How the Black News Channel Collapsed

Black News Channel President JC Watts discusses the launch of the nation's only 24-hour news network during an interview in Tallahassee, Florida.

Black News Channel President JC Watts discusses the launch of the nation’s only 24-hour news network during an interview in Tallahassee, Florida.
Photo: Brendan Farrington (PA)

Black News Channel, or BNC, close in March after only 2 years after its launch. The television network touted its majority shareholder as owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Shad Khan. anchors included notable media personalities Marc Lamont Hill, Charles Blow and Sharon Reed.

Originally started as a vital voice for people of color, its abrupt closure shocked both viewers and channel employees. “Over the past few months, we have endured very painful headcount reductions at all levels of the network as we work towards our financial goal of a breakeven business,” CEO Princell Hair said in a statement. memo sent to employees.

“It has forced all of you to do more with less, and your contributions have been remarkable. Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions and global financial pressures, we were unable to meet our financial targets and our allotted time has run out.

However, former BNC employees are now speaking out. According to Mediate, the channel suffered from major internal problems that ultimately led to its collapse. In addition to the low viewership, there was a class action lawsuit brought by 13 women who claimed they were being paid unfairly compared to their male peers. In addition, BNC has also faced multiple sexual harassment lawsuits.

After nearly 80 employees were laid off in the fall of 2021, staff began to worry about the future of the BNC. “It was exciting and exciting work – but we were constantly wondering if the budget was going to last,” a source told Mediaite. On March 24, the employees did not receive their paychecks. The next day, news broke the network was shutting down.

After these reports aired, presenter Marc Lamont Hill took Twitter to share how BNC workers were still without pay: “The real exclusivity is that he refuses to give people their paychecks today. Hundreds of employees, many of whom have already taken deep pay cuts, are now being denied the money they once worked for.

Just last month, the chain legally filed for bankruptcy as employees continued to seek unpaid wages, unused pto payments and severance pay. A solidarity statement the National Writers’ Union said it planned to “put its full weight” on BNC to pay former employees.