One America News owner and founder Robert Herring Sr. took to his embattled channel’s airwaves this week to urge viewers to call other cable providers and beg them to carry OAN following satellite company DirecTV’s decision to drop the far-right network.
“I’m sure by now a lot of you have heard the news that AT&T and DirecTV have decided to take us off their service,” Herring said during the spot, which has run during OAN programs and was first flagged by Media Matters. “It was a major surprise to me when I read it in the news last Friday night, as I'm sure it was to you.”
Herring then brought up his long-running relationship with AT&T, the majority owner of DirecTV. Reuters reported last October that AT&T not only played an integral role in the creation of One America News in 2013 but has since kept the fact-free channel afloat through OAN’s contract with DirecTV.
“I have worked with AT&T in one capacity or another starting when I was 20 years old,” he stated. “I started out as a chauffeur, driving their executives around town; and later in life, this little news network that I built with my family and a small group of the hardest working individuals I know found its way into the AT&T channel lineup.”
The 80-year-old entrepreneur went on to blame DirecTV’s decision to rid itself of OAN this spring on AT&T’s recent change in leadership. (AT&T had faced public pressure from activists for months to drop the channel over its penchant for airing violent rhetoric and unhinged right-wing conspiracies.)
“In the past, we have worked with a man named John Stankey at AT&T, and we always appreciate the great working relationship we had with him,” he lamented. “But just recently, the new head of the board of AT&T, by the name of William Kennard, let us know that he and the rest of the board simply do not want to carry us anymore.”
During an on-air monologue earlier this week, OAN host Dan Ball called on viewers to call AT&T and “raise hell” and demand they keep his network. Furthermore, Ball also asked his audience to dig up “dirt” on Kennard so he could air it on his program.
“You bring me concrete evidence of whatever it may be: cheating on his taxes, cheating on his wife, saying racial slurs against white people,” the OAN star blared during his segment, unsubtly noting that Kennard is Black. “Whatever it may be. Find it for me!”
While Herring didn’t implore OAN fans to flood AT&T’s phone lines or provide him with salacious gossip about the company’s chairman, he did call on them to try to convince other carriers to air his channel.
“Now we don't know exactly what we are going to do yet. But don't worry, we have a lot of options,” he proclaimed. “We have always been and are still more than happy to talk to the cable providers throughout the country.”
Herring added, “We would also like to ask you, our viewers, to please reach out to the cable provider in your area—whether it's Spectrum, Dish, or any of the other great providers—and let them know that you would like for them to carry One America News. We only charge 10 cents per household per month. That is a great deal by any standard, given all of the amazing content our team puts out.”
The loss of DirecTV presents an existential crisis for One America News, as it provides the vast majority of the channel’s revenue and viewership. The network appears to only have two national carriers left: Verizon FiOS, which only makes OAN available to a few million American homes and is experiencing a decline in subscribers, and CenturyLink Prism, a struggling service that looks to be in its final days.