Black News Channel pushes back launch date to Black History Month | Daily Mail Online

Black News Channel pushes back its launch date for the second time and now aims to begin broadcasting during Black History Month to maximize audience

By Ariel Zilber For

Published: 21:23 EST, 5 January 2020 | Updated: 03:06 EST, 6 January 2020

A new 24-hour cable news channel aimed at an African American audience has once again delayed its launch - this time until Black History Month.

The Black News Channel, a new venture co-founded by former Republican Congressman JC Watts, was originally scheduled to go on the air on November 15.

The network then announced that it pushed back its launch date to January 6.

But now the channel is expected to be beamed into 70 million homes across the country starting on February 10.

‘Black History Month is an appropriate time to launch the Black News Channel,’ Bob Brillante, co-founder and CEO for BNC, announced in a press release last week.

‘We are committed to make sure that when our viewers tune in they are witness to a quality viewing experience.’

A new 24-hour cable news channel aimed at an African American audience, which is being launched by co-founders JC Watts (left) and Bob Brillante (right), has pushed back its premiere date to February 10

The Black News Channel was originally scheduled to go on the air in November, but it has twice changed its launch date

BNC said it wanted to wait with its premiere so that it could reach a wider and younger audience that gets its news from digital platforms including live streaming and mobile apps.

In announcing the first delay back in November, Watts told USA Today that the network wanted to attract millennial viewers, 98 per cent of whom have cell phones.

More than two-thirds of millennials use their mobile devices as their primary source of news.

Watts said BNC has already reached distribution deals with media giants like Comcast, Charter, and Dish Network.

‘Our technicians, crew and launch partners are working overtime to make sure that the additional pieces are in place to provide our African American audience with the programming that tells more of our story in a way that is not provided by current news outlets,’ Watts said.

‘We will make history together as we launch February 10, 2020 to more than 70 million homes and devices.’

BNC will be based out of Tallahassee, Florida.

Watts and Brillante, a longtime television executive, had initially planned to launch a media venture tailored to an African American audience more than a decade ago, but the recession of 2008 forced them to put off those plans.

The new venture will feature a lineup of award-winning journalists, including Laverne McGee (above)

‘There’s 200-plus stations, but there's nowhere you can get your remote and say, “I want to find something that is culturally specific to the African American community”,’ Watts said.

‘That’s not just in terms of current affairs, but that is wellness.

‘You won’t find any network today that talks about sickle cell (disease) and diabetes as it relates to the black community.’

The news channel announced its prime-time news anchors, including Fred Hickman, the former CNN host.

Hickman has most recently been seen on the airwaves in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The network will also feature two Emmy Award-winning journalists - Laverne McGee and Anthony Amey.

Watts is expected to host his own documentary-style show in which he travels across the country and interviews African Americans about their concerns.