From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaUnited States
HeadquartersNashville, Tennessee
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerRural Media Group, Inc.
Sister channelsThe Cowboy Channel
LaunchedDecember 1, 2000; 23 years ago (2000-12-01)
Digital terrestrial television36.1 (Redwood Falls, Minnesota)
22.1 (Cortez, Colorado)[1]
Streaming media
Service(s)RFD-TV Now, Sling TV

RFD-TV is an American pay television channel owned by Rural Media Group, Inc. The channel features programming devoted to rural issues, concerns and interests. The channel's name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the name for the United States Postal Service's system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons. Production and uplinking facilities for RFD-TV are located at 49 Music Square West, Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. RFD-TV's sister radio channel is Rural Radio on Sirius XM.[2] RFD-TV formerly owned a theater in Branson, Missouri where some variety shows that air on RFD-TV were filmed, as well as the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.[3][4]

RFD-TV is the flagship network for Rural Media Group. 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.

As of 2017, RFD-TV operates on a full-service format. Mornings and the early part of daytime feature syndicated newsmagazines and a five-hour block of news, weather (forecasting services on the network are outsourced to The Weather Channel) and agricultural commodity market prices, in the basic format of an American cable news outlet. An additional newscast airs during the evening hours. The remainder of the daytime and evening schedule consists of horse-related magazines, coverage of rodeo and other Western sports, rural lifestyle programs, reruns of classic television programs with rural appeal, and music programs centered around country music, polka, and Southern gospel.

Infomercials, which were previously publicly banned from the network, appear during the overnight hours. The network also features brokered programming in the form of its call-in program Rural America Live, and brokered televangelism from Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah and John Hagee.

As of February 2015, RFD-TV is available to approximately 52 million pay television households (44.8% of households with television) in the United States.[5] It is currently carried by satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV and their associated streaming services (Sling TV and DirecTV Stream, respectively), as well as through cable providers such as Mediacom, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Armstrong.[6][7] In addition to its subscription coverage, RFD-TV is offered as an Internet television feed; the feed is currently paywalled and requires a paying subscription. In March 2020, RFD-TV launched a streaming app RFD-TV Now, making RFD-TV programming available on tablets, phones, and connected TVs.[8] It was added to Sling TV on April 4, 2017, as part of the "Heartland Extra" add-on service.[9] With an average of 136,000 viewers in 2016, RFD-TV has some of the highest viewership relative to availability compared to other "ultra-niche" networks with similar or wider distribution owned by major corporations.[10]


RFD-TV (Rural Free Delivery Television) was launched in 1988 by Patrick Gottsch. However, the channel was not picked up by any carriers.[11] This attempt ended in bankruptcy. Another attempt was made in the 1990s, but could not get funding.[12] Gottsch continued to look for programming.[11] Beginning in 2000, the channel was a non-profit.[13] RFD-TV was finally picked up by Dish Network in December 2000[14] then DirecTV in 2002.[13]

In 2007, the channel converted to for-profit status after the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the commercial nature of RFD-TV's programming disqualified it from treatment by carriers as a programmer for noncommercial programming of an educational or informational nature.[15] The company then rented a Nashville studio and hired experienced TV executives including Ed Frazier, former Liberty Sports CEO. A TV simulcast of Don Imus’s radio show was arranged which got RFD-TV picked up by Comcast and Time Warner.[12]

RFD-HD, a high definition feed of RFD-TV that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format, first began broadcasting in high definition in the fall of 2007.[16]

In mid-2009, the channel gained carriage on Cox Cable. RFD began a rural news department in late 2009 with bureaus in London and Washington, DC.[12]

Rural Media contracted with Sony Pictures Television in September 2013 to handle RFD-TV's and other properties' national ad sale.[14] By August 2014, Rural Media Group began moving its Northstar Studio/RFD-TV staff and some of its Omaha, Nebraska staff into subleased office space at 49 Music Square West, Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The rest of the Omaha staff would follow in 2015 except Gottsch.[17]

In the 2016 presidential election, the Trump campaign purchased all possible advertising spots in the last two weeks before the election. By January 2017, the channel opened a bureau in Sao Paulo, Brazil to cover Brazil's growing agriculture industry, which is heavily interconnected to the United States through companies like Brazil's JBS.[18]

