Rural TV Parent Buys FamilyNet

Rural Media Group, the parent company for both RFD-TV/RFD HD and Rural TV, said it has purchased FamilyNet, a 32-year-old basic cable channel currently distributed into 14.8 million U.S. homes, from Interactive Television and Gaming Networks (formerly Comstar Media). 

The company said it will combine the programming of Rural TV and FamilyNet on Jan. 1, 2013, enlarging total distribution for the RMG channels above 61 million homes on cable and satellite.

FamilyNet was bought by Comstar in December 2009, after Comstar bought AmericanLife TV Network. It later reprogrammed AmericanLife into YouToo TV, with a social media focus, allowing viewers to upload their own videos.

RMG said the acquisition -- the price was not disclosed -- would extend its rural-themed programming into cities including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles, plus the countryside of Kansas, Oklahoma, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and California.

“We believe the merged channels will be an even stronger network for all viewers, and a more valuable asset for our cable/satellite distributors who are bandwidth challenged at this time,” Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of Rural Media Group, said in a release. “The fact that both channels have a long history of dedication to nothing but family-oriented programming make this an easy transition for all subscribers”.

“I am proud of what we were able to accomplish by turning FamilyNet around,” Robert A. Schuller, chairman of FamilyNet, said in the release.  “The RMG’s acquisition will ensure the rich tradition of family-friendly entertainment continues on the FamilyNet. Now that it has been acquired, this will allow me to focus full-time on other ministry opportunities which I look forward to.” 

CEA’s Rick Michaels advised the seller on the transaction.

Kent Gibbons

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 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.