On Tuesday, TV writer Bob Thompson phoned Jim and Margery at the WGBH Boston Public Library studio to discuss the launch of the Black News Channel, America’s first 24-hour news channel created specifically with Black audiences in mind.
“It’s been in the making for quite some time,” Thompson explained.
The station is available to Spectrum TV subscribers and is currently offered in 15 cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and, yes, Boston.
The station’s founder, former Rep. J.C. Watts, said in a statement that "there’s nowhere on the news dial or the channel lineup of the 200-plus stations that you can go and get news and information from the African-American community. … We think we’re filling a niche for an underserved, underrepresented community and we think we’re the venue to give the African-American community a voice.”
"What would also be nice,” Thompson said, "is that if a channel like this was watched by people other than the African-American community. But that’s like expecting Fox News viewers to spend a little time on MSNBC, and vice versa."
Thompson is the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture and a Trustee Professor of Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.