A Canadian version of the channel was launched on February 1, 2020, on Shaw Direct television systems through a partnership with Rural Media. [citation needed]


Imus in the Morning[edit]

When Don Imus returned to radio in late 2007 Imus had also struck a deal to simulcast Imus in the Morning on RFD-TV after moving to WABC for the rest of his career. The program was broadcast on the channel from 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern Time on weekdays, along with a primetime telecast of the program on its high definition simulcast channel RFD-HD. During much of the show's run, a news ticker was shown with the day's news, similar to that featuring when Imus in the Morning was simulcast on MSNBC. The video simulcast of the program ended its run on RFD-TV on August 28, 2009, and moved to Fox Business Network several weeks later.[19]

After Imus's retirement, RFD-TV owner Patrick Gottsch purchased Imus's 3,000-acre ranch.[3]

The Big Joe Polka Show[edit]

One of the first programs to be aired on RFD-TV was The Big Joe Polka Show, a polka and dance variety program hosted by Omaha resident Joseph "Big Joe" Siedlik, which continued to be popular among the network's estimated (approximately) 40 million+ available households until it ended its run on January 1, 2011. In 2010, litigation commenced between RFD-TV and The Big Joe Polka Show's creators/producers of Polka Cassettes of Nebraska, involving several lawsuits and countersuits (mostly over a contractual dispute). RFD-TV contends that it had an option to air the program until December 31, 2010, while Polka Cassettes of Nebraska contends that the show was being aired against their wishes, and after cessation of the effectiveness of the previous contract, which expired on December 31, 2009. In August 2010, a multimillion-dollar "slander and defamation" suit was brought against Polka Cassettes of Nebraska by RFD-TV.[20] In 2011, the court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed RFD-TV's lawsuit as being without merit.[21] In January 2015, Joseph "Big Joe" Siedlik died.[22][23][24]

The show was replaced by The RFD-TV Polka Fest on January 5, 2011, and aired during the same timeslots. RFD-TV Polka Fest was later replaced by Mollie B Polka Party, hosted by Mollie Busta in July 2011. Wednesday afternoons, starting in September 2015 featured selected reruns of the Big Joe Polka Show under the name Big Joe Polka Classics.

Other programs added in Winter 2007-2008 included a revival of Crook & Chase (which returned to TNN [now Heartland] upon its relaunch in 2012) and Bluegrass & Backroads.[25]

"Machinery Pete"[edit]

Greg Peterson "Machinery Pete" half-hour show averages 125,000+ [26] viewers weekly on RFD-TV. "Machinery Pete" is the brand name to the business of Greg Peterson.[27] who is now an expert on data within researching and tracking [28] machinery auction prices since 1989. Expertise within the farmers and dealers to look at and estimate the value on used farm equipment and the real value at auction.[29] Greg Peterson was recently quoted in November 2021 in Bloomberg news regarding how much over the estimate a sale went.[30] Crain's Chicago Business also [31] referenced "Machinery Pete" on the booming records in Farm Machinery Auction Pricing in 2021 as did the Watertown Daily Times[32] and The Packer.[33][34] "As harvest ends, we will see farmers at equipment auctions, not for the machinery - but for parts," Peterson said. "We're already hearing from guys talking about buying a second planter or sprayer, just for parts."Machinery Pete" Greg Peterson as quoted in Reuters in October 2021. As of November 2021, Machinery Pete has 47,100 subscribers on YouTube.

Greg Peterson is from Benson, Minnesota and attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. starting "Machinery Pete" back in 1989 out of his basement in Rochester, Minnesota buying a small company for $2,600 [35] that had a subscription service for prices that followed auction prices. A traditional book mailed out four times a year to a customer base before the age of the Internet. Later on "Machinery Pete" used computers to compile Used Values Index reports. These reports painted a larger and complete picture of the value of farm and construction equipment.

"Machinery Pete" launched his Website over 20 years ago[36] machinerypete.com, followed by a Facebook page for a global audience since for the last 25 plus years "Machinery Pete" has been covering farm equipment auctions for various industry magazines and trade journals.

