All News Channel was launched in 1989, through a partnership formed between Viacom and Hubbard called CONUS Communications (CONUS being an acronym for Continental U.S.), which included a news video-sharing service for local television stations nationwide, particularly those affiliated with a major broadcast network. Nearly all of ANC's video came from these stations. CONUS also maintained a small news bureau in Washington, D.C. It was the first nationwide challenger to established cable news channel CNN since the Satellite News Channel folded in 1983. From shortly after its inception until the early 1990s, All News Channel produced daily news updates that aired on Showtime (at the time, owned by ANC co-parent Viacom) during the premium channel's promo breaks. The channel also produced similar updates for USA Network from 1992 to 2000; the newsbriefs were originally produced at KYW-TV in Philadelphia (which had been producing other news services), but management and newscast changes at that station caused the network to move production.
All News Channel was never profitable throughout its history and could not withstand the challenges of MSNBC and Fox News Channel, which pushed ANC to fifth place in the ratings among all cable news channels (behind Headline News). It benefited in part by being the only news channel on the USSB satellite service (USSB, as with ANC, was owned by Hubbard Broadcasting); after USSB merged into DirecTV, it was then one of five such channels, and it no longer had the explicit backing of its satellite provider. The channel shut down on September 30, 2002; stations that carried ANC have since replaced the channel's programming with syndicated and/or paid programming (especially common with NBC stations as the network no longer has an overnight newscast) or have expanded their clearance of overnight news programs supplied by their affiliated network.
ANC aired up to six live half-hour newscasts each day (airing at 4:00 a.m., 4:30 a.m. (on occasion), 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. Central Time), with each edition being repeated until the next live newscast aired; however, exceptions to this set scheduling were made for major breaking news stories. ANC also co-produced the syndicated morning business news program First Business, before its national distribution rights were transferred to MGM Television shortly after ANC shut down.
If mistakes were made during the live broadcasts, a corrected segment would be produced (sometimes live) for the repeat broadcasts. ANC operated on a fixed schedule, where each news block ran the same length every day, and commercials (which consisted mainly of direct response advertisements, and by the 1990s, promos for USSB's – and later DirecTV's – slate of general entertainment and premium channels; the latter type of ads were also seen on some stations that carried the channel's programming at times) aired at the same time every day. The on-air talent was mostly exclusive to All News Channel; meteorologists from Hubbard's flagship stationKSTP-TV (channel 5), the ABC affiliate for the Minneapolis–St. Paul market, recorded weather segments for All News Channel until 2002. Later, ANC show producers voiced their own weather segments, along with other stories.
Broadcast television stations in many markets carried All News Channel programming during the overnight hours in lieu of signing off, or scheduling movies, infomercials or other syndicated programming to fill overnight timeslots (similar to the overnight carriage of Headline News that was also common among stations during the same timeframe). In later years, as NBC, ABC and CBS launched their own overnightnewsprograms, ANC programming continued to air on stations affiliated with those networks as a complement to these programs and also to provide news programming in weekend time periods when network overnight newscasts were not airing. In addition, since ANC's newscasts never contained any copyrighted music (by design), stations broadcasting the ANC feed could stay on the air longer without increasing their ASCAP, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), and/or SESAC fees.