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Byron Allen: ‘I’m Building One of the Largest Media Companies, And I Happen to Be Black’

“Most people who deal with me know who I am. I’m very clear. I’m very loud. I’m very proud.”

Maddy Troy

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On Sunday’s episode of NPR’s Consider This podcast, host Eric Deggans spoke with Allen Media Group Founder, Chairman, and CEO Byron Allen about the future of Black ownership in American media.

Earlier this year, there were indications that Paramount Global, the owner of BET (Black Entertainment Television), might consider selling the network. This news caught the attention of prominent African American entrepreneurs who expressed their interest in acquiring it.

Allen was among the interested parties — as were Diddy and Tyler Perry. He has been actively acquiring various broadcast and online outlets in recent years. While Allen’s portfolio includes media platforms targeting Black audiences, such as the Black News Channel, he has also made acquisitions that cater to a broader demographic, such as The Weather Channel.

“In building my company, it was real simple. I’m building one of the world’s largest media companies, if not the world’s largest media company, and I happen to be Black,” Allen stated.

Allen has also made a name for himself as an activist for the Black community, generating polarizing litigation against McDonald’s for predatory advertising practices. “McDonald’s takes in about a hundred billion a year out of 39,000 stores, and a lot of it is out of the Black community. McDonald’s is spending approximately, we believe, a billion dollars a year in advertising – a billion. And Black-owned media, when I filed the lawsuit, was getting less than $5 million when we believe they’re pulling about 40 billion in sales out of the Black community. So I filed a $10 billion lawsuit against them using the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1881.”

Deggans then brought up the response issued by McDonalds quoting from the company’s public statement, “Byron Allen files baseless lawsuits as part of a public smear campaign against our company to try to line his pockets. We will not be coerced by these tactics and will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Allen responded, referencing California Civil Code of 1711 that says if a company makes a pledge, you have to live up to it, then he noted the pledge made by “white corporate America” during the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically citing a Washington Post article where a number of organizations pledged over $50 billion to Black America. Allen claims less than 1 billion of that has been lived up to, making an argument for rightful legal action.

Deggans then asked Allen about his recent appearance on Bloomberg, referencing comments about Allen purchasing Tegna, a media company that manages 64 TV stations across the country.

Deggans said,”You own lots of non-, you know, Black-focused media platforms. How do you make sure that the companies that you own are fair and free from racism and prejudice? And in particular, if you’re going to buy a bunch of Tegna stations, will you be able to ensure that their local news coverage, for example, is free from these problems?”

“Absolutely. I mean, that goes without saying. Most people who deal with me know who I am. I’m very clear, I’m very loud, I’m very proud, and they know that I take action, and I take immediate action when I see something that I believe is not right.” Allen stated.

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Media Business

SPECai Welcomes Adams Radio Group and Southern Stoen Communications as New Customers

The two radio companies join other broadcasters like Connoisseur Media, Summit Media, and Magnum Communications at adopting the product.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the SpecAI logo

SPECai, the artificial intelligence product created in conjunction with ENCO Systems, Benztown, and Compass Media Networks, has inked a deal with Adams Radio Group and Southern Stone Communications to use the technology.

Southern Stone Communications will utilize the product in Jackson, TN; Valdosta, GA; Daytona Beach, FL; and Huntsville, AL. Meanwhile, Adams Radio Group will utilize it at stations in Tallahassee, FL; Las Cruces, NM; Valparaiso, IN; and Ft. Wayne, IN.

“SPECai is absolutely transformative. I was amazed by the blend of technology and creativity. Within minutes, our sellers are able to create top-notch spec spots,” said Adams Radio Group Northern Indiana Vice President and Market Manager Jennifer Figg. “The interface is easy and intuitive, saving us time and making the production process more efficient. Each spot is crafted with a professional touch. We only just started and have already closed new business.”

“I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly our sellers could create a great sounding commercial, with no help from production, and use it to help close new business,” added Southern Stone Communications Vice President of Sales and General Manager Chip Thomas. “I would highly recommend this product for any sales team looking for creative ways to close more business.”

The two radio companies join other broadcasters like Connoisseur Media, Summit Media, and Magnum Communications in adopting the product.

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Media Business

Women Prefer AM/FM Radio to Everything But Their Phone, New Study Shows

Traditional radio eclipsed Amazon (43%), Netflix (40%), Apple (26%), Spotify (26%) and TikTok (24%) among other strong digital audio and video brands.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of an on-air light

As more and more listeners spend time with digital audio, the role of AM/FM Radio is questioned. However, according to a new study, the medium is still a strong one, especially with women.

New metrics released by Westwood One’s Audio Active Group shows that a study of 1001 women between 15-64 shows that 46% said they “love” their favorite AM/FM Radio station. While 51% said they “love” their mobile phone as the top vote-getter, terrestrial radio came in second.

Traditional radio eclipsed Amazon (43%), Netflix (40%), Apple (26%), Spotify (26%) and TikTok (24%) among other strong digital audio and video brands. Radio, however, dropped to 22% when respondents were asked about their love of the medium in general and not their favorite specific stations.

While the study shows women “love” radio, they admitted in their responses that the medium doesn’t often mesh with the busy lifestyle they currently live between family, relationships, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Also, nearly 60% of women agreed that “Today’s music is not as good as it was years ago.” Another factor of decreased listening is that women find the number of commercials unbearable and believe many ads are “annoying.”

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Media Business

Nielsen Debuts The Media Distributor Gauge Showing TV Audience By Company

In the first report of the new gauge, 14 companies saw a 1.0% share or great of the total TV usage.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the Nielsen logo

Nielsen has unveiled The Media Distributor Gauge, which will provide information on television audience size on a per-company basis. 

The new measurement category became a necessity as streaming television continues to grow with many broadcast and cable networks utilizing the new technology as an alternate distribution method.

Coinciding with The Gauge, which measures the method by which viewers watch television, The Media Distributor Gauge is the insight into measuring an expanding and changing field.

“With more programs available across platforms, it’s vital for creators, advertisers, and the industry at large to understand what and where audiences are watching,” said Karthik Rao, CEO of Nielsen. “The Media Distributor Gauge is a perfect complement to The Gauge and serves as the first convergent TV comparison of its kind. Together, these reports paint the most complete picture of TV viewing today, which is critical as we head into the Upfront.”

In the first report of the new gauge, 14 companies saw a 1.0% share or great of the total TV usage.

The Walt Disney Company accounted for 11.5% of TV, as 42% of that figure came from Disney+ and Hulu.

YouTube (9.6%), NBCUniversal (8.9%), Paramount (8.8%), Warner Bros. Discovery (8.1%), Netflix (7.6%), and FOX (6.1%) all finished between 5-10% of the total viewing share.

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