Black News Channel Shuts Down Permanently, Fails To Meet Payroll
The inception of the Tallahassee, Florida-based start-up news outlet committed to amplifying Black and Brown voices began with a revered mission, however, the Black News Channel has ceased operations as of yesterday afternoon after only two years on the air.
In a similar M.O. of mass layoffs for the cable news network, following those right before the holidays in December and again at the end of January, the third round of layoffs came without warning nor severance, as well as failure to meet payroll for weeks already worked.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the company of majority stakeholder and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan declared bankruptcy, leaving a majority Black and Brown staff of about 230 abruptly jobless and without pay. The channel itself will air repreats for the remainder of March.
In a memo sent to employees by BNC’s chief executive, Princell Hair, benefits will last through next week, though without dismissal wage.
The news comes right after Khan had announced delays on paychecks. Following his $50 million investment in 2019, the Jaguars billionaire refused to continue to fund the start-up after a myriad of problems that ailed the outlet.
“During the past few months, we have endured very painful workforce reductions at all levels of the network as we worked to achieve our financial goal of a break-even business,” read the memo. “This has forced all of you to do more with less, and your contributions have been remarkable. Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions and global financial pressures, we have been unable to meet our financial goals, and the timeline afforded to us has run out,” Princell said.
Primetime host of the Black News Tonight segment, Marc Lamont Hill, took to Twitter to express his frustrations.
The real exclusive is that he’s refusing to give people their paychecks today. Hundreds of employees, many of whom already took significant pay cuts, are now being denied money they’ve already worked for. Khan, a BILLIONAIRE, simply says he doesn’t want to pay it. https://t.co/fhqbbKb5mN
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) March 25, 2022
In an attempt to save the failing channel, it had been geared for sale to multiple media companies, however no investors were willing to resuscitate.
According to Nielsen, BNC had an average of 10,000 viewers nationwide despite reaching over 50 million cable households.