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TELEVISION: And Now, the Soybean Hour

1 minute read

It may not have been quite so exciting as the Olympics, but the World Agriculture Exposition held in Amana, Iowa, last month commanded exhaustive coverage from the country’s newest television broadcast service: RFD-TV, a 24- hour satellite channel aimed at farmers. The service, named after the old postal term rural free delivery, broadcast live from the expo for 16 hours.

Based in Omaha, RFD-TV puts out a signal that can be picked up free by the 2 million U.S. households with satellite dishes. About 70% of those homes are in rural areas not wired for cable TV. Programming includes crop and livestock reports, country-music videos, a polka-music show and a smattering of old western movies. Patrick Gottsch, a former satellite-dish salesman who raised $4 million from investors to start RFD-TV, thinks the channel can attract enough advertising to turn a profit in its first year. Says investor Jim Harker of Omaha: “Nobody else is hitting the agricultural market. We’re stepping into a vacuum.”

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