Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ellenoir1.blogspot Talks With Black Family Channel Co-Founder

This blog is arguable one of the first entertainment sites to report the very imminent closing of the Black Family Channel. At the time it was a "developing" story. Last night, I spoke with co-founder, Alvin James, about the news. He confirmed the network was indeed shutting its doors and stated "legally we've [the founders] got some things to work out amongst us." And when asked what will happen next to the relatively new production facility in Decatur, he had no specifics just again expressed having to work out some legal issues amongst his partners. And that was it. He was not ready to make a public statement yet, nor was I prepared to record a soundbite for playback. Still, the fact that I had the opportunity to get a statement from the one of company's co-founder, possibly before my source, is somewhat amazing to me.

So how did I happen to run into Alvin James, literally 3 hours after writing about his company? Literally, I was at the right place at the right time. James and myself were at a private event last night in the heart of Hollywood, which I'll write about later. The moment I saw him I recognized his face, but could not figure out why. After asking at least 4 people that appeared to be "in the know", I realized most of the guests there did not recognize him either. But then again why would they? Many people are familiar with the network, not it's founders. So, at the risk of appearing like a flirt, I nervously approached him, touched his shoulder, and said "You look very familiar to me, what is your name?" He turned slightly towards me and said, "I'm Alvin James". Of course, while internally placing a feather in my cap, I proceeded to tell him who he was, as if he already didn't know. "You're one-fifth of the founders of the Black Family Channel." He smiled. Then as if reciting the alphabet I went down the names of the other co-founders and their distinctions, but in my nervousness got hemmed up on the fifth co-owner. He politely corrected me. Then I also informed him a dear friend of mine used to work for the company. He said he knew her, so I went straight for the jugular. "So, the Black Family Channel is closing." He paused briefly, then as stated before, confirmed the news but had nothing definite to say.

Now as I write this entry I realize maybe I should have told him about my own experience with the network. Several years ago, when it was still the Major Broadcasting Company (MBC), I worked briefly for the network as an Assistant Director for a telethon it broadcasted. The telethon raised money for Princeville, NC, a small historic Black town that was totally destroyed by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Truly, it was a "Katrina" before Katrina and made international news. I also helped produce a segment that aired during the telethon. But for some reason, none of that came to mind when I met Alvin James last night; I was too busy trying to be a pseudo reporter thinking about how to ask about the network closing. Boy, was that a missed opportunity! But I digress. Really, it's a shame the Black Family Channel will be no more. It was one of the few television networks that seemed to really care about its audience, not just the bottom line.

Photo obtained from Nandotimes.com

1 comment:

a student said...

You were in the right place at the right time. Did he appear upset that the network was closing?