BNC’S FCC Waiver Request

What Is It And Why Does It Matter?

Black News Channel will air on satellite TV, as well as cable TV. On satellite TV, BNC will have a lower channel number and live in a space called the Public Interest Tier of Programming. The great news is BNC will be available to more than 30 million satellite TV customers, even if they only pay for a basic package. Years ago, the U.S. Congress created the Public Interest Tier of Programming to encourage companies to make television programming that is both informative and educational for the underserved—or minority—communities. It’s important that BNC is available in this Public Interest space because it lets the network reach everyone, both those viewers in lightly populated rural areas and large, over-crowded big cities. This way, no one will be left out of what’s happening in America anymore.

Unfortunately, the Public Interest Tier of Programming does not typically allow traditional advertising on its channel lineup. It is hard for any program network to create quality video without money from advertisers. So, BNC is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a waiver, or exemption, from this restriction so the network can sell a limited amount of traditional advertising in order to create quality video and represent black Americans with the level of excellence they deserve.

Helping us get the waiver is where you come in. We need you to contact the FCC Chairman—Chairman Pai—using the box below and tell him it is important to YOU that BNC receive a waiver allowing the network to sell limited advertising in the Public Interest Tier of Programming. You can send the same message to your Congressman by clicking here. So go ahead. It’s your turn to be heard.

FCC Waiver By The Numbers

  • BNC has requested a 3-year temporary waiver of DBS Public Interest prohibition against commercial advertising.
  • BNC wants to sell 6 minutes of commercial advertising inventory per hour (less than ½ of the traditional cable TV network advertising availabilities.
  • BNC will offer 2 minutes per hour of promotional airtime dedicated to the promotion of Historical Black Colleges & Universities and the National Association of Black Journalist training services, activities, and events.
  • BNC promises 14 hours of original programming produced daily to educate, inform, inspire, and empower its African American audience.
  • BNC will generate an economic stimulus equal to $33.6 million yearly on the campus of Florida A&M University and in the local community of Tallahassee, Florida. (Source: FSU Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis economic impact study, 2013)
  • BNC will create more than 100 jobs in Florida, paying 150% of the host community’s average MSA (news anchors, journalists, writers, producers, production staff, engineers, broadcast advertising account executives, etc.).
  • BNC will dedicate more than $10 million yearly to promote HBCU/NAJB training services, activities, and events.
  • BNC will offer at least 10 new mentorship programs and internships, as well as career opportunities for aspiring black journalists.
  • Countless letters of support have been provided to the FCC from black journalists, media executives, lawmakers, ministers, HBCU faculty and students, while 0 opposition has been filed against BNC’s waiver request.
  • African Americans are dissatisfied with the negative imagery and stereotyping perpetuated by mainstream media news outlets today. Of those African Americans polled nationally, 80% say it is “very important” to have a news channel programmed for their unique and diverse interests.
  • African Americans—more than any other culture—depend on subscription television to stay informed, watching 28% more cable news than non-minority viewers.
  • African Americans, despite being subscription television’s most valuable customers, are currently underserved by cable TV and satellite TV programming options with only 2 widespread entertainment cable networks and 0 cable news channels.
  • African Americans watched 40% more TV, ordered more pay-tv and VOD services, and owned more HDTV sets than any other segment of the U.S. population.
  • African Americans spend more than $5 billion annually on subscription television services.
  • 91% of African Americans believe that Black owned and produced media is more relevant to them.
  • 81% of African Americans believe that products advertised on Black media are more relevant to them.
  • 77% of African Americans feel that Black media has a better understanding of the needs and issues that affect them.
  • 73% of African Americans believe that Black media keeps them in touch with their heritage.

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