For years, cable service provider Comcast has opted not to carry African-American owned channels on its nationwide platforms, and Stanley E. Washington has had enough.

Washington, president and CEO of the newly-formed National Coalition of African-American Owned Media, or NCAAOM, is calling for African-American families to disconnect their Comcast services immediately and boycott the company until it changes its policy.

Comcast generates about $3 billion per month and $36 billion per year from approximately 24 million cable subscribers. According to a press release issued by the coalition, in major cities with large Black populations, African-Americans contribute around $15 billion of Comcast’s revenue.

The company carries 11 cable networks and On Demand programming that specifically target the African-American community. But while these channels are aimed at African-Americans, they aren’t 100 percent Black-owned. Majority-owned African-American channels such as the Black Television News Channel and the Africa Channel are offered by Comcast in some areas, but not on its national platform.

Some African-American media leaders, however, don’t share Washington’s view on Comcast.

“Comcast has the best infrastructure of inclusion to build upon in the media industry,” Will Griffin, chairman and chief executive officer of Hip Hop on Demand, wrote in testimony posted on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Web site.

Frank Washington, chief executive officer of ethnic language television service TV Crossings, echoed Griffin’s sentiments in his testimony, also posted on the Judiciary Committee’s Web site. “Comcast should be acknowledged for realizing the power and promise of this country’s ethnic communities,” said Washington. “Not every media company does.”

Comcast awaits FCC approval of its major merger with the much larger NBC/Universal company. Stanley Washington said he fears that the deal, if approved, would leave no room for the inception and broadcast of fully Black-owned channels.

“We just want African-American owners to be able to come to the table like everyone else,” Washington told Blackvoicenews.com. “When you really start thinking about the areas that are critically important to us African-Americans, one of the biggest issues is our ability to own, distribute and create our own image.”

 

DavidRushing

SpecialtotheAFRO