Could This Be The Resurrection of Black Television Programming? ‘Black News Channel’ to Launch in November

Published on April 20, 2019

When it comes to content designed for an African American audience, there are few media outlets that focus its efforts on fulfilling this mission. Come November, ‘Black News Channel’ (BNC) will launch, providing its African-American audience with 24/7 news coverage.

BET Network

BET used to be well-known for its black programming, with regular scheduled reruns of some of our favorite black classics like Love Jones and Baby Boy, among others. In addition to popular black films and shows like 106 n Park with AJ and Free, you can’t forget Jeff Johnson as the face of black news on BET.

TV One

For some reason, TV One canned its news segment headed by Roland Martin, resulting in a major gap between black viewers and news stories that focus primarily on its growing population and more diverse coverage of black communities nationwide.

Arguably, these events have led to the absence of television networks that focus on black programming entirely. Of course, due to the emergence of blogs and other online media platforms, the African American community is fed with daily news about important issues that matter but there has been a void in black television news.

Black News Channel Makes Its Debut

J.C. Watts, former U.S. Congressman (OK-R)

To fill this void, chairman and co-founder, J.C. Watts, who is also chairman of the J.C. Watts Companies and a former U.S. Congressman for Oklahoma, along with CEO and co-founder Bob Brillante, will lead the efforts of Black News Channel (BNC), a 24-hour independent television network dedicated to “intelligent, educational, inspiring, and empowering programming to its African American audience.”

The announcement about this new venture quickly surfaced the internet, which BNC  describes to be “one of a kind,” and “the nation’s only provider of 24/7 cable news programming, created ‘by people of color, for people of color.'”

The independent network, “minority-owned and operated,” will be produced and written by African American media professionals and industry leadersfor a black audience, while training the next generation of black journalists by partnering with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Visionaries behind the platform also recognized the unbalanced approach to news coverage in black communities, oftentimes disseminating a majority of crime-related stories and an overwhelmingly negative portrayal of the culture.

Televising With Purpose

To help bring more balance and diversity, here are some of the objectives BNC has laid out:

  • 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 news-makers and policymakers to reach their constituents

Creating this media outlet took time and preparation behind the scenes, and according to its website, BNC’s core team went the extra mile by conducting live 18-month on-air programming trials that were produced and distributed to eight million households.

Illustrated on BNC’s website, “African-Americans are the nation’s most loyal users of subscription television services, and one of the fastest growing groups of broadband online service subscribers.”

Furthermore, coming late November, BNC plans to launch to an estimated 33 million households in the top TV markets including New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

Great news for aspiring journalists looking for career opportunities, as BNC is in the process of hiring!

For more information about the network, visit their website. Let’s see what’s in store for reviving black news.

Ike (Issac) Morgan is a Columnist at Grit Daily. A 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, Issac Morgan wears many hats as a freelance journalist with published clips in numerous notable media outlets such as Sheen magazine, The Jasmine Brand, and Celebrity Net Worth. He has provided exclusive coverage on celebrity/public figures featured in many top publications for print and online platforms. Morgan is also a media relations/publicity consultant, delivering consistent media coverage and placement for a diverse clientele in entertainment, fitness, fashion and for nonprofits. His most recognizable publicity efforts have been for Christopher "Play" Martin of Kid 'n Play where he established press coverage for his forthcoming documentary film "AndiDanced." Mr. Morgan gives insight into pop culture, entertainment, and politics.

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