There was a time when BET was the only game in town. Now there are African-American targeted networks popping up with greater frquency—TVOne, Bounce—and another is on the way. The Soul of the South Network will debut Memorial Day weekend. And it has major investment behind it.
It will be a 24-hour regional broadcast network targeting African-American viewers in the South and key Northern and Midwest “sister cities,” reports Target Market News. Initially Soul of the South will launch in 30 markets on May 27. The new network has a $10 million investment from a group of institutional investors and individuals including the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas Capital Corporation, along with individuals from the private sector in sports, business, and entertainment.
Judge Richard Mays, former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice and civil rights attorney, will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors; media and advertising expert Edwin V. Avent, will act as Chief Executive Officer and angel investor; and Mississippi farmer Matthew J. Gruber, will serve as Vice Chairman of the Board.
“We are anxious to provide national television audiences with a platform with which to celebrate and honor the culture of the south, especially African-Americans,” said Mays in a press statement.
Headquartered in Little Rock, Soul of the South Network expects to reach 30 to 40 million households by late summer 2013 and will feature a lineup of Southern focused African-American programming, and local and national news, with an emphasis on the cultural attributes and lifestyles of the South. It will also broadcast a mix of off-network syndication, feature films, court shows, variety and music based programming, all with a Southern focus.
“Soul of the South will be broadcast television with a distinctly southern accent,” said filmmaker Doug McHenry, who will be president of Entertainment for the network. “There are many prominent African-Americans who hail from the South and we plan to involve them as integral parts of our programming strategy. This is an important content component of Soul of the South and we are proud to give voice to these talented Americans.”
The network is also upping its technology game. “Our proprietary distribution technology… has been updated with cloud-based servers that can provide custom feeds and operate up to 100 stations simultaneously from our Little Rock location,” explained COO Larry Morton.
Will you be tuning in to this new Southern style network?