AT&T to Carry RFD-TV

AT&T has struck an agreement to carry RFD-TV on its U-verse video systems.

RFD-TV had been pushing for carriage as a condition of AT&T's merger with DirecTV.

"We strive to carry content that appeals to a wide variety of audiences," said Aaron Slator, president of content development at AT&T. "We're excited to be able to bring RFD-TV programming to our customers."

AT&T signaled in June that RFD-TV could get U-Verse carriage if the telecom's proposed combination with satellite operator DirecTV deal is approved by regulators, suggesting the merger would make rural programming more appealing, not less.

The rural-themed RFD channel has gotten some high-profile attention in Hill hearings on the AT&T/DirecTV and Comcast/Time Warner Cable deals from legislators concerned about large media companies' carriage of rural-themed programming (Comcast has dropped the channel on some of its mostly urban and suburban systems).

DirecTV carries the channel. AT&T's U-Verse video service did not.

"This is a major accomplishment is this day and age with the challenges of mergers, limited bandwidth, and independent channels being dropped by cable systems all around the country," said RFD-TV founder Patrick Gottsch. "More than anything else, this is a tribute to RFD-TV's programmers and programming which combined with the passion of our audience for rural, family-oriented programming has proven to be an unbeatable force capable of doing the 'impossible.'"

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.