For Comcast Xfinity customers in Tallahassee and in key markets around the country, the debut of the Black News Channel is heading into a six-day delay. Or longer.
The 24-hour international cable news network launched at 6 a.m. Monday from its headquarters in Tallahassee, but technical issues limited its reach to customers of Charter Spectrum cable, which serves markets nationally, and Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburgh viewers in Florida.
“We’re still working with Comcast to work out their technical issues,” Bob Brillante, co-owner and CEO of BNC told the Tallahassee Democrat Friday afternoon. “We do know they are working as fast as they can to get it resolved.
“We just don’t know when this going to be completed,” he added. “We have reason to believe that it will be relatively soon.”
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Brillante said BNC can send its signal to Comcast, but Comcast is not able to get it distributed through its system to markets around the country: “It’s technical issues on Comcast and we don’t have control over that.”
The Comcast distribution is critical to reaching black viewers in cities such as Atlanta, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington-Baltimore and other markets BNC is targeting.
“We are working through the many technical requirements and specifications that need to be implemented in order for the Black News Channel to go live on Xfinity TV,” Mindy Kramer, vice president for public relations for the Comcast Florida region said in a email. “Once this is completed we will be excited to provide our customers with the live 24/7 Black News Channel as a subscription-based offering through Xfinity on Demand.”
Brillante said the delay with getting the channel distributed by Comcast also is raising a concern with advertisers “in a very big way.”
“When you can’t reach some of the key markets in the country, particularly those with a very large African-American markets, that does have an impact for them,” he said.
Brillante said response from Charter Communications viewers has been positive.
BNC is available to Spectrum TV subscribers in 15 of the top African-American TV markets, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, St. Louis and Tampa.
The company held a launch party in New York on Tuesday with BNC chairman and former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. A similar launch event will be Tuesday by Charter Spectrum in Durham, North Carolina, followed by a reception next Friday in Orlando at the Florida A&M University College of Law.
Brillante said BNC will be available to 40 million households through ROKU beginning Feb. 25 and to 10 million Vizio smart TVs by the end of the month.
BNC has a signed agreement with Dish Network but the network is still lobbying to get Congressional approval to clear regulatory issues involving satellite broadcasts.
BNC on Charter Spectrum
For Spectrum TV customers in the Tampa/St. Petersburgh markets, BNC is on channels 168/1211.
For the Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne market it’s on channel 206/1206.
Black News Channel is available on CHANNELS in MARKET at no additional charge to Spectrum TV customers who have Spectrum TV Silver, Digital Tier Package 1, or Spectrum Lifestyle TV.
Spectrum TV customers can find more information at www.spectrum.com