The Cowboy Channel

The Cowboy Channel (formerly FamilyNet) is an American cable television network in over 25 million cable and satellite homes, which carries Western and rodeo sports. The network was founded in 1979 as the National Christian Network, and took the name FamilyNet in 1988 under the ownership of Jerry Falwell.[1] It is owned by Rural Media Group, which also owns RFD-TV.

The Cowboy Channel
The Cowboy Channel
Owned byRural Media Group
CountryUnited States
HeadquartersNashville, Tennessee
Formerly called
  • National Christian Network (1979–1988)
  • FamilyNet (1988–2017)
ReplacedRural TV
Sister channel(s)RFD-TV
WebsiteOfficial website
Dish Network232 (SD)
DirecTV603 (SD)
Verizon FiOS246 (SD)
AT&T U-verse566 (SD)
Streaming media
Sling TVInternet Protocol television


As FamilyNet

FamilyNet Logo
FamilyNet's logo from 2009 until 2017.

The channel was acquired by InTouch Ministries in October 2007 from the Southern Baptist Convention.[2] In December 2009, FamilyNet was acquired by Robert A. Schuller's ComStar Media Fund.[3] In 2010, FamilyNet was spun out into its own company, with Robert A. Schuller as the chairman.[4]

The organization also operated FamilyNet Radio 161, a full-time Christian talk channel on Sirius Satellite Radio, but was discontinued on November 30, 2010; FamilyTalk replaced it.

From 2011 to 2012, the channel showed sitcoms like The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, and Mr. Belvedere.

On October 24, 2012, Rural TV purchased FamilyNet, and the transaction took effect on January 1, 2013. At first the network was used to carry an all-trading day format of farm and market news, which eventually moved to a reduced timeslot on RFD-TV due to low interest and ratings. Rural Media, which had considered merging RFD-TV and FamilyNet together to gain over-the-air carriage, eventually decided to keep FamilyNet as a separate service, but with a refocus in programming towards classic television programming which was not picked up by competitors MeTV, Antenna TV and Cozi TV. Rural Media also decided not to renew over-the-air contracts with stations in a slow process in order to make it a cable-only network.

On September 2014, FamilyNet was refocused with classic television series and films from the Sony Pictures Television libraries, with Sony also assisting with advertising sales. Religious programming, which used to make up the vast majority of the schedule under SBC and Schuller's ownership, was limited to Sunday mornings, though Rural Media also maintained FamilyNet's paid programming overnights despite their executives' traditional disdain for depending on those programs for revenue (RFD-TV since also began to carry overnight paid programming).

As The Cowboy Channel

On June 19, 2017, Rural Media Group CEO Patrick Gottsch announced that on July 1, FamilyNet would be rebranded as The Cowboy Channel, featuring a focus on Western sports and rodeo events, which had proven to be a popular attraction on RFD-TV. Gottsch thanked Sony Pictures Television for bringing the network to a solid footing, but noted that overwhelming competition in the classic television space from networks such as MeTV, Antenna TV, Cozi TV, Heroes & Icons and several other networks and streaming options had made the space more competitive and crowded, while a Western sports network was seen as a unique opportunity to stand out in cable and satellite lineups.[5][6][7] Among the network's first offerings will be encore events from RFD's The American Rodeo, the Calgary Stampede, and the Professional Bull Riders archives. Sony's archived programming thus moved to their own GetTV at the start of 2018.

With the network conversion, Rural Media used the opportunity to end their carriage agreements with over-the-air broadcasters, rendering the Cowboy Channel as a pay-TV only offering.


  1. ^ "Religious Networks Change for Profits". Broadcasting & Cable. 114 (19): 51. May 9, 1988. ISSN 1068-6827.
  2. ^ Noah, Mickey (October 29, 2007). "NAMB completes FamilyNet sale to In Touch". Baptist Press.
  3. ^ "FamilyNet TV and Radio Network Sold to Robert A. Schuller's ComStar". Black Christian News. December 29, 2009. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  4. ^ "Celebrated Televangelist Robert Schuller Named Chairman of FamilyNet TV". PR Newswire. March 23, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  5. ^ "So Long FamilyNet, Hello The Cowboy Channel!" (Press release). Rural Media Group. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Introducing The Cowboy Channel – Launching July 1, 2017". RFD-TV. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "Rural Media Is Changing FamilyNet to Cowboy Channel". MultiChannel News. June 22, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2017.

