It has now been a year and a day since I wrote a blog about the almost “Whites Only” party in the media business.
When I brought this to your attention, your favorite TV, and radio stations were majority owned by Caucasian men. Now, a short time later, the needle is slowly moving in a direction that is closer to balancing the demographics that we have represented in America today.
It may come to a surprise, but some of your favorite cable channels, websites and magazines are now owned by people of color.
Here are a few examples that have happened this year in minority-owned media ownership:
- The Weather Channel: In March, Entertainment Studios purchased the parent group Weather Group from its previous owners NBCUniversial. Entertainment Studios’s owner and former comedienne, Byron Allen, acquired the cable network for $300 Million. Allen’s company also own cable networks Pet.TV and Comedy.TV, in addition to web-based African American news outlet TheGrio.com, with a chance of purchasing more networks in the horizon without any precipitation.
- Urban One: In the beginning of May, Urban One sold its Detroit-based radio station WPZR-FM (102.7 FM) to Educational Media Foundation, of California, for $12.7 million. In addition to funds, Urban One acquired 3 FM translators that serve the Detroit metropolitan area and the translators will be combined with its existing FM translator to multicast the Detroit Praise Network. CEO, Alfred Liggins, said in a statement, “This is a good deal for Urban One, as it enables us to monetize an asset at a very attractive multiple, while at the same time allowing us to continue to serve our community of listeners who value our new Detroit Praise Network of stations.”
- Essence Ventures: The lifestyle magazine Essence started out as a black-owned publication in 1968. After a few corporate shakeups in the past decades, Time Inc., who owned the magazine for 18 years, sold the African American targeted publication to the 100% black-owned LLC earlier this year. Essence Ventures first order of business was to appoint an all-female executive team which is being led by Michelle Ebanks, who is serving as President and also member of the board of directors. “This acquisition of Essence represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multi-generational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” Ebanks said in a statement. “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”
When I first wrote this blog last year, I ended by saying that “everyone deserves a seat at the table.” Today, there is a slight improvement on minority-owned media companies, and it’s going in a direction that is full steam ahead.