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Byron Allen: Broadcasters Can Lead the Way

Byron Allen
Byron Allen (Image credit: Allen Media Group)

Media mogul Byron Allen said he’s excited about the NAB Show’s return to Las Vegas, about broadcasting and digital media and about the 40th anniversary of Allen Media Group-owned The Weather Channel. 

Allen’s company owns 27 TV stations along with pay TV channels including The Weather Channel, which is launching a Spanish-language outlet as a free streaming channel later this year. Climate change awareness makes the service important, he said. “The Weather Channel is leading the charge and leading the conversation in ‘let’s work together and let’s combat climate change and global warming,’ ” he said in a recent interview. 

Allen, an NAB Television Board member, will be appearing at a fireside chat with outgoing NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith on April 27. He’s also on an April 26 panel about new technology enhancing storytelling on The Weather Channel. And he is receiving a leadership award at a breakfast event at the show. “It’s great. I mean, I love it. I’m looking forward to it.”

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Allen was reportedly interested in buying Tegna, which recently agreed to be sold to private equity-backed Standard General for $8.6 billion including $3.2 billion in assumed debt. Allen said he could not comment on Tegna but that he remains interested in buying TV stations, especially affiliates of Big Four networks. “We’re on the hunt, big time,” he said. 

AMG has been launching free ad-supported streaming services, including Sports.TV, TheGrio.TV and HBCUGo.TV, along with Local Now and The Weather Channel en Español, launching in the second or third quarter. Broadcasting and cable outlets including his Entertainment Studios Networks still interest AMG’s founder, chairman and CEO, though.  

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“And also, I have to tell you, the industry is appreciating Black-owned media,” Allen said. “I would say 95% of them want to lean in. There’s that 5% that tries to minimize, which is why I sued McDonald’s for $10 billion.” That suit, claiming McDonald’s has discriminated against Black-owned media companies (including The Weather Channel and ES Networks) in ad buying, is working its way through federal courts.

“Listen,” Allen said. “I think that this industry has a huge opportunity to be the leader, make an example and show the rest of corporate America how to do it and how to help us all be better and achieve something that really is long overdue. It’s something we need to put behind us and do the right way and make us all better and really lean in to make sure every American is successful, and I do mean every American, young, old, Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, everybody.” ■

Kent Gibbons
Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.