RFD-TV and Mediacom Communications are co-producing a series of live, one-hour primetime programs featuring presidential candidates and their respective takes on rural and agricultural issues, filmed in Iowa but offered nationally via RFD-TV.
Rural Town Hall will premiere in July and air on Monday evenings at 8 p.m. and Thursday evenings at 10 p.m. Leading up to the caucuses in Iowa and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, candidates will 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, as Multichannel News previously reported before the companies' plans developed to this point.
“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,” said Rural Media Group founder and president Patrick Gottsch in a statement. “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.”
According to the network, RFD-TV viewers are 28% more likely to vote than the average TV network viewers and 64% vote in federal state or local elections. 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.
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.
“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,” said RFD-TV chief content officer and EVP Gary Kanofsky in a statement. “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.