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.
J.C. Watts, Jr. is Black News Channel’s chairman and visionary. He is also chairman of the J.C. Watts Companies, a multi-industry holding company headquartered in Washington, DC, with operations in Texas and Oklahoma.
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.
Americans begin this new year with no Black-owned full-power TV stations. In 2008, there were 18 Black-owned and operated full-power TV stations, representing just 1.3 percent of all TV licenses. Today, all 18 stations are gone.
BLACK NEWS CHANNEL
Black News Channel's purpose is to be a news organization that gives voice to the varied experiences, issues, points-of-view, and priorities that matter to African Americans. BNC will not just tell a story, but the network will tell the entire story. The network will empower the black community and address the issues of the day in a way that is fresh, bright, and complete. BNC will offer real, responsive, reliable and relevant news coverage by and for African Americans.
As an innovative and life-changing network, BNC's mission is to provide intelligent programming that is informative, educational, inspiring and empowering to its African American audience.
BNC will operate as a 24/7 news channel and will launch this year to an estimated 33 million households—23 million satellite TV households and l 0 million cable TV households—in the top African American TV markets, including New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. To prepare, BNC’s management team began planning for the network in 2004 and conducted LIVE 18-month long on-air programming trials that were produced and distributed to eight million homes.
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. African Americans are the numerical majority in many of the top 50 markets for bundled cable TV and broadband services; own more digital (HDTV) sets; order more VOD services, and subscribe to more premium cable services than any other group. Yet, African Americans continue to be the most underserved and least represented viewing audience. Considerable research has been conducted over the past decade concerning the lack of African American cable programming and the legitimate cry for parity from within the African American community. BNC is stepping forward to answer this community outcry.
What makes BNC’s news different from existing cable news services, such as CNN, Fox News or MSNBC?
BNC is the only television news network with news programming gathered, written, and produced “by black people for black people.”
Existing broadcast and cable news networks select news stories and events that appeal to the broadest audience possible. BNC will provide coverage of events and activities of specific interest and cultural significance to African Americans.
BNC’s mission is to offer programming that will “inform, educate, inspire and empower the African American community.”
African Americans are very loyal to television programming that features black cast members or black journalists, as well as networks operated by black people.
BNC’s partnership with the Historical Black Colleges & Universities and the development of its state-of-the-art news headquarters and media training center will enable the network to train the next generation of aspiring journalists in advanced newsgathering and production technologies.
At launch, BNC will work to meet the following goals:
1. Give voice to an underserved community;
2. Build bridges to connect the many diverse cultures in our nation;
3. Facilitate a more informed national conversation about challenges facing our urban communities;
4. Engage black viewers in our nation’s social, economic and political discussions and debates;
5. Create a platform for black newsmakers and policymakers to reach their constituents;
6. Showcase African American achievers creating positive role models for black youth;
7. Produce educational programming that is culturally relevant and specific to black viewers;
8. Inspire black viewers with uplifting and spiritual messages produced daily;
9. Preserve a proud black American heritage; and
10. Recruit and train aspiring black journalists.