The first 24-hour cable news network ‘by black people, for black people’ began broadcasting Monday
The Black News Channel, an around-the-clock national news network with nearly exclusive African American anchors and executive leadership, began broadcasting Monday in select markets across the United States.
TV viewers now have an option to CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
BNC is the first 24-hour news network “by black people, for black people, dedicated to the unique perspective of African American communities,” according to a statement on the company’s website.
Launch day is here!
Join Rarione Maniece & Lauren McCoy live for BNC Morning Edition 6am-9am & 10am for Being A Woman. Only on The Black News Channel! #Bnc #BlackNews #TheBlackNewsChannel pic.twitter.com/LhI2BkwYHr
— BNC (@BlackNewsC) February 10, 2020
BNC, co-founded by former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, is initially only expected to reach 33 million households in markets with sizable African American populations such as New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, according to The Hill.
The channel is available on Charter/Spectrum, Xfinity X-1 and Dish networks, and will later be added to Sling and Roku, reports said.
The company’s goal, though, is to ultimately reach 100 million households.
“Today, information is so targeted to groups,” Watts said in an interview with National Public Radio, according to reports. “Every demographic out there has a venue that they can access for news information, culture, wellness, etc. Except for the African American community.”
The channel’s programs will include traditional morning and prime-time news shows plus additional programming focused on issues that impact African Americans, including health, women, culture, history and weather, according to Bob Brillante, a veteran television manager who serves as BNC’s chief executive officer.
Watts and Brillante announced the launch in November 2018 after more than a decade of planning, hiring and securing headquarters for the network in Tallahassee, Florida.
“I think there needs to be a more comprehensive story told about the African American community, and we’ll have a venue to do that,” Watts said to NPR. “We’re not looking to be liberal or conservative. We want to provide a venue for African Americans to have a voice, to be a part of the dialogue that’s going on in the country, be it incarceration reform or impeachment.”
Today, February 10th, 2020 will go down as one of the most monumental and historic days in our history, as the Black News Channel officially debuted to homes all over the country. Anchor Venise Toussaint takes us back through the events of todays historic celebration. #BNC pic.twitter.com/6n6WYDnJdo
— BNC (@BlackNewsC) February 11, 2020
BNC will gather its news through a partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which comprises more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers across the country that will serve as local-level bureaus for the network.
The network also plans to work with several historically black colleges and journalism schools to offer students hands-on training.
Among the channel’s cast of on-air personalities are former Fox News anchor and reporter Kelly Wright, former CNN and TBS host Fred Hickman, libertarian radio host Larry Elder, former Fox 44 anchor Lauren McCoy and former Central Florida TV journalist Laverne McGee.
Well, what can I say… we did it y’all! Black News Channel is officially live, and I’m so thankful to be a part of history. Big shoutout to everyone who helped make this happen! This is just the beginning 😊 pic.twitter.com/L7SdMfjJY6
— Lauren McCoy (@Lauren_BNC) February 10, 2020
McCoy and Rarione Maniece are the morning co-anchors from 6 to 9 a.m. McGee and Hickman are the network’s prime-time anchors from 7 to 10 p.m.
Watts said BNC will seek to target the “image gap” and black stereotypes depicted in the media.
“MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, they may have African American faces on their news shows, but they are not necessarily covering the community from a cultural perspective,” he said.
Reports say the network plans to bring bureaus to Atlanta, Washington and New York.
The company has about 65 employees.
SOURCE: ArLuther Lee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution