One America News Turns to Free Broadcasts After Pay-TV Dumps Conservative Channel (Report)

DirectTV and Verizon have dropped the pro-Trump channel, so it’s aiming to reach audiences via growing number of TV antennas

Devin Nunes on One America News Network
Courtesy of OAN

One America News is attempting a comeback by leveraging an old technology: the antenna.

Bloomberg reports that the pro-Donald Trump conservative channel is aiming to replace the audience it lost after pay-TV providers DirectTV and Verizon dropped it from their lineups.

Founder and owner Robert Herring Sr. earlier this year urged One America viewers to pressure their providers to reinstate the channel, with no success.

So now, the station, which has been accused of spreading misinformation about the 2020 election and still faces several lawsuits related to its reporting, is going old-school and setting up free, over-the-air subchannels in about 30 markets, with plans to reach about 100 by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg.

Among the markets OAN is targeting: Pittsburgh; Las Vegas; Wichita, Kansas and Jacksonville, Florida.

Last month, the company said it inked a deal to launch OAN in 22 states with Zito Media of Potter County, Pennsylvania, stating that it was moving quickly to get its signal out before the midterm elections.

Subchannels, Bloomberg explained, “are a little-noticed corner of the TV business” that is growing as more people cancel pay-TV and reinstall antennas on their homes to pick up free broadcast stations. About 15% of U.S. households use antennas, up from 10% in 2010, the report said, citing Nielsen.

KPVM, a broadcast station in the Las Vegas market that reaches about 875,000 households, started carrying OAN as a subchannel about a year ago, sharing advertising inventory equally with OAN, Bloomberg reported.

“Viewers absolutely love it,” Vernon Van Winkle, chief executive officer of KPVM, said of the network. “If my signal goes down for a second my phone lines are blowing up with people asking, ‘What’s going on?’”

Nielsen does not report OAN’s audience, and it is hard to determine exactly how many views it has, Bloomberg said. Ad revenue from subchannels is also not likely to be as lucrative as the subscriber fees that come from cable and satellite services.

The effort may not bring in much money for OAN, Angelo Carusone, president of watchdog group Media Matters for America, told Bloomberg, but it could help it stay connected to its fans and help make the case to get carried by a larger TV provider.

OAN’s strategy seems to be “let’s find as many distribution partners as we can,” Carusone added.

Other conservative networks, including Newsmax and Real America’s Voice, also use subchannels in various locations around the country, Bloomberg reported.