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Tractor Pull: RFD-TV Lands the President

RFD-TV, which organized the appearance of farm tractors in the inaugural parade, apparently has some pull with the commander in chief.

The rural-themed network snagged an exclusive interview with President Donald Trump before his Jan. 9 speech to the Farm Bureau in Nashville (where RFD-TV is based) in which he announced that rural broadband was a priority.

According to RFD-TV anchor Mark Oppold, who drove one of the tractors in the parade — the other was helmed by RFD-TV president Patrick Gottsch — the Trump campaign also bought political ad time on the rural network during 2016, while the opposition did not.

Oppold noted that the Trump family appeared to enjoy the rolling agrarian thunder.

“We love farm equipment. The equipment is very exciting to us. You saw that,” the president said.

Trump also put in a plug for Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai and the FCC’s rural broadband initiative. The president signed two executive orders making it easier to site communications towers on federal lands, something the FCC has been pursuing on a parallel track.

Oppold said Pai, who was Trump’s choice to lead the FCC, is popular in rural America — Pai is from rural Kansas — and is working to close the digital divide. Trump agreed, saying that divide was unfair to farmers. “Ajit Pai has done a terrific job,” said the president. “We’re going to open up broadband.”