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Shad Khan’s Black News Channel is shutting down

BY STEPHEN BATTAGLIOSTAFF WRITER MARCH 25, 2022 9:57 AM PT

Black News Channel, the TV news service launched in early 2020 to be a voice for people of color, is ceasing operations Friday afternoon.

A memo to employees from BNC’s chief executive, Princell Hair, confirmed The Times’ earlier report of the closure plans. The company is filing for bankruptcy, and live programming will end at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT. The channel will air repeats for the rest of the month.

The Tallahassee, Fla.-based outlet, whose majority stakeholder is Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, failed to meet payroll on Friday, a day after telling employees that paychecks would be delayed.

The announcement means BNC’s staff of 230 — a vast majority of whom are people of color — are out of work. They have been told benefits will last through next week and there will be no severance, according to one person briefed on the plans.

Khan was no longer willing to invest further, according to people briefed on the matter. The channel has been shopped to a number of media companies, including Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, but there were no takers. The company endured several rounds of layoffs in recent months.

“During the past few months, we have endured very painful workforce reductions at all levels of the network as we worked to achieve our financial goal of a break-even business,” Princell said in the memo obtained by The Times.

“This has forced all of you to do more with less, and your contributions have been remarkable. Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions and global financial pressures, we have been unable to meet our financial goals, and the timeline afforded to us has run out.”

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