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1229 LONGWORTH HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING

STEVE SOUTHERLAND, II

WASHINGTON, DC 20515

2ND DISTRICT, FLORIDA

(202) 225--5235

840 WEST 11TH STREET

COMMITIEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES

C!Congrt~~ of tbt Wnittb ~tatt~

SUITE 2250

PANAMA CITY, FL 32401

(850) 785--0812

COMMITIEE ON

TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

~oust of l\tprtl!'tntattbtl!'

3116 CAPITAL CIRCLE NE

SUITE 9

TALLAHASSEE, Fl32308

•asbington, 1DQI: 20515-0902

(850) 561-3979

Received & Inspected

May 29,2014

JUN U L LU14

FCCM .,

Mr. Tom Wheeler

al Room

Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

This letter is intended to convey my support for the Black Television News Channel (BTNC) in its

application for approval before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It is my

understanding that this important initiative represents the first 24-hour cable news channel

dedicated to issues affecting African American communities, offering significant social and

economic benefits to North Florida and the nation at large.

I understand that BTNC would present news, information, and educational content through a multi-

platform approach that utilizes traditional linear cable and satellite service for television viewing,

while also introducing interactive social media and e-commerce features.

Programming through the BTNC would provide access to information and educational

programming to meet the specific needs of a growing and dynamic population. The network will

shed light on the unique social, economic, and political challenges facing many of our minority

communities and will seek to build a bridge to provide a better understanding between our nation's

diverse cultures.

BTNC has partnered with the nation's Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to

provide the network access to facilities, content, and subject matter expertise, as well as access to a

rich and diverse pool of academic experts, authors and specialists who have agreed to serve as

nightly on-air contributing analysts.

It is my understanding that BTNC seeks approval from the Federal Communications Commission to

temporarily occupy the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Public Interest Space. I support this project

and recognize its potential ability to create jobs, promote economic growth, and generate a

heightened sense of social awareness. For your information, I have attached additional materials and

I urge a favorable decision by the FCC on behalf of the BTNC to occupy the DBS Public Internet

Space. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Steve Southerland, II

Member of Congress

PAINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER

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For additional infonnation, please contact:

Bob Brillante, Co Manager

Black Television News Channel, LLC.

2941 Kerry Forest Parkway

Tallahassee, FL 32309

Direct Line: 850-544-2400

britlantr;@btnc.tv

TELEVISION

News Channel

www.btnc.tv

BLACK TELEVISION NEWS CHANNEL

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Despite the proliferation of basic and premium cable television channels during the past two

decades, the number of cable news networks dedicated to serving the nation's African American

communities remains at ZERO! And, for the first time since the civil-rights movement,

Americans entered this New Year with no Black-owned and operated full-power TV stations.

Black Television News Channel will be the nation's first channel to fill this significant void and

provide African America viewers news, information, and educational content focused on their

interests and needs, while tapping into subscription television's most Joyal consumer.

BTNC will employ a multi-platform approach that utilizes traditional linear cable and satellite

service for television viewing while also introducing interactive, enhanced television services

and e-commerce features. BTNC will locate its domestic and international network operations

center (NOC) on the campus of Aorida A & M University, a Historically Black College &

University (HBCU) to provide the network access to facilities, content, and subject matter

expertise, as well as access to a rich and diverse pool of academic experts, authors and specialists

who have agreed to serve as nightly on-air contributing analysts.

The Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University conducted an in-

depth study on the economic impact that BTNC will have on Florida A&M University's campus

and host community. The study determined that BTNC would generate $33.6 million in

economic stimulus each year for its host city. BTNC will also create 109 new jobs in

Tallahassee, paying 150% greater than the Capital cities' average MSA.

BTNC founding co-managers are JC Watts, Jr. (a former congressman) and Robert Brillante (a

30-year cable TV veteran and founder of Florida's News Channel). The co-managers hll\1e

invested more than $4 million, to date, and have successfully accomplished the following four

objectives: 1) polled audience demand; 2) conducted 18 months of LIVE on-air programming

trials; 3) built valuable content and advertising partnerships; and 4) helped steer our nation's

public and private sector policy to promote a diversity of voices in cable TV programming.

BTNC represents a collaborative effort of broadcast veterans, policymakers, journalists,

community leaders, educators, advertising executives, and content providers. The network has

partnered with SONY to equip and integrate its network operation center (NOC), studio

facilities, teleport, mobile ENG infrastructure, and automated newsroom. VIZ RT will provide

BTNC its advanced virtual reality television production assets. BTNC is also partnered with

WorldLink Ventures, a global leader in multi-platform sales, to broker the network's remnant

advertising inventory.

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The cornerstone of BTNC's business case includes the following facts about its targeted

audience:

African Americans are extremely loyal to programming and merchant promotions that

speak to them. All of the top 10 rated shows among African Americans feature black cast

members.

African Americans are dissatisfied with the negative imagery and stereotyping

perpetuated by mainstream media news outlets today.

African Americans-more than any other culture--

stay informed.

African Americans, despite being subscription television's most voracious consumers,

are currently underserved by cable TV and satellite television programming options.

In 2013, African Americans watched 37% more TV, ordered more pay-TV and VOD

services, and owned more HDTV sets than any other segment of the US population.

Today, 43 million African Americans live in the US and the black population is growing

40 percent faster than the general population.

Nielsen's 2013 report on African Americanconillmers revealed the following:

91% of African Americans "believe that Black (owned and produced) media is more

relevant to them. "

81% believe that "products advertised on Black media are more relevant to them. "

77% feel that "Black media has a better understanding of the needs and issues that affect

them."

73% believe that "Black media keeps them in touch with their heritage."

The mission of Black Television News Channel is to produce intelligent programming that is

informative, educational, inspiring, and empowering for distribution to the network's African

American audience.

- 2-

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