Monday, July 14, 2014

Rural TV fears big cable merger; 'urban-clustered' Comcast dropping it and RFD-TV in places

Rural TV could be in trouble. A proposed merger between Comcast Cable and Time Warner Cable, as well as the merger of AT&T U-Verse with DirecTV, would give the two new giants 54 million homes. That spells bad news for Rural TV, says Patrick Gottsch, founder of its parent, Rural Media Group. The station is is distributed to 40 million homes, mostly on satellite TV. (Rural Media Group map: C and D counties are considered rural areas)
"We are not opposed to these mergers. Instead, we are working hard to raise the level of awareness of the plight of rural, independent programming in Washington, DC, and how we can ensure that our channels are treated fairly with these mergers so that rural interests are protected," Gottsch writes on the company's website. "This is a big deal, and will essentially determine RFD-TV and Rural TV's carriage for the next several years on all these cable and satellite systems." (Read more)

Gottsch's concern is that Comcast has shown little interest in Rural TV and has already canceled the station in several markets, including some in Colorado and New Mexico, where Comcast claims ratings were too low to keep the stations, Bob Fernandez reports for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Since pleading with viewers to get involved, Gottsch said 18,000 viewers have contacted the Federal Communications Commission to save the station.

While Comcast executive David Cohen says the company isn't anti-rural, comments he made at merger hearing in Washington don't bode well for Rural TV viewers. Cohen said, "Let's stay focused on the consumer here. If RFD-TV is sufficiently important for [subscribers], they can switch to Dish or DirecTV in those markets. ... So we're not ... controlling customer choice here. We are primarily an urban-clustered cable company." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are country people and we do not want RFD dropped either on Comcast or Direct TV We love the country music and programs. Thank You Cynthia Bradway