HBCU Network Still Set to take off in 2012
by Kirsten West-Savali, Your Black World
Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States are scheduled to make their television debut in 2012.
After discussions stalled with media giant, Comcast, to launch a full fledged 24/7, 365 days a year sports, edutainment and lifestyle network surrounding the culture of HBCUs, HBCU Networks’ executive vice president of marketing, Clint Evans, says that it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise:
“Our focus, our commitment and our vision is the same,” said Evans. “We will launch this network and, what’s more, we plan to launch it on schedule.”
HBCU Networks and the Congressional Black Caucus will convene later this month for a forum to discuss the innovative and necessary programming dedicated to highlighting education and culture in the African-American community.
HBCU Network CEO, Curtis Symonds, says that he has been inundated with calls from students, parents, and alumnus, eager for a role in the revolutionary media outlet, and he is eager to move forward with the project.
With the lack of Black journalists being discussed in the media, and unemployment rates in the African-American community at an all-time high, the HBCU network could provide a much needed boon to the financial and professional viability of African-American media professionals.
“I’m an HBCU alum myself,” said Symonds, who attended Central State University, “so first and foremost, the idea behind this vision is to preserve and celebrate the African-American colleges and universities, while providing opportunities for their growth and further prosperity. HBCUs are known to be very, very nurturing, and this venture will be no different. Our brand motto is ‘Our heritage, our legacy, our channel.’ And that’s real.”
Fellow HBCU alums and current CBC members, James Clyburn, Elijah Cummings, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and John Lewis have all publicly committed to advancing the cause.
The Atlanta based network is scheduled for a full launch during Black History Month 2012, providing the 105 historical institutions a collective 20-percent equity share in the company.
“We’ve really let ourselves down in terms of educating our children on the history of HBCUs,” said Symonds. “This will be something our children can be proud of, a vehicle that can start to change their own minds about just who they are and the great things they’re capable of. How can there not be a thirst for that?”