NEW GAY CABLE CHANNEL IN WORKS
MTV Networks and Showtime, the two cable divisions of Viacom, are looking to take advantage of what they say is a large and lucrative niche audience untapped by television programmers. They are developing a plan to create the first cable channel aimed directly at gay viewers.
The channel would be offered to cable system operators as a pay channel like HBO or Showtime but at a lower cost of $5 or $6 a month. Unlike most other pay channels, however, the gay-oriented channel would include advertising.
MTV Networks and Showtime have conducted extensive audience testing and concluded that there is, as one Showtime executive put it, “near unanimous enthusiasm from gay viewers” for the concept, according to The New York Times.
The programming, as described by several of the executives involved in the planning, would include acquired films, original series, imported series, news and information programs, talk shows, comedy shows and travel shows.
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR BLACK PRESS
As leaders of the black newspaper industry gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in mid-January to talk about the future, one of their most respected publications, The Chicago Defender, was experiencing severe difficulties, with its survival at stake.
But The Miami Herald reported that this was not a somber vigil, but rather a celebration of life.
“I think that as it approaches its 175th anniversary, things look very promising for the black press,” said Clint C. Wilson II, a journalism professor at Howard University and co-author of the book “A History of the Black Press.” “The combination of becoming Internet savvy and a new, younger, aggressive breed of publishers who understand marketing will give it a bright future.”
While there are only two daily black newspapers – The Chicago Defender and the Daily Challenge in New York – smaller weekly newspapers are thriving. South Florida boasts at least four black newspapers that not only represent black people but also serve as platforms for advocacy, according to The Herald.
“[The black press] has taken the side of the poor and the oppressed masses against the system that has discriminated against them and oppressed them all these years,” said Mel Reeves, managing editor of the 79-year-old Miami Times.
SPANISH-LANGUAGE TV STATION DEBUTS IN ATLANTA
Atlanta’s first 24-hour local Spanish-language television station debuted in January, with most of the programming from Univision, the national Spanish-language network familiar to cable TV viewers.
Atlanta’s WUVG-TV “Hotlanta 34” also airs a local weekly 30-minute community affairs program called “Nuestra Georgia” (Our Georgia), produced at the station’s Buckhead studios, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The station, which has been consistently last in the Nielson ratings, was picked up by Univision Communications Inc. last year when it bought 15 stations from USA Networks. Univision changed the station’s call letters from WHOT in November.
Owning the station gives Univision the opportunity to produce local news in Atlanta as it does in other major cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, where it owns stations.
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