Coburn Watts

Former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts at a Tulsa Regional Chamber congressional forum in 2016. 

The Black News Channel will launch what it calls "the nation’s only African-American news network" on Jan. 6.

BNC is co-founded by former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, who will be the network's chairman, and CEO Bob Brillante. In the past, Watts has served as a CNN political commentator and president of the nonprofit Feed the Children. He was a quarterback at the University of Oklahoma who led the team to Orange Bowl victories in 1980 and 1981. 

“Our network is about providing intelligent programming that is informative, educational, inspiring and empowering to our African-American audience, so they are participants in a national conversation,” Watts said in a press release, who is also chairman for BNC. 

BNC plans to release more information about how and where customers can view the network’s programming in the coming weeks. The network will be the nation’s only provider of 24/7 cable news programming dedicated to covering the unique perspective of African-American communities.

"There’s 200-plus stations, but there's nowhere you can get your remote and say, 'I want to find something that is culturally specific to the African American community,' " Watts said to USA Today. "That’s not just in terms of current affairs, but that is wellness. You won’t find any network today that talks about sickle cell (disease) and diabetes as it relates to the black community."

Watts told USA Today he plans to host a history show where he travels the country and talks to "those who have made a serious investment in the African-American community."

BNC will provide "an authentic, new voice that represents African Americans in mainstream media and fosters political, economic, and social discourse," according to the release.

BNC’s programming will also help close the "image gap" that exists today between the "negative black stereotypes perpetuated by mainstream media news and our enterprising African-American communities."

One of BNC's prime-time anchors include Fred Hickman, a former CNN host. 


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