Black Family Channel
|Black Family Channel|
|Closed||April 30, 2007|
|Owned by||Major Broadcasting Corporation|
|Formerly called||MBC Network|
Black Family Channel (founded in 1999 as MBC Network) was a network for African American families and the only wholly black-owned and operated cable television network (BET, as seen below, is owned by Viacom; TV One is co-owned by Comcast & Radio One; Aspire, is co-owned by Magic Johnson & Intermedia Partners; Bounce TV is owned by Bounce Media LLC; & Revolt is co-owned by Comcast & Sean "Diddy" Combs). The network's schedule included a variety of programs including religious programs, sports, music, talk shows, and children's programs.
The network was started by noted Florida attorney & philanthropist Willie E. Gary, former all-star baseball player Cecil Fielder, four-time heavyweight boxing champ Evander Holyfield, Marlon Jackson of The Jackson 5, and broadcast television veteran Alvin James through their business venture Major Broadcasting Corporation.
The channel started off as Major Broadcasting Cable (MBC) Network. The name was rebranded Black Family Channel on October 1, 2004 in hopes that it would better identify the channel's content.
BFC would effectively be run by actor/director Robert Townsend, who developed original programming for the network, including its most notable effort—the children's educational game show, The Thousand Dollar Bee, in which children would participate in tournament-style rounds of spelling challenges toward which the champion would receive a $1000 bond for his or her college education.
Unlike its primary rival, the Viacom-owned Black Entertainment Television, Black Family Channel avoided rap and hip hop-based programming (they showed gospel music instead). The network was available in up to 16 million homes in the US.
On April 24, 2007, BFC announced that they would cease as a cable channel, effective April 30, 2007, as part of a deal in which BFC's programming and subscriber base would be sold to the Gospel Music Channel. On May 1, 2007, the deal was closed.
The station was an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.
The network was also carried on two low-power television stations, W23BC serving the Jackson, MS media market, and WRCX-LP, which serves the Dayton, Ohio area. W23BC has since affiliated with Colours TV and (more recently) America One. WRCX has since affiliated with Ion Television.
BFC Kids TV!
BFC Kids TV! (formerly MBC Kids, MBC for Kids, Kids on MBC and Kids MBC) was a children's programming block on Black Family Channel, launched in 2006, including programs like Aqua Kids, Thousand Dollar Bee, Blue Peter, Rainbow Brite, The Get-Along Gang, Dennis the Menace, Popples, King Leonardo and Ulysses 31.
- McGee, Sherri. "Broadcasting the Gospel". Black Enterprise. BlackEnterprise.com. Retrieved 1 November 1999.
- Harris, Hamil. "MBC Network Changes Name To Black Family Channel". Black Enterprise. BlackEnterprise.com. Retrieved 1 September 2004.
- Downey, Kevin. "Slow Build for Black Family Channel". Broadcasting & Cable. BroadcastingCable.com. Retrieved 10 February 2006.
- Moss, Linda. "Black Family Channel-Gospel Music Channel Deal Is Official". Multichannel News. Multichannel.com. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
- "Territory and Co-op Channels". Caribbean Cable Cooperative. CCTVCoop.com. Retrieved 24 November 2013.