Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Black Family Channel Folds

The Black Family Channel has folded, ending its broadcasting just a few weeks ago. A lack of distribution was cited as the cause for the shut down. The Black Family Channel was a joint venture involving several high profile African American men, including attorney Willie Gary, Evander Holyfield, and actor/director Robert Townsend. The network was a positive alternative to the often negative images of Black Americans promoted by BET and was one of only two major Black owned TV networks. The departure of BFC leaves TV One as the only major Black owned TV network and the only viable alternative to BET. TV One also shows positive content, although I don't know if it was as good as BFC.

Why is it that positive programs and positive networks about Black Americans always seem to fail? Is it a lack of Black support? I have noticed that Black Americans don't seem to throw as much support behind networks like BFC, which explicitly supported programming that reflected positive family values and wanted to position itself as an alternative to BET. Yet, Black support seemed to drift towards BET...and network that, in many cases, shows Black Americans in the poorest light possible.

I liked what Robert Townsend and others were trying to do with that network. BFC offered us a good opportunity to challenge BET. But the lack of support, and failure of cable providers to pick up the network across the country, doomed any plan to challenge BET. BET was likely a better advertising draw because it is a much more established brand.
I had the network on my cable system for a short time, and the programming was awesome. This was a channel that you could actually watch without cringing about language or some sort of minstrel imagery. Unfortunately (if I recall correctly) the network was eventually dropped from the cable system. I also had TV One. It is also a positive network, at least it is when compared with BET. Hopefully TV One will last a lot longer than BFC.


Anonymous said...

Man, I am totally upset that the BFC has shut down. We really need to get our act together. It's really sad that garbage TV (BET) survives and good TV doesn't.

Bobby (Houston)

Anonymous said...

I searched and searched for The BFC to no avail. I came here tonight to see what had happened and found this. As I am anti-BET (can't risk my 2 y/o son having brain rot), this leaves me sad.