Another one? Must be something in the air… First Bounce TV, then MGM announced plans for its KIN TV, and now comes Soul Of The South Network… from the press release:
(October 31, 2011 – Little Rock, Arkansas) – SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK, a 24-hour regional broadcast network targeting African-Americans viewers in the South, will launch in the first quarter of 2012 offering entertainment, sports, and cultural programming along with 5 hours of live news daily. “I’m so proud to lead the launch of Soul of the South, which will be the first broadcast network to speak directly to the lives and values of the more than 20 million African-Americans living in the South,” says Edwin V. Avent, Chairman/CEO, SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK. “We have met with stations in over 50 markets during our road show across the South and they are all excited by our concept of a regional African-American television network.”
As others have wondered after previous new black network announcements were made: so where’s all the content going to come from to fill programming time slots? And as others have answered: these new network launches could be looked at as opportunities for independent content creators (like yourselves) to provide new and exciting material for these new networks. Regurgitating old movies and TV shows just won’t be enough to sustain them.
Here’s the rest of the story…
A co-founder of SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK, Avent, after serving as Heart & Soul Magazine’s publisher for six years where he rebuilt the publication into a viable brand among African-American female consumers, will now devote himself launching and running this television network.
Over the past 20 years, there has been an accelerated shift in African-American population moving back to the South. As Isabel Wilkerson, author of the epic Pulitzer Prize winning “The Warmth of Other Suns,” recently observed, with the South becoming more in line with the rest of the country, African-Americans feel a deep yearning to reconnect with their ancestral homeland.
“We live in a time when we have an African-American President and an African-American Republican frontrunner, yet we do not have a single African-American anchor on any of the nightly broadcast news shows,” says co-founder Carl McCaskill, SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK’s Executive Vice President of Business Development and Branding. “We see this as an opportunity. We will fill that void with 5 hours of daily news, with African-American news anchors and reporters at the helm and with a fresh perspective on everyday African-American life in the South,” adds McCaskill.
Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK’s president is Larry Morton, a digital broadcast pioneer and founder of Retro TV. “I’m thrilled to partner with Edwin Avent and Carl McCaskill in the launch of this unique and very important digital platform,” Morton adds. Also a co-founder of the new network, Morton continues, “Given the doubts about the future of the digital spectrum that Congress allocated to broadcasters, it is inspiring to see the number of minority networks that are emerging utilizing this vital public resource. Today, we have Hispanic, Asian and African-American programmers that are successfully using the digital spectrum to empower their communities on free over the air television.”
SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK’s launch schedule will include a two-hour morning news show based in Atlanta, a one-hour evening news broadcast, and “Capitol Eye,” an additional half-hour hosted news and opinion show focusing on Southern capitals and politics. The news broadcasts are co-productions with centralized newscast operator Independent Network News. During the first quarter of 2012, SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK will premiere two original programs: RADIOFACE, a quick-moving, comedic unscripted show hosted by hot radio personalities bantering from their studios on the news and headlines of the day, and SOUTHERN SOUL STORIES, which explores the lives of African-American icons of the South and the events, large and small, that shaped the region.
SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK will showcase its full 2012 line-up of original shows during May upfronts. SOUL OF THE SOUTH will offer its broadcast platform in markets with high concentrations of African-Americans in the South and several Northern hub cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
Additional key SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK executives include: Jeff Burns Jr, former Senior Vice President of Johnson Publishing who will serve as Executive Vice President of Marketing; Donald “Chip” Harwood of Princeton Media and Ed Baruch of Allied Media serve as distribution consultants. Fusion Studios led by Jeff Lyle is handling master control and signal delivery.
For a look at SOUL OF THE SOUTH NETWORK’s promo go to: www.SSN.TV
Well… we’ll just have to wait until May 2012 to see what their full lineup will look like. In the meantime, here’s a video promo: