In the Know: Black News Channel shuts down

BNC was founded by former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts and longtime TV executive Bob Brillante.  After years of planning, the network debuted in 2020 after billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid "Shad" Khan signed on as a partner.

Black News Channel is the fastest-growing news network and the only provider of 24/7 web-enabled programming dedicated to covering the isolated position, challenges, and successes of Black and Brown communities. For far too long, people of color have been overlooked and underserved by the news media. 

BNC was founded by former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts and longtime TV executive Bob Brillante.  After years of planning, the network debuted in 2020 after billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid “Shad” Khan signed on as a partner.

The end for BNC was reported just hours after the company was celebrating success with the Supreme Court nomination hearings. This channel’s closure includes delayed payments and even layoffs in December and Thursday last week before it was reported closed. The Black News Channel reported has a staff of 230, and some current and former employees had previously filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the network that remains pending.

According to the people briefed on the matter, the media reported that Khan would no longer invest in the operations of BNC after shopping the channel to several media companies, including Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios. Before the reports, Roland Martin broke the information that BNC failed to pay its employees this week. Martin, the host of “Roland Martin Unfiltered” and the Black Star Network owner, tweeted a memo written by BNC Human Resources Vice President Nicole Collins.

The memo, dated Friday, informed the staff that payroll “would be delayed.” We are actively working to resolve this matter quickly and will advise you with an update as soon as possible,” Collins wrote. The staff “are angry and demanding answers,” Martin tweeted.  The high percentage of cable programmers companies and the wages of cord-cutting continue to make life difficult in those companies.

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