Black Entertainment Television, better known as BET. I think at one time, this network was relevant. However, I can't recall exactly when that was. Maybe it was back when Joe Clair was hosting Rap City, or when Dajour and Ananda Lewis hosted Teen Summit. Either way, I can't stand the network. BET does not represent me. Nor does it uplift our youth or teach them anything. If you're bored, College Hill might keep your attention...or there's always Hell Date! Now that's quality television programming!
Here's the good news: The Black Television News Channel (BTNC) has announced plans to start up the nation's first 24-hour cable news network dedicated to the African American community. It's expected to begin in 2009, and will be offered in Philly, D.C, Atlanta, and Baltimore. No love for the West coast I see...but I guess they are trying it out in areas heavily populated with "us" first to see how it is received.
The mastermind behind the BTNC is J.C Watts, a former republican congressman from Oklahoma.
I think BTNC will be welcomed, because it fulfills a certain niche that has yet to be tapped. For those of you who remember, the only news programming BET ever offered was BET Nightly News with Jacque Reid. Now while Miss Reid is a Clark Atlanta University grad, a diva of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, a former CNN news anchor, and gorgeous to say the least - the show was pretty irrelevant. It came on at 11pm and the presentation was simply not appealing. For lack of a better term it looked "BOOTLEG!" Even though the black-owned TV One boasts a substantially better television programming lineup than BET, it still only offers small news briefs throughout the day - which doesn't suffice.
BTNC's move comes right on time. With Senator Barack Obama vying for the title of President in the White house, 24-hour coverage will be essential. Owners of BTNC say it's formatting will mirror the like of CNN and Fox News Channel, but will hold a different point of view. This means not only will there be Black on-air talent, but there will also be talented Black producers, directors, and editors making magic behind the scenes. Let's just hope they pay better than BET! Word has it that I could make more working at 7-Eleven! I'm just saying...
It's a known fact that African Americans exponentially make up the majority of TV watchers. However, news is the one arena where we are underrepresented. It's not that Black folks don't engage in seeking out news, it's just many times the "majority" tend to only pay attention to news that affects them. For example, the Jena 6 movement where everyone wore black for a day, or the presidential debates.
I'm not sure who they plan on recruiting as anchors and reporters for the network, but standby...
My resume is a send button away. ;)
I hear Michael Baisden is also interested in BTNC's effort. Michael Baisden is popular for his self-titled radio show: The Michael Baisden show. His ultimate goal is to host his own late night show. Baisden has not only become a familiar voice on the radio, but he's also a political activist too. I wouldn't mind seeing him do his thing on the TV side. Plus, he'd have a good following that would draw people to tune into the network. Name/face recognition goes a long way.
I look forward to seeing where J.C Watts' vision for the network goes.