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Watts to start cable channel
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TV network would target black viewers

By Jim Stafford Published: May 29, 2008

An endorsement from Comcast, which owns more than half of a black-oriented television network called TV One, shows that the proposed network must have some major backers, Perry said.

"I think he's on the right course, and it seems like he has the proper backing going into those major markets the right way with cable,” he said. "I think he's on the right course, and knowing Congressman Watts, he has thought this out.”

‘Deep pockets' needed
However, the financial and broadcast expertise to start and sustain a major network are huge, said Marc Krein, an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Broadcasting at Oklahoma State University.

Krein freelances in sports production for several major networks, including ESPN.

"Yes there is certainly a target audience,” Krein said. "My question would be, can they sustain it financially and can they manage it correctly? They are going to have to bring in some real quality people and obviously have some deep pockets.”

The Post quoted an industry source who said that it would cost at least $100 million to start a cable news network.

Krein once freelanced in the production truck at sports events for the Major Broadcasting Cable Network, an African American-owned cable network that has since changed its name to the Black Family Channel.

"I think it had potential, but I don't think it was managed very well,” Krein said. "I think they underestimated how much it costs to put together one of these networks and sustain it.

"I also question whether a whole network needs to be dedicated to it or whether some of these other networks can dedicate some specialized programming.”

"I'm not so sure that you see anything on CNN or Fox News that specifically targets the African-American community.”
Former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts


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