External links

2017 in American television

The following is a list of events affecting American television in 2017. Events listed include television show debuts, finales, and cancellations; channel launches, closures, and re-brandings; stations changing or adding their network affiliations; and information about controversies and carriage disputes.


AXS TV (pronounced "access") is an American cable and satellite television network. It is managed by the film company 2929 Entertainment (through AXS TV, LLC)—which they founded as HDNet (through HDNet, LLC) in 2001 before it was rebranded as AXS TV in 2012—with a consortium of partners consisting of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), Ryan Seacrest (through Ryan Seacrest Media), Creative Artists Agency, and CBS Corporation. The network's programming specializes in live music events, as well as comedy, movies, and mixed martial arts, among others. The AXS TV company includes the channel HDNet Movies.

Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) is the governing body of professional rodeo in Canada. Its championship event is the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) held every November. The CPRA also tracks its champions in the List of Canadian Rodeo Champions and its hall of fame inductees in the List of Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees.

Don Gay

Donald ("Don" or "Donnie") Gay (Born September 18, 1953 in Mesquite, Texas) is an American eight-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world champion bull rider. His father, Neal Gay, was a well-known rodeo competitor and rodeo producer. Don was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979; his father was inducted in 1993, becoming the only father and son to receive that honor. In 2015, Don was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Don retired from professional rodeo in 1989.


Get TV (stylized as getTV) is an American digital multicast television network that is owned by the Sony Pictures Television Networks subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television. Originally formatted as a movie-oriented service, the network has since transitioned into a general entertainment network featuring primarily classic television programs, much of which is sourced from the library of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The network is available in many media markets via the digital subchannels of broadcast television stations and on the digital tiers of select cable providers through a local affiliate of the network. getTV provides programming 24 hours a day and broadcasts in 480i standard definition. The network competes with various other classic television/movie networks such as Movies!, This TV, MeTV, Antenna TV, Cozi TV, Bounce TV and the Retro Television Network.


KCFT-CD is an LPTV FamilyNet network affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska, operating on digital channel 35. The station is owned by Alaska Broadcast Television, Inc. The station receives support from viewers, programs, commercial sales, and foundations. KCFT depends on several satellite networks for program distribution.

List of Laff affiliates

As of 4 February 2019, Laff has current or pending affiliation agreements with television stations in 163 media markets encompassing 46 states, including Washington, DC and Puerto Rico (including stations in the top 13 markets), covering 89% of the United States.Charter affiliates included all 8 ABC Owned Television Stations and 13 E. W. Scripps Company stations. The two initial deals gave Laff affiliate clearances in 35% of all U.S. markets, and 13 of the 30 largest television markets (including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, and Houston). On March 13, 2015, Katz Broadcasting announced an affiliation deal with the Cox Media Group to carry Laff on seven of its stations (including WSB-TV in Atlanta and WFXT in Boston), expanding its initial reach to 47% of the country; the following week on March 20, as part of a multi-network affiliation agreement with Katz, the Meredith Corporation announced that it would carry the network on its stations in Portland, Oregon (KPTV) and Hartford (WFSB).

List of Peppa Pig episodes

Peppa Pig is a British preschool animated television series produced by Astley Baker Davies. The show features the eponymous pig along with her family and friends. Each episode is approximately five minutes long (with the exception of a 10-minute special and a 15-minute special). There have been five seasons as of 2018. A sixth season began airing on 5 February 2019 in the UK. Peppa Pig has been broadcast in over 180 countries.As of 11 May 2018, 254 episodes of Peppa Pig have aired.

