Black News Channel returns thanks to media mogul Byron Allen

Black News Channel gets a second chance to shine thanks to Byron Allen Source: Paras Griffin/Getty

JBlack News Channel’s abrupt end surprised viewers and staff alike. But the news network will get a second chance under media mogul Byron Allen.

A federal bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Black News Channel to Allen Media Group for $11 million after billionaire Jacksonville Jaguar owner Shahid Khan shuttered the network. According to a statement, Allen intends to grow Black News Channel’s viewership from 45 million linear subscribers to 80 million linear subscribers over the next six months.

“We are delighted to have been selected to acquire Black News Channel, which has approximately 300 million linear and digital subscribers,” said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Allen Media Group. “Allen Media Group will provide a premier network to serve the underserved African American community and advertisers who want to reach this extremely valuable audience. Additionally, we appreciate the opportunity to offer cable operators, satellite companies , telecommunications operators and digital platforms a diversity of ownership, voices and points of view on their programming by having a 100% African-American owned network.

The National Association of Black Journalists praised Allen “for stepping up to the plate.” NABJ has previously intervened on a few points on behalf of Black News Channel employees. Between reports of the outlet’s financial troubles and allegations of harassment and racial discrimination, employees have endured a lot during the network’s short tenure.

Allen has amassed an impressive media portfolio through Allen Media Group and Entertainment Studios Networks, including The Weather Channel, Grio and Grio.TV, Sports.TV and HBCUGO.TV. He’s sure to succeed where the Khan-backed venture has failed, given decades of black media experience. In addition to the streaming platforms, Allen Media Group acquired 27 network-affiliated broadcast stations in 21 U.S. markets.

Under Allen’s leadership, Black News Channel will be owned by Black, a critic of those who question Khan’s commitment to a black news network. When the channel halted production in March, it had reached its highest viewership since its launch in 2020.

More black-centric political news and analysis is a good thing. Black News Channel provided space for a wider range of black voices, some already well established in mainstream media spaces and others with key perspectives representative of the black experience.

In March, we asked what it might look like if black outlets and talent were invested at the same rate as disinformation networks like One America News Network, which enjoyed a prime deal with DirectTV before being abandoned. Hopefully we will see a positive rate of return on Allen’s investment.

In an interview with Cablefax, Allen said the cable industry as a whole also had a second chance, noting the importance of supporting the network with subscription fees (secondary fees). And if anyone knows about racial discrimination in cable subscription fees, it’s Byron Allen.

“If you really want something to succeed and you don’t want to find it bankrupt, and they’re slipping 300 black journalists,” Allen told Cablefax. “That’s why I’ve already sued the cable industry for $40 billion. Are you serious? You’ll pay $1-2 for other cable networks, but zero for the Black channel news?”

Allen said the cable industry must step up and provide true economic inclusion and sponsorships for the network to thrive.

“We made the investment. We buy it, we have the infrastructure,” Allen said. “We just need the industry to say now, ‘You know what? It was not our intention. Let’s get in here and really do the right thing because we’re better than that.


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