Several hours before the final presidential debate on Wednesday, Donald Trump told his supporters on social media to tune into his Facebook, teasing “live event coverage.”
Users who visited Trump’s page at 8:30 found a livestream hosted by two Trump advisors, Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims broadcast by Right Side Broadcasting Network, a website best known for its YouTube channel, which has hosted streams of most Trump rallies and public appearances since July 2015
Over the next several hours before and after the debate, the two hosts interviewed a parade of Trump surrogates, including Eric Trump and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
The livestream immediately stoked ongoing speculation about whether Trump will launch his own television network if he loses the presidential election, a rumour fuelled by his son in law Jared Kushner’s meeting earlier this year with an investment firm that has backed media startups.
BuzzFeed declared that the livestream “may have been the inaugural broadcast of a forthcoming Trump News Network,” while Politico asked “Did Trump just launch Trump TV?”
Some observers remarked that RSBN, which is already sympathetic to Trump, may collaborate with the real-estate mogul on the network’s launch.
So, Trump’s official Facebook page is running a live stream from something called “Right Side Broadcasting”. Trump TV preview? pic.twitter.com/BlUE4TydfA
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) October 20, 2016
But while the format of the show may resemble a potential future media venture, Right Side Broadcasting probably won’t be the vehicle for that venture.
RSBN CEO Joe Seales told Business Insider on Thursday that the speculation about the network becoming Trump’s potential television venture was unfounded.
“All of the media now apparently thinks we are going to become Trump TV?! That’s just crazy (and not true by the way)!” Seales wrote in an email.
Seales said that he thought the broadcast “went ok” considering the Trump campaign reached out to his team less than two days before the debate to arrange a counter-broadcast to traditional cable pre-and post show panels.
“They called us out of the blue and asked if we could do it, so I flew two guys out there at the last minute,” Seales said.
He added: “Had some issues with audio and a few hiccups here and there but overall they were very pleased.”
The broadcast marks one of the more direct collaborations between the Trump campaign and RSBN.
Pastor Mark Burns, a campaign surrogate who introduced Trump on numerous occasions during the Republican presidential primary, anchors a regular video show on the network. And Seales told Business Insider earlier this year that Trump “watches the network a lot” on his plane, and appreciated that the network’s camera operators showed the size of the Republican presidential nominee’s crowds, which Trump frequently demands of other media outlets broadcasting his rallies.
Despite its skeleton crew, RSBN has racked up a number of dedicated viewers, with over 2 million hits on its most popular videos. RSBN has over 210,000 subscribers on YouTube. MSNBC, by comparison, has 202,000 subscribers.
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