Byron Dobson Tallahassee Democrat
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Live from Tallahassee, Florida, it’s the “Black News Channel.”
After more than a decade of planning, securing investors and several false starts, the launch of the 24-hour national cable news channel targeting black viewers now is set for Feb. 10.
The network was hyped last year by a bevy of promotional appearances from California to New York.
Black News Channel is the brainchild of former Republican U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, who serves as chairman, and veteran television manager Bob Brillante as chief executive officer.
Watts and Brillante announced the launch in November 2018 and spent the better part of last year shoring up a management team, leasing space, hiring studio designers and on-air talent, and pouring millions of dollars into renovating and outfitting a location.
And while the ambitious vision has been greeted in the past with some skepticism, it got its biggest boost last October.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner and billionaire businessman Shahid “Shad” Khan announced that he’s the majority investor in the network, which promises to capture an audience hungry for news and information targeting black viewers.
“I believe there is an undeniable calling for everything the Black News Channel will deliver to African-American television audiences, who have historically been underserved,” Khan said in a news release. “My decision to invest is an easy one because we get to answer that calling.
“This is a chance for me to make an impact on 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.”
Brillante said Khan and his family have been “working” with the management team for the past two years. The New York Post has reported Khan’s investment as “exceeding $25 million.”
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