In less than a month, more than 33 million households will have access to 24/7 programming gathered, written and produced “by Black people for Black people.”
Black News Channel debuts on Nov. 15 after more than a decade in the making. The Tallahassee, Florida-based network is the brainchild of J.C. Watts, Jr., a former Republican congressman and star quarterback for the University of Oklahoma in the 1980s. BNC will be the nation’s only 24-hour news network aimed at Black viewers.
“African Americans have been asking for this kind of programming that will give them a voice in the national conversation about issues that matter,” Watts said in a statement earlier this year. He’ll serve as chairman of the network and host a weekly one-hour talk show featuring political newsmakers.
It’s no small feat to sustain a TV network, so having Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan as a major investor is a promising sign. Associated Press reported that Khan didn’t share how much he initially invested, but he said that “it would be enough to keep the network running for a long time.”
In a statement earlier this month, the estimated $8 billion mogul said that partnering with BNC is a chance to impact “how African Americans report and consume news and related programming, how their voices are amplified and heard, and how all of us can better connect socially, culturally, economically and more.”
Original programming will include traditionally anchored newscasts with influential journalists like Byron Pitts, therefore filling a void left after cancellations of shows like “BET Nightly News” and TV One’s “News One Now” hosted by Roland Martin.
There will also be a major focus on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Weekly programs will highlight sports, student life and culture on HBCU campuses. Further, the network will partner with the schools to train the next generation of aspiring journalists.
BNC will launch through distribution satellite and TV cable deals with Charter Communications, Comcast and DISH, with a rollout including top African American TV markets like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. (No specific mention of Charlotte, but according to Nielsen, the Queen City ranked No. 14 in TV markets for Black households.) Beyond Tallahassee, BNC will have bureaus around the country.
For more information about Black News Channel, visit blacknewschannel.com.
Katrina Louis is managing editor of qcitymetro.com who can always find something to do in Charlotte. She’s an offline hustler (and has the shirt to prove it) but when online, find her on Instagram and Twitter.