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RFD-TV's Lobbying Goes Grass Roots

If some legislators from rural districts get buttonholed about big media mergers at the local pie-eating or pig-judging contest, the reason why will be clear.

So far, RFD-TV has been successful in helping drive hundreds and probably thousands of comments to the Federal Communications Commission saying that carriage of the rural-targeted cable and satellite network should not be a casualty of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable or AT&T/DirecTV mergers. It hasn’t hurt that founder Patrick Gottsch has added a button on the company’s Web site to make it easy to weigh in with the FCC in Washington.

But Gottsch suggests the movements’ roots are not astroturf, and that they are being planted on the Hill as well as the FCC bottom land along the Potomac. “There are so many Senators and Congressmen, both Republican and Democrats, that understand the importance of serving rural America,” he said. “Viewers will be contacting them during the August recess when there are so many county and state fairs.” Gottsch's efforts to get fair-goers to share their views with representatives -- including at polka parties -- was highlighted in a New York Times article Sunday.

“This grassroots movement is just starting to gain momentum as people begin to use social media to educate others on this matter,” Gottsch told Multichannel News.