Will the Black Family Channel deal change GMC’s content/focus? Or was it just a way to quickly gain more carriage? BFC shared our goals of serving the family audience through programming that empowers, uplifts and inspires. We continue to serve that audience. Gaining 60 major markets and millions of subs on one day is quite a rare coup. We are now in each of the top ten markets and 22 of the top 25. We are in the process of marketing GMC with our new affiliates in those markets, which is no small undertaking. But it took GMC a long time to find its sea legs. Now that you’re getting some good carriage, where do you go from here in terms of growth? Actually, as an independent, we have grown extremely fast. Remember, we must get subscribers the old fashion way: by proving our value to operators. We’ll have more than 20 million digital subscriber homes—out of a potential 40 million or so—by year’s end. We have corporate agreements with five of the six largest MSOs and are having productive conversations with everyone else, including the NCTC systems. There are also growth opportunities through VOD, HD, iTV, broadband and mobile. Advertisers seem obsessed with that MTV/Comedy Central demo. You guys do something different. How difficult has it been to educate advertisers and distributors about GMC? Our family entertainment programming targets diverse cultures and age groups, and crosses all denominations. Our viewers are highly motivated to tell others about the channel and the brands that support it, and marketers and distributors are attracted to this high level of engagement—so much so that we are the fastest growing channel of 2007. Blue-chip companies such as Coca-Cola, Lincoln, Wal-Mart, Kraft, General Mills, Allstate and others have come aboard recently. How much has the thirst for family-friendly fare among operators helped GMC find carriage vs other factors? For the first time, cable operators have a 24-hour, advertiser-supported, high-quality music channel to offer their subscribers that is not offensive and sends a positive message of hope and love. GMC’s ability to deliver a passionate and diverse audience interested in this music has driven distribution with our cable partners. What have been some key milestones and strategies that helped you get to 20 million subs? The first milestone was coming out of the gate with a top five operator deal, with Cox. A key strategy was to pursue blue chip advertisers from day one. We had 30 major advertisers within 24 months. Our diversity is another key driver: you have rock gospel in Seattle, soulful gospel in Philadelphia, pop gospel in Nashville, hip-hop gospel in Atlanta and country gospel in Texas. We are committed to bringing the diverse musical sounds from these communities to the masses.

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Pai to Leave FCC in 2021

FCC chmn Ajit Pai intends to depart the Commission on Jan 20.

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