Media mogul Byron Allen has just purchased the cable news channel Black News Channel, which shut down on March 31. The channel was founded in 2020 by former GOP Congressman Rep. J.C. Watts and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
Allen’s Allen Media Group is acquiring “substantially all” of BNC’s assets for $11 million, with a bankruptcy court in Tallahassee, Florida, formally signing off on the sale, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Here are three things to know.
On March 25, BNC informed its 230 employees in a memo that the news network was ceasing live production and would file for bankruptcy. Then came word that the employees would not get paid their final checks.
The company said it would not be able to pay workers for the week of March 19-25 as previously promised.
While BNC is available in about 45 million homes through companies like Comcast, Charter, and DirecTV, Allen announced his company plans to grow that distribution to about 80 million homes in the next six months.
Allen says his company “will deliver a best-in-class network to serve the underserved African American community and the advertisers who want to reach this extremely valuable audience.
“Also, we appreciate the opportunity to provide cable operators, satellite companies, telcos, and digital platforms diversity of ownership, voices, and viewpoints on their programming lineups by having a 100 percent African-American-owned network,” he added.
AMG owns The Weather Channel, 27 local TV stations in 21 markets, and digital brands like The Grio and Comedy.TV.
According to Allen, the advertising community also failed to support Black News Channel with ad dollars being less than $2 million for an entire year, Cable Fax reported.
“It’s a bad mark on us as a country that the Black News Channel didn’t get enough support to have diversity in ownership, diversity in voices, and diversity of viewpoints,” he said. “Alright, cable industry, you’ve got one more chance at that. Alright, ad community, you’ve got one more chance at that. So we’re going to work closely with folks to let them show the world who they really are.”
Photo: Byron Allen speaks during a ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 20, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)