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Former lawmaker, cable veteran launch 24-hour Black News Channel

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Black News Channel, a new broadcast network targeted toward African-American audiences, launched on Monday.

Based in Tallahassee, Fla., the 24-hour network says it will produce news "by black people for black people," and expects to reach 33 million households -- mainly in large African-American markets like New York City, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Its mission is to "provide intelligent programming that is informative, educational, entertaining, inspiring and empowering to its African-American audience."

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BNC Chairman and former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts co-founded the network with cable television veteran Bob Brillante.

"Who is in the marketplace today that talks, in terms of wellness, abut sickle cell anemia?" Watts asked, referring to the blood disorder most prevalent among African Americans. "Who in the marketplace today is talking about [Historically Black Colleges or Universities]?"

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The BNC said it will look at policy views from the the African-American Mayors Association in urban cities and from the Congressional Black Caucus.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner and billionaire businessman Shahid "Shad" Khan, the only Muslim owner in the NFL, is the network's largest investor.

"I believe there is an undeniable calling for everything the Black News Channel will deliver," Khan said in a statement. "We get to answer that calling."

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The new network will be available from carriers Spectrum, Charter, Xfinity and Dish, the network said.

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