List of TBD affiliates

The following is a list of affiliates of TBD, a United States digital broadcast television network owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group that focuses on internet-based series and content targeting millennial audiences. The network commenced programming on February 13, 2017 with at least two broadcast affiliates, KDSM-TV/Des Moines and WLUK-TV/Green Bay, adding the network to one of their digital subchannels on that date. The February 13 date was the beginning of a "soft roll-out" of TBD affiliates; by February 24, 49 stations, all owned or operated by Sinclair, are either carrying the network or have been indicated as a future affiliate. TBD will be added to other Sinclair stations during Spring 2017 before being offered to stations in markets outside of Sinclair's geographic footprint.

List of United States cable and satellite television channels

The following is a list of cable and satellite television networks broadcasting or receivable in the United States, organized by genre. Some cable systems use one or more cable channels for video on demand.

List of United States terrestrial television networks

In the United States, for most of the history of broadcasting, there were only three or four major commercial national terrestrial networks. From 1946 to 1956, these were ABC, CBS, NBC and DuMont (though the Paramount Television Network had some limited success during these years). From 1956 to 1986, the "Big Three" national commercial networks were ABC, CBS, and NBC (with a few limited attempts to challenge them, such as National Telefilm Associates [and its NTA Film Network] and the Overmyer Network). From 1954 to 1970, National Educational Television was the national clearinghouse for public TV programming; the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) succeeded it in 1970.

Today, more than fifty national free-to-air networks exist. Other than the non-commercial educational (NCE) PBS, which is composed of member stations, the largest terrestrial television networks are the traditional Big Three television networks (ABC, CBS and NBC). Many other large networks exist, however, notably Fox and The CW which air original programming for two hours each night instead of three like the original "Big Three" do, as well as syndication services like MyNetworkTV and Ion Television which feature reruns of recent popular shows with little to no original programming. Fox has just about the same household reach percentage as the Big Three, and is therefore often considered a peer to ABC, NBC, and CBS since it has also achieved equal or better ratings since the late 1990s. Most media outlets now include Fox in what they refer to as the "Big Four" TV networks.

The transition to digital broadcasting in 2009 has allowed for television stations to offer additional programming options through digital subchannels, one or more supplementary programming streams to the station's primary channel that are achieved through multiplexing of a station's signal. A number of new commercial networks airing specialty programming such as movies, reruns of classic series and lifestyle programs have been created from companies like Weigel Broadcasting, Luken Communications and even owners of the major networks such as The Walt Disney Company (through the Walt Disney Television subsidiary) and Comcast (through the NBCUniversal subsidiary). Through the use of multicasting, there have also been a number of new Spanish-language and non-commercial public TV networks that have launched.

Free-to-air networks in the U.S. can be divided into four categories:

Commercial networks – which air English-language programming to a general audience (for example, CBS);

Spanish-language networks – fully programmed networks which air Spanish-language programming to a primarily Latin American audience (for example, Telemundo and Univision);

Educational and other non-commercial broadcast networks – which air English- and some foreign-language television programming, intended to be educational in nature or otherwise of a sort not found on commercial television (for example, PBS);

Religious broadcast networks – which air religious study and other faith-based programs, and in some cases, family-oriented secular programs (for example, Daystar).Each network sends its signal to many local affiliate television stations across the country. These local stations then air the "network feed," with programs broadcast by each network being viewed by up to tens of millions of households across the country. In the case of the largest networks, the signal is sent to over 200 stations. In the case of the smallest networks, the signal may be sent to just a dozen or fewer stations.

As of the 2016–17 television season, there are an estimated 118.4 million households in the U.S. with at least one TV set.

National Christian Network

The National Christian Network was a religious television network in the United States which formed in 1979. The channel was founded by Ray A. Kassis and located in Cocoa, Florida, where it owned studios. The programming was originated from Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant groups; at the time of launch 54 separate groups had shown interest. The network was the fourth satellite-fed Christian network to be launched, and was a competitor to the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the PTL Satellite Network, and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

