1229 LONGWORTH HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
STEVE SOUTHERLAND, II
WASHINGTON, DC 20515
2ND DISTRICT, FLORIDA
840 WEST 11TH STREET
COMMITIEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
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PANAMA CITY, FL 32401
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
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3116 CAPITAL CIRCLE NE
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Received & Inspected
JUN U L LU14
Mr. Tom Wheeler
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
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.
Steve Southerland, II
Member of Congress
PAINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
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
BLACK TELEVISION NEWS CHANNEL
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
The cornerstone of BTNC's business case includes the following facts about its targeted
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
African Americans are dissatisfied with the negative imagery and stereotyping
perpetuated by mainstream media news outlets today.
African Americans-more than any other culture--
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
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
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