February 11, 2003

While Bob Johnson Shucks & Jives

News Channel Aims to Fill BET Void

A Florida lawyer and cable television entrepreneur plans to launch a 24-hour news-and-talk channel aimed at black viewers, hoping to grab the niche abandoned by Black Entertainment Television, which recently dropped most news programming.

Let's hope that MBC will do a much better job (given BET's legacy record, that should be extremely easy).

Posted by ronn at February 11, 2003 04:19 PM

the sad thing is that this won't work. black folks don't believe the news. we will not watch it for 24 hours-a-day. back to my comment about what is happening in literature...we want entertainment. look at what movies we attend, what music we buy, what books we read. 24-hour videos...yes. 24 hour news...no. the news is like propaganda to us...it's the man's view...even if it's an all black newscenter. and usually that news center is filled with folks who don't even seem like "real" black folks. hopefully the company that plans on doing this has a fat bank roll 'cuz advertisers aren't going to bite. i once remember hearing a quote when i was a young girl, and i hated to believe it, but it went something like this, "if you want to hide anything from black folks, put it in the newspaper." sad to say, when i'm on the train in NYC, a good portion of white folks are reading and a good portion of black folks are listening to their music. the black folks that are reading, well, they are reading zane novels and the ny post and the daily news. not down on my people...don't get me wrong. and i know this post is mad long...but i'm saying all of this to say that i really don't think a 24-hour news cast aimed at black folks will work. i mean how many folks watched the BET news anyway? folks watched tavis, and then some stuck around to watch ed. aight, i'm ghost. Posted by: lynne on February 12, 2003 10:58 AM
Lynne, I feel you. But I think BET set a very, very poor example. Even when Tavis was the host of their most popular/watched news program, it left a lot to be desired. Many of the guests were unknowns, there were too many stale topics and the hour was a pretty lame one. If MBC or the partnership between Radio One and Comcast can attract more viewers and provide a better outlet for news vital to African Americans, I will support it. I do know that Bob Johnson is like cancer: his ass needs to be gone. Posted by: ronn on February 12, 2003 03:49 PM
Oh I would support it too. Any effort such as this, don't get me wrong. But will the masses of black folks support it? Perhaps I am being too hard. But I really think that the majority of black folks either go the christianity route or the entertainment route. Information, I still don't know. I mean a few years ago, I was right behind all the cable networks that blacks were launching. But they couldn't get the money they needed to sustain their vision or biz plan. Advertisers did not believe in them enough. And my argument then was that folks wanted a range of content, and not limited content. Also why I think interactive TV won't work for black folks yet, b/c the programming won't be there. I don't believe in a monolithic blackness, as it seems I am putting out there. I believe there are a range of folks of color who want a range of information, even if it ends up being infotainment. I hear you. I am not challenging. I just sometimes play devil's advocate as I try to analyze things from every angle. When the powers that be feed us content, just look at radio, it isn't always what we want, but what they think we want. And this often happens with other forms of media, even when black folks own it. Posted by: lynne on February 12, 2003 10:33 PM
Lynne, I believe given the right mix of types of news programs (straight news, political news, entertainment news, etc.), MBC and Radio One/Comcast may be able to attract and sustain a large enough audience to be profitable and good. BET got over because it was the only one. Just like Terry McMillan when supposedly she was the only Black writer with a large following. White corporate America likes to pigeon-hole various communities as being a certain way. Intelligent people know that is false. There are segments within the Black community that will like the idea, there will be segments that won't ever hear of it. But the main thing is to try and try hard enough to succeed. It's the same with the Black press. Many papers exist solely on their past. That needs to change. I'll try to write something about it within the next few days because I hate writing long ass comments (esp. at my own site) Posted by: ronn on February 13, 2003 12:03 PM
this is good dialogue though, no? i hate the long ass comments too. don't want it to look like i'm ranting. :-) perhpas next time, i'll send you an email. Posted by: lynne on February 14, 2003 11:48 AM