The Black News Channel, a new and original 24/7 news network created to serve African American viewers, will go live in the new year.
The BNC had originally planned to launch on Nov. 15 but pushed back its premiere to take advantage of fast-moving digital delivery platforms, the network announced Wednesday. Those carriers include wireless cellular services and streaming video services that offer live linear programming.
According to USA Today, the network expects to reach agreements that would more than triple its audience size, beyond its originally estimated 33 million cable TV and satellite households in top African American TV markets, including New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. The news service has already secured carriage deals from Comcast, Charter and Dish Network.
J.C. Watts, the co-founder of BNC, is also a former Republican U.S. congressman from Oklahoma who served as a CNN political commentator and president of Feed the Children. Watts had been developing plans for a minority-owned and -operated network for more than a decade but said the financial crisis of 2008 was one major hurdle that required postponing the plans.
“There’s 200-plus stations, but there’s nowhere you can get your remote and say, ‘I want to find something that is culturally specific to the African American community,’ ” Watts said. “That’s not just in terms of current affairs, but that is wellness. You won’t find any network today that talks about sickle cell (disease) and diabetes as it relates to the black community.”
Watts said the now scheduled January 6, 2020 launch will give the network more time to be available to more viewers, a strategy he called “good business sense.”