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The golden years are yielding the most rewarding times for Curtis Symonds.

Long viewed as an innovator throughout his 25-year cable broadcasting career, Symonds, 55, has teamed with fellow industry stalwarts Cadance Walker and Clint Evans to form the braintrust behind what is arguably the single most significant upgrade to happen to HBCUs since the consortium of 105 institutions was formed nearly two centuries ago.

The Atlanta-based HBCU Network will soft launch later this summer, then as a stand alone, 24-7, 365-day-a-year sports, "edutainment" and lifestyle channel by Black History Month of 2012.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so energized about a project,” said CEO Symonds, the former BET executive once largely credited with helping the network grow its home subscriber base from 18 million to 65 million homes in less than a decade. “I’m a HBCU alum myself, one who competed in athletics, and I can tell you all the added exposure this will generate has been a long, long, long time in coming.”

And yet, it’s a scene that’s thoroughly played out in the hearts and minds of Symonds and his cohorts, over and over again. Having already inked licensing deals with the heavyweight likes of ESPN, Mid Eastern Southwestern, Southern Intercollegiate and Central Intercollegiate Conferences through their jointly and independently owned C3 Media LLC, the channel will feature a lineup composed of at least 28 percent sports and 21 percent of education-related content.

“We’re looking to be the place you go for all news, views and everything in between HBCU related,” said Walker, HBCU Network's executive vice president of programming. “Sports will be the cornerstone, the place for all the week’s top matchups. We know how much HBCU alums and students love their teams. Everything we’ve done has been strategic. Everyone knows Atlanta is the heart and soul of HBCU country.” (more)

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Article by GLENN MINNIS, Moving America | Read full article here