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RFD May Bury AT&T/DirecTV In FCC Comments

The FCC has gotten more than 3,000 comments on the proposed AT&T/DirecTV merger since setting the comment deadlines only five days ago and if a spot check is any indication, a majority of them are calling for the companies to make sure they carry rural programmer RFD-TV. (Of a couple of dozen comments randomly selected, only one did not cite RFD or rural programming).

That follows a similar flood of comments on RFD-TV to the Comcast/Time Warner Cable docket.

The rural channel has gotten some high-profile attention in Hill hearings, including from channel founder, Patrick Gottsch, who has made the pitch personally. He has also set up a button on the channel's Web site to make it easy for fans to contact Washington.

There are also a number of legislators from rural states who said during hearings they had had heard from constituents concerned about losing the channel.

"RFD-TV did not put any words in anyone's mouth," Gottsch told B&C/Multichannel News of the campaign that has resulted in comments on both proposed mergers. "These folks are pouring their hearts out, and quite frankly, I am humbled by the support that RFD-TV and RURAL TV is getting nationwide."

AT&T has signaled that it could add RFD-TV to U-Verse if the FCC approves its deal with DirecTV, which carries the channel.