Black media in transition

Herb Boyd | 2/20/2014, 10:48 a.m.
To paraphrase an old economic saying: If the mainstream media sneezes, the Black media comes down with pneumonia.
WBLS radio

If the younger Blacks are getting their news and information from television, it’s not from Black-owned television stations, because there are none.

When Roberts Broadcasting was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2011 and sold the last of its three remaining full-power television stations, that was the end of Black-owned stations. Several factors brought about the decline of the station, including Viacom’s decision to close down UPN, which Roberts was dependent on for programming content.

A couple of years ago, there was much talk about the launch of a TV broadcast service called Soul of the South Network that announced it was prepared to spend $10 million in at least 50 markets with a plan to offer entertainment, sports and cultural programming. According to one press release, there were two affiliates of the station in major Northern cities, though the main focus will be in the South, where 57 percent of the Black population lives.

Meanwhile, the future for Black media may be as obvious as your next email or notification from one of your Facebook partners, or the tweet waiting online. The traffic on TheRoot.com, Griot.com and other Black-oriented websites seem to grow each day, and it’s good that some of the old-line publications are paying attention to this, as they gradually began to modify their operations to take advantage of what is clearly a trend with enormous potential for wider exposure and financial growth.