In 2021 [37] "Machinery Pete" has over 40 Apple Podcasts.[38][39]

Greg Peterson has been covering farm equipment auctions for various industry magazines for more than 25 years and did the same during six seasons of RFD's "Machinery Show." Now Peterson has his own show, which shares its title with his nickname: "Machinery Pete." Each episode features Peterson traveling to a farm machinery auction, where he meets some of the people who attend the sales where items like tractors and skid steers are sold. He also provides his analysis of current and historical trends in the used equipment market and answers viewers' questions about what their equipment is worth in the Ask Machinery Pete segment.

Peterson's show, Machinery Pete TV, is offered in syndication through Farm Journal (also syndicator of AgDay and U.S. Farm Report) in addition to its RFD run; he also contributes to those shows as an interviewee.

Current programming[edit]

Sonny Perdue being interviewed on RFD-TV in 2017.

Former programming[edit]

The following programs were aired on RFD-TV at one point, but are no longer listed on the official website.

Rural Media Group[edit]

Rural Media Group
FounderPatrick Gottsch
Headquarters49 Music Square West, Music Row, ,
Key people
Patrick Gottsch (President)
OwnerPatrick Gottsch
  • RFD-TV
  • RFD-TV Magazine
  • Rural Radio
  • Cowboy Channel
  • Cowgirl Channel
  • RMG Events LLC

Rural Media Group is a media holding company owned by Patrick Gottsch.

RFD-TV (Rural Free Delivery Television) was launched in 1988 by Patrick Gottsch but was not picked up until 2000. The group expanded with the RFD-TV: The Magazine in 2003 then RFD HD in 2008.[11]

Rural Media Group bought the Country Tonite/Ray Stevens Theater with 2000 seats in Branson, Missouri and renamed it the RFD-TV Theatre on March 24, 2007.[42][43]

A British version, Rural TV, was launched in 2008[12] followed by a US launch on February 15, 2012, on Dish. Rural focused on news and international programming.[44] In October 2012, Rural Media purchased from Interactive Television and Gaming Networks (formerly Comstar Media) FamilyNet. The two channels would combine on January 1, 2013.[45]

Rural Media contracted with Sony Pictures Television in September 2013 to handle national ad sales for RFD-TV, Rural TV and Rural Radio.[14] By August 2014, Rural Media Group began moving its Northstar Studio staff and some of its Omaha, Nebraska staff into subleased office space at 49 Music Square West, Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The rest of the Omaha staff would follow in 2015 except Gottsch. At the same time, RMG Events LLC was formed and headed by RMG CEO Randy Bernard to run RMG events such as The American Rodeo.[17]

FamilyNet was changed over to a western lifestyle channel on July 1, 2017, tapping RFD-TV programming to start. This was the original plan for FamilyNet, but seeming limited programming and interest, Gottsch held off. With RFD-TV drawing more viewers for its western programming and events like rodeos, the switch was made.[46]

Rural Media Group in early 2018 purchased the Imus Ranch, near Santa Fe, as a television production base for its two TV channels' programs. Best of America by Horseback, Debbie Dunning’s Dude Ranch Round-Up, and Gentle Giants were programs selected to film there starting in March 2019.[47]


