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

(NASHVILLE, TN — AUGUST 25, 2015) RFD-TV News announced today the successful continuation of the new series, RURAL TOWN HALL, featuring presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. The closed production taping featured pre-selected questions solicited from key agricultural organizations, publications, and viewers. Audience members included constituents from agricultural non-profits and organizations such as AARP, Iowa Pork Producers, 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, Crop Life America, America's Renewable Future, FFA, 4-H, the Des Moines Register, Mediacom, Agri-Pulse Communications, farmers and ranchers. Throughout the one-hour forum Dr. Carson outlined his vision for rural America related to questions concerning rural youths, education, biotechnology, food labeling, vegetarianism, the death tax, renewable fuels, agricultural subsidies, healthcare, social security, broadband, the EPA, energy sources, pollinator health, federal farm programs, the rural workforce, and immigration.

"The first RURAL TOWN HALL exceeded my expectations. As the series continues to build momentum I think the political landscape will take notice of the unique format and our goal to devote an entire hour, 100% focused on rural and agricultural issues,” stated Patrick Gottsch, Founder & President of Rural Media Group. “The first program set a high bar, Dr. Carson continued that momentum. And our national television and radio audience of active voters continues to love and support this series."

Highlights from the hour-long forum included select questions presented by attending media and agricultural organizations for Dr. Carson.

Timothy Meinch of the Des Moines Register inquired about Dr. Carson’s opinion on agricultural subsidies available to farmers in Iowa and the rest of the nation. Dr. Carson responded by saying he would gradually reduce them all over a period of time. “The reason I wouldn't do it acutely is because a lot of things have been built on those subsidies and you can't just withdraw that support immediately and expect people to be able to adjust. I think our nation, as a whole, will be considerably stronger when the government is not involved in picking winners and losers.” Dr. Carson went on to say, “When it comes to very large entities that engage in entrepreneurial risk-taking, and a large segment of our society is going to be affected by their success or failure, that is a time when I think we have to be looking at certain types of insurance that we make available to them, because we cannot let one bad year destroy their entire operation.”

Tony Vola from AARP asked Dr. Carson about the nation’s dependence on income from social security and about his plan to address social security’s financial shortfalls. Dr. Carson went on to discuss the ‘Fiscal Gap.’ “That sits at about $200 trillion dollars. That is unsustainable, except for the fact that we can print money as the reserve currency of the world. One of the things we are going to have to do is change our GDP to debt-ratio and our long-term outlay of money that we need. For social security specifically, what I have proposed is that we give people the ability to opt-out of receiving social security in lieu of a tax credit, for the same amount as the payment they would have gotten. That immediately takes the pressure off of social security because right now it is scheduled to go bankrupt in 2033.”

Michael Tupper from FFA asked Dr. Carson about agricultural youth policy and how he would encourage and support young people looking to get back to agriculture. Dr. Carson says technology is going to play a key role. “In a lot of farming areas, for instance, you don’t have good access to high-speed Internet. A lot of people have this false impression, that if you’re gonna be a farmer, you’re just a ‘nobody who doesn’t know anything,’ and that’s not true. Farming is getting to be very scientific and you need to have resources in order to be able to keep up with all the things that are happening on a regular basis. I think changing the perception of what farming is the best I think to get young people to go into it. And not just to go into but to be enthusiastic about it and to recognize that it is a vital part off the success of not only this country but for the world.”

Isaiah Shnurman of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association asked about Dr. Carson’s stance on repealing the Death Tax. Dr. Carson says he supports a proportional tax system based on biblical principles. “I think God’s a pretty fair person and if he thinks proportionality is good, then I’m good with it too. You make $10 billion dollars a year you pay a billion. You make $10 a year, you pay one. Everybody gets the same rights and privileges. Get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. And you don’t tax anything twice – including estates. I’m for the repeal of that Death Tax.”

Highlighting concerns about the EPA’s Clean Water Rule and the recent Colorado mine spill, Annette Sweeney from American Agri-Women asked Dr. Carson what attributes he would look for in appointing a new EPA administrator? Dr. Carson responded by saying: “Certainly I would look for somebody who had some common sense. The EPA is an important organization, but they have been used for the wrong purpose and used to suppress the development of energy and other resources. The presidential candidate went on to say, “I would really change the role of the EPA from suppressing the development of our resources to working with business, industry, and academia to find the cleanest, most environmentally friendly ways to do things.” He added, “We want to pass things on to the next generation in at least as good of shape as we got them. But that doesn’t mean using environmental issues to inappropriately punish the people who are developing resources that are critical to our existence.”

“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.” 

Produced in conjunction with Mediacom Connections Channel and AARP, RURAL TOWN HALL is a series of one-hour prime-time specials focused on rural American issues in advance of the 2016 presidential election. 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 www.rfdcc.com.

RURAL TOWN HALL is conducted in a town hall format in front of a live audience. The program will air in more than 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 first episode 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.”

“The series RURAL TOWN HALL provided Dr. Ben Carson and his presidential campaign efforts a perfect vehicle to reach more than 11 million weekly viewers, many of whom live in rural America,” stated Rural Media Group’s Chief Political Officer, Michael LaBroad. “Our viewers vote and have a sincere interest in political activities as evidenced by their astute and insightful questions. Every candidate and national campaign committee has been supportive of this new format and expressed interest in participating. We are excited to connect the presidential candidates with rural Americans as these issues don’t just affect rural Americans, they impact the entire country.”

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 RFDTV.com. Additional supporting press materials and photos can be downloaded from the online pressroom HERE.

The RURAL TOWN HALL series continues with Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday, August 27 at 10 PM ET.

For more information, visit ruraltownhall.com, rfdtv.com, or ruralradio147.com.

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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 mediacomcc.com.

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; www.aarp.org; 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 aarp.org.?

Michael LaBroad, Chief Political Officer, RFD-TV, o: (402) 779-8111, m: (417) 225-2225, e: mailto:michael@rfdtv.com
Patty O’Bryan, Director, Political Affairs, o: (402) 502-3508, m: (402) 618-6548, e: mailto:patty@rfdtv.com
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: ppeters@mediacomcc.com

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