FCC Seeks Comment on Ag TV Challenge

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The FCC has asked for public comment on a request by agricultural media producer/distributor Farm Journal that the commission rule its competitor, RFD-TV, does not qualify as an educational programming supplier meeting the requirements for fulfilling satellite operators' FCC-mandated public-interest requirements.

Farm Journal, which distributes TV programs AgDay and U.S. Farm Report, filed a raft of supporting material with the FCC to back up its claim and asked for a declaratory ruling that RFD did not fit the bill.

Farm Journal alleges that RFD-TV airs commericals and should be ineligible for the public interest channel set-aside, which is reserved for "qualified nonprofit organizations or noncommercial educational entities." Meeting that test is an advantage to any programming service, since satellite operators are required by the commission to carry a certain number of such channels.

RFD is a Nashville-based 24/7 programming service targeted to rural America and carried on DISH and DirecTV with programming that includes rural and agricultural news.

RFD-TV President Pattrick Gottsch had not returned a call for his comment at press time.

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