Black TV News

Is America ready for a 24-hour black cable news network?

Warning: getimagesize(): Filename cannot be empty in /home/blackenterprise/public_html/wp-content/themes/blackenterprise/single-standard.php on line 35

Cable and network television news programs have often been chided for their lack of adequate coverage of issues and topics most important to African Americans. That could soon change. Last week, Black Television News Channel (BTNC) announced plans to launch the nation’s first all-news cable network dedicated to the African American community. Based in Washington, D.C., BTNC is the creation of J.C. Watts, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. The launch is part of a multi-year carriage agreement with Comcast Cable. Distribution is expected to begin in early 2009 in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Baltimore.

A black cable news network will be a welcome addition to the media world. This is particularly the case given that BET cancelled BET Nightly News in 2005, replacing it with news briefs throughout the day. At the time, network brass cited a desire to meet the demands of its mostly 18- to 34-year-old demographic audience as the reason for the cancellation. Black-owned TV One also only offers news briefs throughout its programming schedule.

Steve Pruitt, a senior partner at BTNC, told Multichannel News, the industry trade, that BTNC will be formatted very much like CNN and the Fox News Channel as it relates to news and special programming. The difference, of course, will all be in the perspective. BTNC will bring news from an African American point of view. That means black people will not only be on-air talent but will be making the important behind-the scenes editorial decisions on what stories actually get covered.
With serious issues still facing black America–from unemployment to poverty to inadequate education to HIV and AIDS–and the prospect of an African American in the White House, a network solely focused on daily news content from a black perspective is a welcome reprieve from a black television landscape largely dedicated to entertainment.

African Americans watch more television than other ethnic groups, however according to Nielsen, TV is the only arena where solid, broad news representation of the black community has not been achieved in any meaningful way. Watts hopes to change that. “Our unique and vast content partnerships with African American newsmakers will provide our viewers live access to the stories and people in whom our viewers have a special interest,” he said in a statement.

But notwithstanding the nearly nonexistence of black television news, black people heavily engage in news matters of most interest to them. The presidential campaign and the Jena 6 controversy are two such examples. Last week’s debate between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton broadcast on ABC ranked third in black households for the period running from April 14-20, ranking only behind American Idol and Dancing With The Stars.

Further, the poignant and conscience-raising discussions on popular black radio shows like The Tom Joyner Morning Show and The Michael Baisden Show suggest that African Americans clearly want to hear about critical issues affecting their lives.

But is there an appetite for 24/7 television news? I’d bet my money there is. “Absolutely there’s an audience,” argues Alesia

Pages: 1 2
  • Rev. George Brooks

    A Black Television News channel that is owned and controlled by whites and Jews is NOT needed, and will NOT be accepted by many of us in the black communities across the nation. In fact, though far too late, my organization, family members and followers are planning to protest BET, Centric, and all other non-black media that are running ANYTHING that is focused on the black community, but not totally owned and controlled by black people. We will be picketing this particular station, specifically, and out in front of the residences of Debra Lee and other owners. But, unlike, other black groups that have attempting this, ours will not be a one-day protest, but will continue until changes are made. And we will be calling for a boycott of these channels also, as well as this Black Television News Channel by J.C. Watts. Which, too, is going to be controlled news for blacks. For no Jews or whites have any business having ANY degree of ownership or control of what black people see, say or do. And we intend to bring it to an end. — Rev. George Brooks of Murfreesboro, TN. (615) 494-9056. And we will see you all in Washington in the Spring, 2010.

  • Love this course!!!!  Succession planning was always key in corporate…thank you for reminding me that it applies to the small business owner as well!

  • Ransford

    Awesome information!  When I use to work for a management consultant firm, I learned than policies & procedures are key. You are so right in your accesment of continuing your business legacy as well as keepinf your financials in order.

  • Donna

    Thanks for the tips Lynnette,  not at the exiting stage, but will plan now for later.

    • Infinitehi4

      Lynnette this is an area few of us consider when setting up our businesses.  After listening to the video now I view a Succession Plan as important as my Estate Planning documents.  Valuable info and it keeps getting better and better.

  • Tanesha

    Succession planning is so important when looking to carry on the mission and vision of a company, and the maintaining of its brand! This is key information. Although the owner leaves a business, It should not drastically change the goals of vision of the company. Thank you so much for this valuable information!


  • Sandra Butler


  • Cathy Sims

    Thanks for the information!!! It has enable me to look and plan for my company’s business future. Now, I know that Poetic Chat can go on even when I have considered my retirement.  

  • Tettcommunitydevelopment

    I plan to work on my succession plan this week.  I’m still in the start up stage and I see now that it’s never to early to have this exit plan in place.

  • hummmm

  • natalie johnson

    I really like the idea of being open to “seeing” your competition as a potential for establishing legacy within your own company – CLEVER!

    • Rhonda Ulmer

      Me too Natalie! Something to think about . . . 

  • Bobby

    Make sure to provide your eventual successor a “clean glass of water”.

  • Rhonda Ulmer

    Thank you Ms. Lynnette for the wonderful advice! I know exiting our business is not something we want to imagine, however it’s something we need to plan for to ensure our business lives on. 

  • Cleaning up the financials! I have the reciepts but definately am getting started on the books.

  • Devonne

    I will start working on an exit strategy now, though I’m still in the start-up phase, the videos on exit strategy made me think about something that I had not thought about until now.

  • Janarthanan Dakshnamoorthy

    It is interesting to know that you have to consider your vendors when creating an exit strategy.