August 18, 2022

Byron Allen and The Allen Media Group Has Dissolved The Black News Channel and Morphed It Into The GrioTV

Allen Media Group founder and CEO Byron Allen recently spoke to CNN about his acquisition of The Black News Channel. Allen wasted little time with dropping The Black News Channel and moving The GrioTV channel in its place. He was highly critical about how the Black News Channel ran their operations. The big takeaway from the interview is The GrioTV has a deal in place to televise more HBCU Sports. 

Allen, who purchased the assets of the Black News Channel for $11 million basically said that running a 24 hour Black news and information was not going to be profitable for his company. The GrioTV was going to incorporate a variety of inclusive programming.

As you can see on the cable TV channel lineup below, The GrioTV is now slotted where the Black News Channel previously appeared. It's located in a tier of channels dedicated to news on this Xfinity channel guide. However what is more important in the future is that The GrioTV can be streamed on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. 

So where did The Grio and GrioTV come from?

The Grio was first a website, whose name is derived from the word griot, the term for a West African oral historian and storyteller. 

It was originally launched in June 2009 as a division of NBC News and became a division of MSNBC in 2013. It was primarily used as a companion news website targeting African Americans in much the same way The Huffington Post was targeted for mass audiences. With NBC no longer seeing it as profitable, they sold it in 2014 to the original founders of the site that initially brought the idea of the website to NBC. In June 2016, Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios acquired the website.

The Grio TV channel itself was originally founded as Light TV by MGM Studios in 2016 as an inspirational television network. It was sold to to Entertainment Studio, now known as Allen Media Group in late 2020, and relaunched as TheGrio TV in January 2021 as a companion channel to the website. The distribution of the channel in American households was low as it was mostly available over the air. 

On August 1, after having been purchased out of bankruptcy, the Black News Channel became The Grio TV which allowed it to be distributed to a much larger audience.

Below is a recent discussion from the Roland Martin Unfiltered channel, where the panel discussed the need for news and information specifically targeted to the African American audience. Those hopes were dashed once Byron Allen announced that the Black News Channel would go away. As Martin puts it...  "Wait  Yall. The Black News Channel is Dead." 

Martin also talked about the difficulty that Black targeted media outlets have in getting advertising dollars. 

Below is a 2019 interview on The Breakfast Club, where the founders of The Black News Channel discussed their optimism about the idea, the concept of 24/7 news. 

What we do see now, is the Roland Martin's Black Star Network on YouTube and Karen Hunter, the Sirius XM Urban View host's YouTube Channel, as the only few real sources of news and information. So the reality of a Black 24/7 news channel is a concept that may never materialized based on the points discussed in the clip above.

It's all about support. 

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