BY SERRELL ROLLINS, Guest Writer
TALLAHASSEE — What started off as an idea of former Congressman J.C. Watts has finally come to fruition. The all-new Black Television Network Channel (BTNC) has made its home at the famed HBCU, Florida A&M University (FAMU). BTNC will be a unique 24-hour, multi-platform news and information channel targeting African-American television viewers.
“The initial purpose behind the Black Television Network Channel was to provide the African-American community with a inspirational and educational television selection, that would offer a pro-family message,” said Watts. “Headquartering the network at FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, adds on to the overall educational aspect of the network.”
FAMU board of trustees inked an 11-year partnership with Watts to house and to help produce the 24-hour news channel. The network will provide over 200 full and part-time jobs to students and journalism professionals and will not cost FAMU a dime. The network will be funded through Enterprise Florida, the State of Florida’s Development Arm and private investors.
“This is an exciting time for the students here at FAMU School of Journalism. The opportunities and possibilities that will come from BTNC will make our journalism program top notch,” said FAMU Broadcast Journalism student, Kyson Clark. And top notch it will be. FAMU is the first and only University to have a news network that will be carried on Comcast, Direct TV and Dish Network. Supports are nicknaming the 24-hour network, the black CNN.
“I never pictured a black news network, I mean of course you have your networks like BET and OWN. But the BTNC is going to be the black CNN,” said FAMU alumna, Kathy Burgess.
The BTNC is scheduled to officially launch August 2015. Carriers include: Comcast, Direct TV and Dish Network.