastructure in place in order to provide the basic services that are available to other parts of America. Look for instance at the Appalachian Mountains, where my dad's family originally came from. They were isolated for more than a hundred years in terms of just getting roads, railroads, electricity, and those sorts of things into those communities. The contribution of Franklin Roosevelt when he put in the Tennessee Valley Authority, these programs were able to bring electrical power into the rural communities.”

Frank Holdmeyer from Agri-Pulse asked Jim Webb about the recent conservative push to split the 2014 farm bill into two parts, separating farm programs, and food nutrition programs. Webb responded by saying, “In general, I really don't see the need for it. The only upside, particularly for the agricultural community, I think, would be for people in the country to understand what percentage that bill actually goes for other programs. But that can be done without splitting it in two. It's so hard to get a bill through the United States Senate that we don't need two when we can do it in one, quite frankly."

Sharon Treinen, an AARP volunteer asked the former Senator about his ideas to make up for social security's financial shortfalls and if he would update social security and the program for future generations. Webb talked about his family experience with aging saying, “Whenever I look at that program, I think of my grandfather in East Arkansas in 1936 who had nothing. He had a broken hip and a blood infection in his system and when he died there was nothing for my mother's family. No government program that would take care of people in their old age. My grandmother ended up getting a job making artillery shells in an artillery plant in North Little Rock. When social security was announced, there were people who said, ‘this is a socialist program.’ When Medicare was announced people said, ‘Oh this is a socialist program.’ We were putting a safety net under people who otherwise would not be able to live with dignity. I am strong believer of preserving social security as we know it and Medicare as we know it and if we have to pay for it, we have to pay for it. We have that obligation to our citizens."

Monte Shaw from the America’s Renewable Future asked about Webb’s 2007 vote for the renewable fuel standard, which promised America's farmers and consumers market access for fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Shaw inquired if Webb would keep that promise as the law intends, through 2022 and beyond if elected president. "I think the movement toward renewables is a healthy thing for the country. As an engineer, I believe in finding technological solutions to problems. Even on the coal side, I'm a strong believer that you can reduce a lot of the energy systems. I went to the Naval Academy. Some of the brightest minds in the Naval Academy went into the nuclear power program. I'm very comfortable with the safety elements of nuclear power. It's clean environmentally, so we need to get a strong approach to all of them in order to maintain our independence, strategically and economically.”

Kim Novell of the Des Moines Register inquired about Webb’s ideas to bolster badly needed Internet service in rural communities. Webb discussed how rural populations are spread out and don't have the same ear in the Congress as urban areas. “One of the first things that I did was to put in what we call an earmark, to make sure that we got broadband out into areas like the far southwest of Virginia and over on the tidewater areas that otherwise would not be able to compete. In terms of Internet we have to start looking at Internet the same way we look at telephone services. It's become an essential part of how we do so many things in our lives."

National Farmer's Union: “What strategies would your administration pursue to bring more young and beginning farmers into the farm sector and lower the average operating age?” According to Webb, “we need to respect farming traditions. We need to get incentive programs for our younger people to learn skill sets that match modern farming and we need to protect the traditions and history of farming.”

“AARP is pleased to team up with RFD-TV’s RURAL TOWN HALL to ensure every presidential candidate takes a stand on making social security financially sound for generations to come,” said AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond. “Our support of these important non-partisan discussions is a natural extension of the conversation we have every month on AARP Live, which also airs on RFD-TV, about issues including Social Security, caregiving, and fraud. We are pleased to continue working with RFD-TV to help rural residents get answers they need on issues that matter most to them, their families, and their communities.” 

All presidential candidates are expected to participate in this important forum over the coming weeks. Encore airings of RURAL TOWN HALL will air on RFD-TV and RURAL RADIO SiriusXM Channel 147. Viewers can also watch RURAL TOWN HALL online at the RFD-TV Country Club at

RURAL TOWN HALL is conducted in a town hall format in front of a live audience. The program will air in 50 million homes on RFD-TV. Check local listings for RFD-TV on Mediacom and other cable providers.

“Every four years, Iowa takes center stage in American politics,” said Ed Pardini, Mediacom’s Senior Vice President of Field Operations. “As Iowa’s leading broadband provider, this was a unique opportunity to partner with RFD-TV and address issues that are critically important to the people living in the small towns and cities that we serve.”

Nearly 60% of RFD-TV viewers vote in federal elections, ranking #2 for all cable nets (Source: 2014 doublebase GfK MRI). RFD-TV viewers 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-TV on 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 information about RURAL TOWN HALL or to find listing information for the network in your area, visit Additional supporting press materials and photos can be downloaded from the online pressroom HERE.

The RURAL TOWN HALL series continues tonight with Jim Webb premieres Thursday, September 24th at 10 PM ET.

For more information, visit,, or

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About Rural Media Group, Inc. (RMG):
Rural Media Group, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of multimedia content dedicated to the rural and Western lifestyle. Reconnecting city with country, RMG is the parent company of RFD-TV, RURAL RADIO, FamilyNet, RFD-TV The Magazine, and RFD-TV The Theatre. RMG networks are distributed to more than 100-million homes worldwide by DBS, telco and cable systems including DISH Network, DIRECTV®, Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, AT&T U-Verse, Mediacom, Charter, Optimum, Brighthouse, Suddenlink, Time Warner, Cox, and more than 600 independent rural cable systems. Corporate headquarters and broadcast operations are in Nashville, Tennessee.

RFD-TV is the flagship network for RMG. 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. Top RFD-TV programming includes Market Day Report, Rural Evening News, Rural America Live, Western Sports Weekly, top rodeo events such as The American, and award-winning musical entertainment such as The Marty Stuart Show, Reno’s Old Time Music, The Molly B Polka Party, and Larry’s Country Diner.

Found exclusively on SiriusXM channel 147 (formerly channel 80), is the agribusiness and western lifestyle channel for the U.S. and Canada. RURAL RADIO's program schedule revolves around original productions focused on agriculture, equine, hunting, fishing, Western sports, and living the country life in small towns and ranches. Broadcast operations for the station are located in Nashville, Tennessee. The channel airs multiple exclusive series including Market Day Report, Rural Evening News, Western Sports Round Up, and reports from CME on Commodity Wrap. RURAL RADIO also carries live western sports including PBR bull-riding and PRCA rodeo events every weekend.

About Mediacom Communications:
Mediacom Communications Corporation is the eighth largest cable operator in the U.S. serving about 1.3 million customers in smaller markets primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. Mediacom offers a wide array of information, communications and entertainment services to households and businesses, including video, high-speed data, phone, and home security and automation. Through Mediacom Business, the company provides innovative broadband solutions to commercial and public sector customers of all sizes, and sells advertising and production services under the OnMedia brand. More information about Mediacom is available at

About AARP:
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at

Michael LaBroad, Chief Political Officer, RFD-TV, o: (402) 779-8111, m: (417) 225-2225, e:
Patty O’Bryan, Director, Political Affairs, o: (402) 502-3508, m: (402) 618-6548, e:
Heather Huston, VP of Marketing, o: (615) 296-9332, m: (802) 345-5262, e: heather@rfdtvcom
Phyllis Peters, Mediacom Communications Director, o: (515) 246-2295, m: (515) 707-7148, e:

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