Rural Free TV is on the dial locally


By Joe Moskowitz
It’s in the country, so it’s rural. It doesn’t cost anything to watch, so it’s free. And it has sound and video, so it’s TV. It’s Rural Free TV, or RFTV. It’s the brainchild of Margaretville resident Vic Tannenberg.

Tannenberg, who spends what he considers an inordinate number of hours in front of a computer screen, owns Vicware, a one-man company that designs software, or if you prefer, apps. He decided to use his technical skills to create RFTV, his own Internet and sometimes cable-based television network.

Tannenberg started RFTV about a year ago. It’s affiliated with the ITV network and he says it can provide nationwide exposure for news, music and other events that take place in the region.
He hopes to eventually have several channels. He is developing one of them in conjunction with Roxbury’s Stone Tavern Farm. It will include a “Wildlife Cam.” Whatever happens or doesn’t happen in nature will be there on Channel 2. Tannenberg hopes to have that up and running by the spring. Also in the developmental stage is RFTV Channel 3. That channel will be dedicated to local music, sports and news.

For now there is RFTV Channel 1. From 4 p.m. on, Monday through Friday, it simulcasts programming on Roxbury radio station WIOX-FM. And on Friday evenings, RFTV shows old movies. One of its first ventures was a live simulcast of “Andes Has Talent,” a show featuring kids from Andes Central School as they performed in the WIOX studios. He also showed a series of live music performances from a club in Kingston.

For Tannenberg, it is a “wire head’s” world of computers, servers, broadband and webcams. It is free to watch, but not free to operate. He depends on some local advertising, but his national sponsors need hits. In other words, people on computers who are watching RFTV, and he is working to give people something to watch.