Friday, May 24, 2024

Roland Martin is back! New Daily News Show Launched on September 4th

“‘We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”

*This quote was on the front page of the first African American owned and operated newspaper, the Freedom’s Journal, published on March 16, 1827.

The publishers, Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm, understood the importance of news about and of interest to the Black community. News that was accurate and positive.

In the same spirit of Cornish and Russwurm, noted broadcast journalist Roland Martin has dedicated his career to telling our stories.

Most recently he was the host and managing editor of NewsOne Now on TVOne. The daily news show was the only show of its kind, a daily am news show tailored to the Black community, yet it was abruptly discontinued on December 21, 2018.

Black Twitter was in shock when the show ended. Countless faithful viewers of the show expressed their disappointment with TVOne. Hashtags like #BringBackNewsOneNow and #SaveNewsOneNow galvanized an online support group for those who felt like they lost a dear friend. Some vowed to stop watching TVOne because of the void that was created.

TVOne management has been quoted saying they had to end the show because it did not attract a wide audience or needed advertisement. Interestingly, TVOne increased NewsOne Now from 1 hour to 2 hours last September. So it was hard for some to believe the show was not doing well if they increased the timeslot.

Regarding the ending of the show, Martin stated, “I am undoubtedly saddened by NewsOne Now ending daily production. We set out to give America, specifically Black America, a show that spoke to our issues, concerns and unique perspective. And we did just that.”

NewsOne Now was on for four years. His show was the only daily morning news program where Black intellectuals, from every sector, could be seen at the table providing expert commentary.

Ironically, Roland Martin won the “Outstanding Host on a Talk/News Show!” in January at the NAACP Image Awards.

Well, the void in daily news geared for African Americans ended on September 4th when Roland Martin premiered his own show, ‘Roland Martin Unfiltered.’ Only this time, it’s a digital show, airing daily at 6 pm EST. He recently said it was hard for him to watch news because of what isn’t being discussed and who isn’t being heard.

Because of the lack of diversity and inclusion in the television industry, Blacks don’t always hear news that matters to them. Additionally, with all that is going on in politics now and the attacks on reputable media, there is a need for Martin to return with his unfiltered, truth telling, facts only style. He says it is just as important to have news for those on MLK Drive as for those on Wall Street. He will speak truth to power on his new daily digital show. Martin will dive deep into issues. The format will include taking the show on the road, having town halls and pop-up events.

Powered by the people, it will be news for us and by us! Viewers are encouraged to support the show by being paid members of the ‘Bring the Funk Fan Club.’ Just go to and select your membership level. Having fan support allows for the show to continue to be independent and the content not controlled by corporate advertisers. Martin describes the process of viewers supporting the show as critically important because African Americans have to “fund their own freedom.”

The show is Livestreamed on Facebook, Periscope, YouTube and Instagram TV. It can be watched on smartphones, tablets, IPads, and other smart devises. Once the Live show ends, it can be viewed by VOD. Those who miss the Live show can also see them when they are restreamed at 10 pm, 2 am, 6 am and 10 am EST.

The premier show included familiar commentators like Kristen Clarke, Spencer Overton, Liz Copeland, Dr. Greg Carr and Rev. Dr. William Barber. Key topics were the Brett Kavanaugh hearings for his Supreme Court nomination, Nike signing Colin Kaepernick for the 30th anniversary of their ‘Just Do it Campaign,’ the case of Crystal Mason being sentenced to prison for her mistakably trying to vote without her knowing it was a violation of her parole, and the legacy of Aretha Franklin.

Other familiar faces during the premier week included Barbara Arnwine, A. Scott Bolden, Avis Jones-Deweever, Tiffany Cross, Rashad Robinson and Eugene Craig III. Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP, has also provided his expert commentary.

The Black media, and especially Black newspapers, are struggling to stay in business. Many are unwilling to adapt to the changing times. It would behoove them to take note of how Roland Martin is staying relevant by using the various digital platforms as his primary way to get news out. Black media is a niche media.

As was recently seen with the demise of The Village Voice, niche media, like mainstream, legacy media, is on life-support.  Their demographics require news reporting tailored to their interests. But independent, niche news vehicles are constrained by the lack of resources to adequately satisfy the niche.

Niche media has always been an independent, alternative news source with little corporate support or influence. To survive and thrive, niche media must embrace digital platforms and not view them as add-ons, but as an integral part of the news gathering and dissemination process.  Roland Martin is trailblazing in this regard.

‘Roland Martin Unfiltered’ was launched in large part due to the financial support from Lee Saunders, American Federation of State County Municipal Employees.

clarene mitchell1
Clarene Mitchell

Clarene Mitchell is owner of TCM Communications LLC, a PR firm specializing in helping success driven professionals and businesses tell their stories through traditional and social media support. Clarene is also a regular Community Affairs Contributor on “IN THE KNOW” Radio Magazine Show.

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