The Major Broadcasting Cable Network, the only African American owned and operated cable television network, is repositioning itself in the marketplace by changing its name to the Black Family Channel. It aims to produce family programming, as it had primarily focused on college sports, news, and public affairs. Plans include a variety show, two dramatic series, and a reality show. MBC is backed by millionaire lawyer Willie Gary, Marlon Jackson (of Jackson 5 fame), broadcast veteran Alvin James, and sports figures Cecil Fielder and Evander Holyfield. Launched in 1999, MBC is available in 30 million homes, 3,700 cities, and 47 states.
Illinois Lottery selects RJ Dale as its new general market advertising agency. RJ Dale Advertising & Public Relations (No. 14 on the BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list with $26.4 million in billings) beat out 13 other agencies that responded to the Lottery’s RFP. The 25-year-old company is the first minority-owned communications firm to win a general-market contract with the state’s lottery. The contract, expected to be worth approximately $19 million, will run two years with a one-year extension option.
NFL Hall of Famer and former head coach Art Shell named senior vice president for football operations and development. Shell, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989 after a stellar career as a tackle for the Oakland-Los Angeles Raiders from 1968 — 82, will supervise all NFL football operations and development, NFL Europe League operations, NFL’s relationship with college football, and the league’s youth football activities.
-Carolyn M. Brown