NCN shared the same satellite transponder with the Playboy channel. This caused a great deal of trouble for NCN, not because they shared the same transponder at different times of the day, but rather because NCN attempted to sell satellite time to Christian programmers who were led to believe (falsely) that every cable company that was carrying Playboy was also carrying NCN, which was not the case. In fact most cable operators carried the Playboy feed only during the hours that Playboy was transmitting programming, and they blacked out the NCN portion.Jerry Falwell acquired NCN in 1986, renaming it to the Liberty Broadcasting Network and moving its headquarters to Chesapeake, Virginia. At that time the network had an estimated 3 million viewers. LBN billed itself as the first "for profit inspirational network".The Liberty Broadcasting Network was renamed to FamilyNet in June 1988, and at the same time became a for-profit entity. The network had lost about $3.2 million each year, and Falwell associate / former PTL manager Dr. Jerry Nims was brought in to head the new network.FamilyNet was acquired by the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission in 1991. The SBC ran the network alongside its separately programmed American Christian Television System. In 1995 FamilyNet was available to 35 million homes through broadcast stations. The church sold FamilyNet to InTouch Ministries in 2007.


RFD-TV is an American pay television channel that is owned by Rural Media Group. The channel features programming devoted to rural issues, concerns and interests. The channel's name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the name for the United States Postal Service's system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons. Production and uplinking facilities for RFD-TV are located at Northstar Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, while the channel's corporate & national sales office is based in Omaha, Nebraska. RFD-TV's sister radio station is Sirius XM's Rural Radio. RFD-TV also owns a theater in Branson, Missouri where some variety shows that air on RFD-TV are filmed.

As of February 2015, RFD-TV is available to approximately 47.3 million pay television households (40.7% of households with television) in the United States. It is currently carried by satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV, as well as through cable providers such as Mediacom, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Armstrong. It is not available in most Comcast markets; Comcast dropped the channel in many of its Western markets in 2013. In addition to its cable and satellite coverage, RFD-TV is offered as an Internet television feed; the feed is currently paywalled and requires a paying subscription, with a TV Everywhere said to be coming soon. It was added to Sling TV on April 4, 2017 as part of the "Heartland Extra" add-on service. RFD TV is also available as part of the 'Live A Little' package offered by DirecTV Now. With an average of 136,000 viewers in 2016, RFD-TV has some of the highest viewership relative to availability compared to other "ultra-niche" networks with similar or wider distribution owned by major corporations.

Silver Spoons

Silver Spoons is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 25, 1982 to May 11, 1986, and in first-run syndication from September 15, 1986 to March 4, 1987. The series was produced by Embassy Television for the first four seasons, until Embassy Communications moved the series to syndication.Silver Spoons was created by Martin Cohan, Howard Leeds and Ben Starr.


WGUD-LD is a low power television station in Pascagoula, Mississippi, broadcasting locally on channel 51, locally owned by Scranton Broadcasting Company, LLC.


WSFG-LD 51 and WSSF-LP 48 are a commonly-owned pair of low power television stations in Fayette County, Alabama which receive religious programming via satellite for terrestrial rebroadcast.

In 2008 both stations, despite their LPTV status, successfully forced their programming onto West Alabama TV Cable, a local cable television provider in Hamilton-Winfield-Fayette, Alabama, by using the terrestrial loophole in federal must-carry regulations which allow "qualified LPTV stations" to obtain mandatory cable carriage normally reserved for full-power stations. The use of this provision is based on a claim that no full-power station serves Fayette County, that the community is not part of any of the 160 largest metropolitan statistical areas and that the stations meet specific technical criteria (such as signal coverage and number of hours of programming) which apply to full-service stations seeking carriage.

As of this update, each channel currently carries the following programs:




The Cowboy Channel,


Smile of a Child,


Hillsong Channel,


My Family TV,




White Springs TV


WTBL-CD was a class A television station in Lenoir, North Carolina. It broadcast over-the-air on channel 49, and on cable channel 13 in the Lenoir area. It was an independent station with some programming from The Cowboy Channel. WTBL-CD was last owned by OTA Broadcasting, LLC, a company controlled by Michael Dell's MSD Capital. WLNN-CD in Boone provided its newscasts and other local programming for the station, and broadcast full-time on WTBL-CD's second digital subchannel.

On April 13, 2017, the FCC identified WTBL-CD will be compensated $8.2 million to go off-the-air as part of the spectrum auction. WTBL-CD ceased operations October 25, 2017; its license was surrendered on October 30.

Occasional coverage

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.