It’s been six years in the making. Florida is getting its long-awaited 24-hour, black-owned cable news channel named “Black Television News Channel.” (Pretty straightforward.) Thanks to a donation from SONY, BTNC — equipped with everything a network operation would need — is set to be headquartered at Florida A&M University (FAMU) campus.
This all started with just a light bulb over J.C. Watts’ head back in 2008. Now in 2014, the former Oklahoma US representative can finally see his plans materialize into reality.
“We’re excited to be among the energy of the youth on this campus. Thank you to the FAMU family for embracing us and the idea of a 24-hour news channel that is culturally specific,” said Watts. “The world only gets a sliver of who the black community is today. We look forward to telling that story.”
FAMU inked an 11-year deal with BTNC that will kick off a $10 million construction of a “state-of-the-art, multi-platform, 24-hour broadcast facility” in the institution’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, TheFamuanOnline reports. The 24-hour news channel will reportedly inject $33.6 million into the economy and provide 117 jobs for journalists with a sweet salary of $109,000 per year, the BTNC site adds.
“At a time when jobs are shrinking and there is change in the multimedia market, the Black Television News Channel is a job creator. This partnership is an educational administrator’s dream,” said Dr. Larry Robinson, FAMU’s interim president.
The partnership will also allow access to FAMU students and faculty members for internships, mentorships, and job placement opportunities with BTNC.
BTNC promises to generate $500,000 in revenue annually, Philly.com said. Throughout the length of the contract, FAMU expects to reel in $8.5 million.
With the support of Dish Network, Direct TV, and Comcast, the network is expected to air by early 2015.