The AfroSpear is all over this story about former Republican US Congressman JC Watts is launching a black news network in conjunction with Comcast. Now, JC and I don’t usually agree but I am one-thousand-percent behind the brother if he can pull this off. It’s been tried before and has crashed and burned.
Here’s the story:
Former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts and Comcast to launch black news network
By R. Thomas Umstead
(April 15, 2008) Washington D.C.-based Black Television News Channel (BTNC) announced Tuesday it has reached a multi-year carriage agreement with Comcast Cable for distribution in several of the MSO’s urban-based systems beginning in 2009.
The network, created by former U.S. congressman J.C. Watts Jr., will launch in 2009 and will provide original news programming with a distinctively African-American perspective, according to a network press release.
The network would be the first cable service to offer 24-hour news targeted to African-Americans. Prior attempts to launch a full-time news channel have failed, mostly due to the high cost of developing news. Neither African-American targeted Black Entertainment Television nor TV One offer daily news shows, instead relying on short news briefs throughout the day.
“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,” said Watts in a statement. “With this agreement, Comcast continues to demonstrate its commitment to working with independent programmers with diverse points of view.”
Comcast representatives could not be reached for comment at press time.
Hopefully, JC will keep it real and not pull a Robert Johnson and turn a black interest cable network into ignorance and softcore porn. Because for black snobs everywhere it is our dream to turn on the television and watch intelligent discussion on black culture, black issues, politics, the black diaspora, blacks in Europe and African issues. To be a shining beacon of blackness throughout the world.
Sometimes as black Americans we get so caught up in our own dramas that we forget that comparatively we have a better representation of ourselves in American culture. I can remember reading an article about blacks in France who were amazed that in the states blacks had their own universities and major businesses. We have a lot of issues we need to handle at home, but we shouldn’t forget other blacks abroad need to see a reflection of themselves on television as well. (So hire some black journalists worldwide, JC. Have a special international news segment. I’d watch it.)
But that’s my dream. Diverse, multi-faceted news with the voices of people of color telling the stories and giving some opinion. Now I don’t want to see this become a sort of Balkanized, ghetto news where it’s blacker than black 24/7. If major news is happening, Black News should be there. If there’s a huge story, Black News should cover it. We shouldn’t “segregate” our news coverage.
My fingers are crossed. And if it happens, I will be knocking on JC’s door with a resume and a headshot going, “I’m ready to get my news on!”