  1. ^ "Stations for Network - RFD-TV". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "RURAL RADIO". www.rfdtv.com. August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Morgan, Richard (April 13, 2018). "Don Imus finally sells New Mexico ranch". New York Post. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  4. ^ Wert, Jason (2024-01-30). "Branson's RFD Theatre to be demolished". Branson Tri-Lakes News. Retrieved 2024-02-13.
  5. ^ "RFD-TV Rolls Out on HD on DIRECTV". www.rfdtv.com. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  6. ^ RFD-TV Now Available to Cox Communications customers Retrieved March 21, 2010
  7. ^ "RFD-TV website: Find RFD-TV". Archived from the original on October 20, 2010.
  8. ^ "Rural Media Group launches RFD-TV Now". www.rfdtv.com. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  9. ^ Sling TV Blog: Gather the family for outdoor entertainment, timeless movies and more with new Heartland Extra Retrieved April 5, 2017
  10. ^ Crupi, Anthony (27 February 2017). "Small Change: Why Niche Cable Nets Are on Their Last Legs | Media - AdAge". Advertising Age. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e Stevens, Siri (December 2, 2019). "Patrick Gottsch". The Rodeo News. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Blitstein, Ryan (November 1, 2009). "RFD-TV: How an Ex-Farmer Built a $25 Million Media Empire for Rural America". Fast Company. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (March 5, 2013). "Cablers Mine Gold With Sticks Mix". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Steinberg, Brian (September 9, 2013). "Sony Pictures TV To Handle Ad Sales For Rural Media Group". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Farm Journal Inc., Order and Declaratory Ruling, FCC 06-172, adopted, November 28, 2006.
  16. ^ Moss, Linda (July 26, 2007). "RFD-TV Goes HD". Multichannel. Archived from the original on December 4, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Gibbons, Kent (August 20, 2014). "RFD-TV Leaving Omaha For Nashville". Multichannel. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  18. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 19, 2017). "Network Aimed at Rural America Speaks for Population That Feels Underserved by the Media". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "Don Imus, RFD Part Ways - Move Pays Could Pave Way For Disc Jockey To Join Fox Business Network".
  20. ^ Source: Public Record: The Fourth Judicial District Court of Nebraska Clerk of Courts, date of inquiry Monday, August 30, 2010, Douglas County, Nebraska
  21. ^ "Court document" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-15. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  22. ^ Blum, Julie (4 January 2015). "Polka show host 'Big Joe' dies at 80". Columbus Telegram.
  23. ^ writer, Julie Anderson / World-Herald staff (2 January 2015). "'Big Joe Polka Show' host dies of cancer at age 80". Omaha.com.
  24. ^ "Polka Legend". www.rfdtv.com.
  25. ^ Beverly Keel (2007-11-05). "Source: RFD-TV hopes Imus opens urban markets". The Tennessean.
  26. ^ "Machinery Pete TV". www.rfdtv.com.
  27. ^ "Greg Peterson". Successful Farming.
  28. ^ "Machinery Pete: Record prices on Nebraska auction". 16 June 2010.
  29. ^ "Wild Bidding Wars Erupt at Used-Tractor Auctions Across the U.S."
  30. ^ "Wild Bidding Wars Erupt at Used-Tractor Auctions Across the U.S." Bloomberg.com. 13 November 2021.
  31. ^ "Wild bidding wars erupt at used-tractor auctions across the U.S." 14 November 2021.
  32. ^ DeauxBloomberg, Joe (14 November 2021). "Wild bidding wars erupting at used-tractor auctions across the U.S." NNY360.
  33. ^ "John Deere and UAW reach new 6-year deal, ending month-long strike". 18 November 2021.
  34. ^ Huffstutter, P. j.; Weinraub, Mark (12 October 2021). "'Desperate for tires.' Components shortage roils U.S. Harvest". Reuters.
  35. ^ "30 years later, Machinery Pete still the most trusted name in farm equipment". 3 October 2019.
  36. ^ "Used Farm Equipment for Sale | Machinery Pete". www.machinerypete.com.
  37. ^ "Machinery Pete Podcast on Apple Podcasts". 28 July 2023.
  38. ^ "Machinery Pete Podcast on Apple Podcasts". 28 July 2023.
  39. ^ "Machinery Pete Podcast: Consolidation in Farm Auction Industry on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts.
  40. ^ "Best of America by Horseback". www.rfdtv.com.
  41. ^ "Corn Warriors". www.rfdtv.com.
  42. ^ Rutherford, John (March 19, 2018). "Here's what happened this week in Ozarks history". Springfield News-Leader. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  43. ^ Wert, Jason (2024-01-30). "Branson's RFD Theatre to be demolished". Branson Tri-Lakes News. Retrieved 2024-02-13.
  44. ^ "RFD TV spinoff Rural TV debuts". Ohio Ag Net. March 1, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  45. ^ Gibbons, Kent (October 22, 2012). "Rural TV Parent Buys FamilyNet". Multichannel. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  46. ^ "Rural Media Is Changing FamilyNet to Cowboy Channel". Multichannel. June 22, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  47. ^ "Rural Media Group to use New Mexico ranch as production base". AP News. November 24, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2020.

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