AT&T to Carry RFD-TV

Rural programmer had been pushing carriage as condition of merger with DirecTV

AT&T has struck an agreement to carry RFD-TV on its U-verse video systems.

RFD-TV had been pushing for carriage as a condition of AT&T's merger with DirecTV.

"We strive to carry content that appeals to a wide variety of audiences," said Aaron Slator, president of content development at AT&T. "We're excited to be able to bring RFD-TV programming to our customers."

AT&T signaled in June that RFD-TV could get U-Verse carriage if the telecom's proposed combination with satellite operator DirecTV deal is approved by regulators, suggesting the merger would make rural programming more appealing, not less.

The rural-themed RFD channel has gotten some high-profile attention in Hill hearings on the AT&T/DirecTV and Comcast/Time Warner Cable deals from legislators concerned about large media companies' carriage of rural-themed programming (Comcast has dropped the channel on some of its mostly urban and suburban systems).

DirecTV carries the channel. AT&T's U-Verse video service did not.

"This is a major accomplishment is this day and age with the challenges of mergers, limited bandwidth, and independent channels being dropped by cable systems all around the country," said RFD-TV founder Patrick Gottsch. "More than anything else, this is a tribute to RFD-TV's programmers and programming which combined with the passion of our audience for rural, family-oriented programming has proven to be an unbeatable force capable of doing the 'impossible.'"