RFD-TV parent Rural Media Group is consolidating operations, now divided between Omaha, Neb., and Nashville, Tenn., in a Music Row address in Nashville formerly occupied by Great American Country. RMG also owns FamilyNet, Rural TV and Rural Radio. Scripps-owned country lifestyles network GAC moved out of 49 Music Square West (pictured) more than a year ago, and is now based in Knoxville.
Patrick Gottsch, founder of rural-focused RFD-TV, said RMG signed an agreement with Scripps Networks to sub-lease space at the 49 Music Square West. Operations now at Northstar Studios in Nashville will relocate over the next several months and at least some employees now in Omaha also will move to Nashville.
"By the end of the year we plan to move everything that’s in Omaha right now to Nashville, except for myself," Gottsch, who lives in Nebraska, told Multichannel News Wednesday. He said about 40 staffers are in Omaha, in such functions as accounting, marketing, sales and events. He said relocation packages were offered "for those who want to move. Some don't want to leave Omaha and want to stay there, so those folks will be replaced in Nashville. We gave everybody the opportunity to move to Nashville. It looks like about half of them are going to move and about half are going to find other employment."
The company said in a statement that the majority of the key people from RMG corporate operations in Omaha will be transferred to Nashville in the coming months. They include a new RMG Events LLC unit headed by RMG CEO Randy Bernard. The events include RFD-TV's The American, a rodeo to be held at the Dallas Cowboys-owned AT&T Stadium on March 1, 2015.
RMG said it would be creating jobs in 64 different categories in all aspects of television and radio operations, digital production and marketing with the move. Openings will be posted on rfdtv.com or resumes emailed to Jobs@rfdtv.com. Gottsch said in an interview he expects the company to have 150 on staff by the end of the year, rising to about 200 by the middle of next year. RMG plans to start renovations at the former GAC building soon and afterward will hold an open house for potential job applicants.
“The new headquarters will allow for RMG to add to its existing, talented workforce while filling the many holes necessary for this company to reach its full potential,” the RMG-released statement quoted Jon Finnegan, HR director, as saying. “Rural Media Group is a company experiencing explosive growth and the excitement for the move is already evident with our current employees and can only add to the positive and professional atmosphere that we will take to 49 Music Square West. We are looking forward to attracting the very best from the experienced media professionals not only in Tennessee, but from around the country.”
The agreement includes purchasing former GAC production space on the first and second floors, where news operations for RFD-TV and Rural Radio (on SiriusXM) will operate. Gottsch said the facilities there will "really allow us to upgrade our programming, especially our news programming." RMG said in a statement that full-time production for television and radio networks will originate from the new location no later than the first quarter of 2015.
RFD-TV produces music programs including The Marty Stuart Show and Larry's Country Diner at Northstar Studios. Gottsch said RFD-TV will seek to move those shows to GAC. "The studios are smaller at GAC than the big studios at Northstar, but we're going to find a way to make it work."
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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.