Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communications is gearing up to launch their highly anticipated partnership with the Black Television News Channel. This will be the first news network in the country created for African-Americans.
The BTNC is one step closer to fruition. Wednesday’s announcement of a new agreement will allow the network to debut to over 14 major markets through the cable company, Charter Communications.
Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa, Dallas, Detroit, Charlotte, Boston, New Orleans, Orlando, Cleveland, Birmingham, Norfolk, and Raleigh-Durham are markets where audiences will be able to view the programs. The agreement with Charter Communications marks the network's third distribution deal with one of the country's four major cable providers.
The 24-hour Black-owned news network promises to be a large monetary investment for FAMU and the Tallahassee area.
“As we get closer to the launch date of this groundbreaking network, the University remains excited about the opportunity to play a key role in bolstering the nation’s African-American news offerings, reporting the cultural achievements of the African-American community and developing the next generation of minority journalists,” said FAMU’s Interim President Dr. Larry Robinson.
Contract stipulations linked back in 2014 specify that over the first three years of its tenure at FAMU, BTNC will pay the university $500,000 annually. In the seven years remaining, payments will be raised to $1 million per year.
According to SJGC Dean, Dr. Ann Wead Kimbrough, the launch of BTNC will heavily benefit students within the program.
“Our students will receive internship and job opportunities as a part of the BTNC collaboration,” said Kimbrough. “This unique opportunity affords our students cutting-edge training experiences that will provide advantages in a competitive marketplace.”
BTNC also promised to be economically beneficial to the Tallahassee area and North Florida region at large by planning to roughly hire 200 journalists and other staff positions. According to a study done by the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis, the network will bring an estimated $34 million to the region.
BTNC and FAMU will hold a ceremony on February 24th to announce the network's launch date.