By Roz Edward (Michigan Chronicle, NNPA Member)
The Impact Network, the only independent African American-owned and operated Christian television network in the United States, will now be available in even more homes, thanks to an expanded distribution agreement with Comcast’s Xfinity TV platform. The Impact Network features programming on urban ministries, gospel music, lifestyle and entertainment.
“We’re excited about the commitment Comcast has made to continue to increase diversity in all communities and to the African American community by expanding distribution of The Impact Network,” said Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, the co-founder and CEO of the Impact Network.
The Impact Network’s mission is to provide Christian and educational programming designed to “empower the spiritual, physical, financial and emotional needs of the community and viewers.”
The network line-up includes television ministries by The Impact Network’s co-founder Bishop Jackson, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Pastor Paula White, Pastor Rod Parsley, Bishop I.V. Hilliard, Bishop Charles Blake, Bishop Stanly Williams, Bishop Paul Morton, Bishop Henry Fernandez, Pastor Joel Olsteen and more. It also offers original programming such as Dr. Beverly Jackson’s “Living Free,” “The Jewel Tankard Show,” and “Impact Better Health/Diet Free Life” with Dr. Robert Ferguson.
The Impact Network was founded in 2010 by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson and Dr. Beverly Jackson in Detroit, Mich., and is the fastest growing African American-owned and operated independent, Christian television network in the U.S.
Expanding on Comcast’s Xfinity TV, The Impact Network will now reach over 75 million households in the U.S., Africa, The Bahamas, and Virgin Islands on various distributors. Before Jackson purchased the station in 2010, there wasn’t a single African American Christian-owned television network in the country or the world. Black preachers were at the mercy of mainstream networks, that were prone to pull the plug on their Sunday morning shows for reasons as simple as personal disagreements and as complex as racial and religious oppression.
“Anytime we wanted to [air] broadcasts, we always had to go to other people to get our ministries shown to television audiences,” said Bishop Jackson.
With the assistance of broadcast programming veteran Terry Arnold, former president and CEO of Bell Broadcasting Company (WCHB and WJZZ), Jackson was able to form an unprecedented alliance with AT&T’s DIRECTV and on November 30, 2015, the bishop was able to extend The Impact Network family of programs with a launch on the multi-channel platform. This was not the first partnership of its kind for the fledgling network.
“In 2011, we were able to partner with Dish Network, which gave us a much broader national audience covering the continental United States. Then we got with Comcast which gave us Michigan, Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana,” said Bishop Jackson.
Impact Network would go on to strike similar deals with The Bahamas and several African nations, placing faith-based programs in 950 million households worldwide, a real coup d’état for African American Christian television. The addition of DIRECTV access adds 20 million more viewing households to Impact Network’s viewing audience.
Minority- and women-owned broadcasts currently represent only five percent of all broadcasts currently airing in the United States.
Bishop Jackson admitted there was some initial discussion about basing the network’s headquarters in the suburbs, but decided to keep the network based in Detroit.
“We are helping to power the revitalization of Detroit. While we have Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske and Mike Illitch who are doing great things in our city, there are African Americans doing great things in Detroit, and we are going to tell those stories,” he said.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), said that the partnership between Comcast and The Impact Network is good news for Black America.
“We congratulate both Comcast and The Impact Network for working together to significantly enhance television broadcast opportunities for Black America,” said Chavis. “The NNPA and Comcast are also business partners in the marketplace across the nation and we support Black-owned businesses like The Impact Network.”
The Impact Network is now broadcasting 24-hours a day, seven days a week and can be viewed on DIRECTV’s channel 380 or on channel 268, DISH Network Channel 268 and Comcast’s Xfinity TV channel 400. Check local listings in your area for more information.