News

iHeartMedia launches national radio-news service for Black community

iHeartMedia launches national radio-news service for Black community
Business
Black Information Network, or BIN, is set to go live Tuesday, with 15 radio stations across the country, plus an online presence, and more stations coming over the next two months. It will also provide news for all of the 91 hip-hop, R&B and gospel stations operated by the nation’s largest radio broadcaster.

While the idea for a news network serving the Black community was formed at iHeartMedia a year ago, according to Tony Coles, president of BIN, it took on urgency in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in police custody in May and the ensuing national political and social unrest.

The company says the network aims to be an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective. The idea is to cover stories with an eye toward aspects that pertain to members of the Black community—such as how Covid disproportionately affects Black people.

“A lot of stories told on news radio don’t necessarily speak to the Black community,” said Mr. Coles. He pointed to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., as a topic that he believes hasn’t gotten enough attention in mainstream news coverage. “We think we can shed a light on things that don’t stay in the news cycle in traditional media.”

For its launch, the network has mostly tapped journalists from iHeartMedia’s existing news service, but it is also in the process of hiring outsiders to build out its talent pool, the company said. Tanita Myers, a veteran producer, broadcaster and anchor, is director of news operations. She was previously executive producer at Westwood One’s nationally syndicated Rick and Sasha show.

Mr. Coles, a radio industry veteran who also serves as division president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group, most recently ran programming for iHeartMedia’s Western U.S. region.

Instead of selling advertising, BIN is relying on long-term sponsorship arrangements with a list of backers that includes Bank of America Corp., CVS Health Corp., Lowe’s Cos., McDonald’s Corp., 23andMe Inc., Sony Corp., Geico and Verizon Communications Inc.

That arrangement, said Mr. Coles, will allow the network not to worry about ratings as much as it would it if it had to guarantee advertisers certain listenership levels.

While those partners can run the same advertisements they would elsewhere, many are choosing to air specially made spots. Lowe’s chief executive Marvin Ellison decided to voice his company’s commercials himself, talking about his own challenges as a Black businessman, according to Mr. Coles.

In addition to national news, the 15 broadcast radio stations will provide local news, weather, traffic and sports in markets including Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle.

iHeartMedia recently stopped using the term urban to describe music traditionally made by Black artists, instead opting to distinguish between hip-hop, R&B and gospel. Stations playing those genres—including Power 105.1 in New York, Real 92.3 in Los Angeles, WDAS and Power 99 in Philadelphia, WGCI and WVAZ in Chicago, WJLB in Detroit and the Beat in Miami—will carry news from BIN.

Sign Up Now

Selections of BIN’s broadcast radio content will also be distributed as podcasts, and some of iHeartRadio’s Black culture podcasts will be distributed via BIN’s programming.

“No one could have predicted any of the things that have happened over the past six months—not just George Floyd but Covid, and the effects of that on the economy and the Black community,” said Mr. Coles. “The problems that exist today aren’t going to be gone in one or two years. There’s going to be this ongoing need.”
Read more on Toronto Star
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Entertainment
We know Dean, we know hes a big sports fan, hes very knowledgeable about sports, and we know he likes to talk about sports, said Julie Adam, the vice president of...
Top Stories
Do Make Say Think is the name of a Canadian rock band, but we also thought the title was a good one for a weekly summer series introducing readers to...
Business
FILE In this Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, the logo for iHeartRadio, owned by iHeartMedia, Inc., is shown during an album release party with Maroon 5 in Burbank, Calif. Photo...
Business
Bell Media has begun a major reshuffling of its senior ranks, splitting its most senior production and programming roles and forging more direct reporting lines to president Mary Ann Turcke....
Entertainment
Billboard Chart , Billboard Christian And Gospel , Billboard Christian And Gospel Chart , Billboard Christian And Gospel Charts , Billboard Christian Chart , Billboard Gospel Chart , Billboard ,...