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August 21, 2020

Black Information Network Has a Different Business Model: Success Means Quality Reporting Over Ratings

This is the philosophy behind the Black Information Network (BIN News), a standalone business unit within the confines of media/radio giant iHeartMedia. The company is led by president Tony Coles and director of news operations Tanita Myers.

NAB’s Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Duke interviews Tony Coles to discuss the burgeoning news network targeted to the Black community. (Podcast from the National Association of Broadcasters is below.)

iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network launched with great fanfare in June in hopes of becoming “the most trusted and the most used source for audio news for the Black community.” Tony Coles said, “It’s an aggressive goal. If we go into work every day with that as our mission and we do everything we can to make sure that we are credible and trusted and respected, and we are telling our story to as many people as we can every day, we believe that we can achieve that.”

The business model of the network allows Coles and his team to focus on quality reporting and not ratings in much the same way NPR (National Public Radio) operates. The network relies on sponsorship support from a group of founding partners, including Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon.

“I want to find a way to make our content available to other broadcasters,” Coles says. “This is much more than a business decision for us. We believe that if we have the ability to share content with others, we want to do that.”

Tony Coles talked to FOX 2 during the initial launch of  BIN News on 1130 AM in Detroit. The network will be rolled out to more cities in the upcoming weeks.

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