I love Baby Boy reruns as much as the next person, but I’ve wondered for years why BET completely abandoned their daily news programming. And with TV One’s decision to can Roland Martin’s News One Now in 2017, those of us eager for network news have had to sift though a deluge of nebulous coverage that far too often ignores our purview.
But according to the Pasadena Black Pages, that’s all about to change. Because come November, we’ll all be watching “intelligent programming that is informative, educational, inspiring and empowering to its African American audience” on the the 24-hour, appropriately-titled Black News Channel.
I’ll bring the snacks.
Black News Channel (BNC) will be a unique multi-platform news and information channel created for African Americans, subscription television’s most dynamic, high growth, and loyal consumers.
Despite the proliferation of basic and premium cable television channels during the past two decades, the number of cable news networks dedicated to serving the nation’s African American communities remains at ZERO! Black News Channel will be the nation’s first channel to fill this significant void and provide African America viewers news, information, and educational content focused on their interests and needs while tapping into subscription television’s most profitable market.
The mastermind behind this ambitious endeavor is chairman and visionary J.C. Watts, Jr. He’s a former GOP congressman whose previous endeavors include J.C. Watts Companies, a multi-industry holding company headquartered in Washington, D.C.; and Watts Partners, which works with clients to implement business development, communications, government relations and public affairs strategies. He’s also had a role as a corporate director for a number of major companies, including Dillard’s Department Stores, CSX Corporation and ITC Holdings.
BNC will launch to an estimated 33 million households—of which 23 million are satellite TV while the remaining 10 million are cable TV—in the top African American television markets, including New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
(Sorry, black people in Vermont—you’ll have to wait.)
To prepare for launch, BNC’s management team conducted live 18-month long on-air programming trials that were produced and distributed to eight million homes. Of additional note, this labor of love has been in the works since 2004.
BNC prides itself as being the only television news network with news programming that will be gathered, written, and produced “by black people for black people.” And to ensure its legacy carries on, BNC will partner with HBCUs to train the next generation of aspiring journalists.
So what can we all expect at launch? BNC lays out their game plan as such:
- Build bridges to connect the many diverse cultures in our nation
- Facilitate a more informed national conversation about challenges facing our urban communities
- Engage black viewers in our nation’s social, economic and political discussions and debates
- Create a platform for black newsmakers and policymakers to reach their constituents
- Showcase African American achievers creating positive role models for black youth
- Produce educational programming that is culturally relevant and specific to black viewers
- Inspire black viewers with uplifting and spiritual messages produced daily
- Preserve a proud black American heritage
- Recruit and train aspiring black journalists.
- Give voice to an underserved community
But November can’t come soon enough, and much like many of you, I’m excited to see what they have in store.