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Best of NAMA 2020

March was quite a month for RFD-TV.

First, the seven-year-old Omaha-based TV channel that broadcasts 24/7 which is dedicated to programming of rural interest announced it was switching from a non-profit, public interest television network to a for-profit, commercial entity.

A couple of weeks later, it opened a new theatre in Branson, MO.

In making the announcement that the channel is now commercial, Patrick Gottsch, CEO of the Rural Media Group, Inc., majority owners of RFD-TV, LLC said, "This is exciting news for rural America and to the program producers and advertisers who desire to reach this previously hard-to-reach audience.

"Now, without any restrictions whatsoever, this channel can begin to reach its full potential by expanding its news, information, and family-oriented entertainment programming which has proven to be so popular with millions of viewers in both the country and city alike."

Gottsch continued, "By becoming a for-profit entity, this should now clear up any confusion regarding the future of RFD-TV, as new long-term agreements have been executed with both DIRECTV and DISH Network for carriage and distribution of this rural network as a basic, commercial channel.

"The confusion is over," Mike Hansen, RFD-TV's Exec Vice President said. "There has been a pent up demand by numerous accounts who desire to place 30 second and 60 second spots in this targeted programming. In addition, many clients are lined up to produce their own extended and/or interactive, informational programs to showcase products and associations like never before in prime time to this national audience."

With the announcement, video cattle auctions immediately returned to RFD-TV, including all Superior Livestock Auction and Superior Production broadcasts. "Superior Livestock is proud to be associated with RFD-TV," stated Jim Odle, Founder and General Manager of the nation's leading video auction company. "Video auctions are back on this rural television network where they belong.

For a brief time the auctions, which have been broadcast on RFD-TV since the channel's launch, were suspended due to a ruling issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

Other agri-marketers were equally pleased with the change. Brad Schu, Director of Lifestyle Business at Land O Lakes Purina feed said, "We are excited about the change. Land O Lakes Purina Feeds will be the lead sponsor of 'Animal Makeover TV' a new program which premiered on RFD-TV this month."

On March 28, RFD-TV officially opened its new theatre in Branson, MO, with a bang. It's opening act Willie Nelson played to a standing room only crowd, after an afternoon interview session with Ralph Emery, who is producing and anchoring a new weekly series which will premier on RFD-TV in May. Later in the week, the queen of country music, Loretta Lynn, performed on RFD-TV The Theatre's stage.

"For the past several years, RFD-TV has been searching for a permanent base to expand operations for this rural television network," Gottsch explains. "The theatre will serve as our version of the Grand Ole Opry, where performances can be taped to expand the entertainment programming on this rural channel."

RFD-TV is working closely with the Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau to attract rural and agricultural meetings and conventions to the area. "The combination of Branson's new convention center, great entertainment, economical hotel rooms, and coverage on RFD-TV make this a very attractive package for planners looking for a new venue for their yearly gathering," Gottsch said.

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