AP Auto Racing Writer
(AP) - Randy Bernard is returning to his roots after three years with IndyCar, accepting a job as CEO of cable channel RFD-TV.
Rural Media Group announced the hiring Friday, and Bernard was already in Las Vegas for meetings at the National Rodeo Finals. He spent 15 years with the Professional Bull Riders organization before joining IndyCar as CEO in 2010.
Bernard met with RMG founder Patrick Gottsch at company headquarters in Omaha, Neb., last week and its offices in Nashville before accepting the job.
"The rural lifestyle has always been an important part of my culture and I am excited for the opportunity Patrick has given me with RFD-TV and RURAL TV," he said. "The solid foundation, profitable operations, and talented management team in place at RMG is very attractive to me. This entity has unlimited upside, and I look forward to contributing and growing this business to its full potential."
Bernard's time with IndyCar came to an end Oct. 28 when he was voted out in an emergency meeting of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway board of directors. His ouster was characterized as a "mutual separation" and IndyCar management has never given a solid explanation as to why fan favorite Bernard was fired.
He has not commented publicly on his split with IndyCar.
RFD-TV was launched in 2000 as a lifestyle network with programming emphasizing agriculture, country music and entertainment. Rural Media launched sibling network Rural TV in February and acquired FamilyNet in September. The three networks together are distributed to over 61 million homes worldwide.
"Randy is absolutely the right person, at the right time, to lead our new management team and take this venture to a whole new level, and beyond," said Gottsch. "I've had the good fortune of knowing Randy for several years now, and I admire his vision, creativity, and work ethic, which will serve RMG well as we strive to better serve rural America, our viewers, and this network's sponsors and advertisers."
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