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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Gila River aims to pull network airing Bannon, Kirk shows – The Arizona Republic

Viewers in the Phoenix area can see Real America’s Voice, a network that airs shows hosted by Steve Bannon, the former adviser to President Donald Trump, Charlie Kirk, the CEO of Turning Point USA and the rock singer Ted Nugent over a TV station operated by the Gila River Indian Community.
At least for the time being.
The Gila River Indian Community, in a brief statement to The Arizona Republic, said it was not pleased that its low-power television station, KGRX-LD, Channel 19.2, was carrying the Real America’s Voice network. The statement said it was looking to end the contract.
The statement did not name the company contracted to program the channel. A spokesperson for the tribe said he could not comment outside the written statement.
Whatever company is programming Real America’s Voice on KGRX-LD is not profiting from selling airtime.Real America’s Voice airs on the channel without commercials. Instead of ads, viewers see an animated announcement saying that the network is on a break and a clock counting down the time remaining.
Besides news and talk shows, Real America’s Voice also aired hourslong coverage of Trump election rallies during the 2022 campaign season. Besides Bannon’s three-hour show, running as often as six days a week, the Real America’s Voice network airs the Charlie Kirk Show, which began on the network in June.
Kirk’s show is separate from his activities with Turning Point USA, although guests affiliated with Turning Point organizations have been frequent guests.
Since the 2022 elections, both Bannon and Kirk have decried what they say were irregularities in the election. In an appearance on Nov. 23, Bannon told Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor, that she would eventually take office once the election results were either undone or redone.
Two other shows affiliated with Turning Point USA ― Frontlines with Drew Hernandez and Human Events Daily with Jack Posobiec also appear on the channel. Frontlines had six episodes removed from YouTube in August. Real America’s Voice became the favored platform for Bannon’s show, “War Room” after YouTube removed it. That happened after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Related storyCharlie Kirk’s Turning Point groups, two funded anonymously, aim to influence elections
But, in doing so, Bannon told The Washington Post, his audience became bigger. Bannon said in a January interview, that his “War Room” show depends on Real America’s Voice for its TV audience. The show is also heard on a network of radio stations.
“They get it out everywhere,” Bannon told The Post of the reach of Real America’s Voice. In that article, The Post mentioned the network’s availability on Dish satellite television and a host of streaming platforms.
The network also reaches an unknown audience through 27 over-the-air affiliates, available to viewers who use an antenna, according to a listing on the website, RabbitEars.info, expanding its reach to an audience that might not use streaming services.
Of those 27 stations, in markets like Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Milwaukee, the station airs on low-power outlets like KGRX in Arizona.
A spokesperson for Real America’s Voice did not respond to an email asking about the network’s reach over the air.A pair of rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna might seem quaint in the era of streaming. But according to the Nielsen company, in an April report, the number of over-the-air TV homes has grown during the past 10 years as people see it as a supplement or alternative to cable or satellite dishes.
Phoenix, according to the study, has the highest number of homes in the country – 27% – that use an over-the-air antenna. Though only 4.6% rely on that aerial exclusively for programming.
Households that only receive programming over the air tend to be older and poorer than those with other programming options, according to the Nielsen study.
KGRX-TV has been airing Real America’s Voice since at least April.
Before then, the station was airing a network called First Nations Experience and had plans to bring a subscription service to its viewers. An article in Broadcasting + Cable in August 2021 named the company that would bring the subscription service as Evoca.
First Nations Experience still airs on Channel 29, KGRQ-LD, another Gila River Indian Community-owned station broadcasting from Sacaton.
According to the statement from the tribe, it left programming on KGRX, Channel 19, to an outside entity. And that entity was supposed to get its programming choices approved by the tribe, the statement said. That notice was not provided before the “independent operator of television stations (began) broadcasting political news” on the station, the statement said.
“The Community is currently considering all available options to remove this programming, which it does not endorse,” the statement, sent in early November, said.
The programming, broadcasting from the village of Maricopa, was still airing as of Thanksgiving.The Republic was unable to determine the company contracted to operate the stations referenced in the statement.The FCC created low-power television stations as a way to bring programming choices to rural and underserved areas.
The Gila River Broadcasting Corp. started airing programming in January 2015 with the mission, according to its website, of providing “culturally competent and respectful programming” to its audience.
KGRX-LD has two other networks on subchannels.
One, on Channel 19.3, airs NewsMax2, a sister network of the news channel NewsMax. It airs documentaries, some historic and some religious. Channel 19.5 airs The Country Network, which features country music videos. The Country Network carries commercials.


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