|Photo: Florida A&M University Office of Communications|
Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication is expected to launch the first ever 24-hour Black news network in February 2018. Named the Black Television News Channel, the network is expected to bring in over 100 jobs, drawing in an average of $30 million annually.
On Friday, February 24th, FAMU hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony which included attendees such as FAMU alumnus and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who applauded the BTNC partners and owners former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. and former Tallahassee Mayor John Marks according to Tallahassee.com.
“For the first time, people will be able to tune into the Black Television News Channel and watch what is happening in America through another dimension and another story. Where else better for it to start than here at FAMU?,” said Rep. Al Lawson.
FAMU students are expected to benefit from the networks presence on campus with offerings in digital media, virtual reality, broadcasting and networking. In 2014, FAMU signed an 11-year agreement to serve as the headquarters of the BTNC.
“This partnership is not only unprecedented change, it’s game changing,” FAMU interim president Larry Robinson said. “I believe this partnership will be among those that will be chronicled in history in terms of allowing us to reach a larger spectrum of individuals to tell them more about their own culture and perspective that they can appreciate.”
The network will include distribution through DirecTV, Dish Network and Charter Communications.
It’s goal is to provide a platform similar to what Univision and Telemundo have created for the Hispanic community. “We talk about the unemployment rate for African American males being like 15%, but guess what, the employment rate is about 85%. You don’t hear from that perspective,” says Tallahassee Mayor John Marks.
BTNC estimates an audience of 33 million during its initial launch in February. It has one goal: To offer information, education and entertainment for an African American audience.