TheGrio
TypeDigital broadcast television network
Country
AvailabilityNationwide
HeadquartersBeverly Hills, California
OwnerAllen Media Group
Launch date
December 22, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-12-22)
Former names
Light TV (2016-2021)
Picture format
1080i master feed (cable and satellite distribution), reduced to 480i SDTV for most over-the-air affiliates
AffiliatesList of affiliates
Official website
thegrio.com
thegriotv.com
ReplacedBlack News Channel (after network purchase and merger into TheGrio TV)

TheGrio, styled as thegrio, is an American television network and website with news, opinion, entertainment and video content geared toward Black Americans.[1]

Originally launched in June 2009 as a division of NBC News,[2][3] it became a division of MSNBC in 2013. It was founded by the team who created the documentary film Meeting David Wilson. In 2014, it was sold to its founders.[4] In June 2016, Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios acquired the site.[5]

The TV channel was founded as Light TV in 2016 by reality television producer Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey, as an inspirational network as part of his chairmanship of MGM Television, which operated the network. It was sold to Entertainment Studios in late 2020, and relaunched as TheGrio TV in January 2021, with a Black-specific programming focus.

After Entertainment Studios purchased the assets of the bankrupt Black News Channel in late July 2022, that network was merged into TheGrio TV on August 1, including the former's existing cable, satellite and advertiser supported on-demand streaming carriage, and plans to add more news and commentary to TheGrio TV's schedule.[6]

History as web site

TheGrio's editorial mandate is to "focus on news and events that have a unique interest and pronounced impact within the national African Americans audience,"[7] offering what co-founder and Executive Editor David Wilson feels "are underrepresented in existing national news outlets".

The website's name is derived from the word griot, the term for a West African oral historian and storyteller.[8]

Personnel

Founders

(*) no longer with the company

Leadership

Television network

LightTV (2015–2020)

The then-new over-the-top (OTT) faith-based channel was under development as early as September 2014 when MGM purchased 55% of One Three Media and LightWorkers Media, owned by Hearst Entertainment, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, and consolidated them into United Artists Media Group.[11] With MGM purchasing Hearst and Burnett and Downey's shares in UAMG, the channel was still a planned streaming service. However, Hearst and Burnett and Downey retained their stakes in the channel.[12]

MGM announced the formation of Light TV on December 15, 2015, with a launch planned for December on thirteen major market stations owned by Fox Television Stations.[13] The network launched on January 20, 2016[14] with two stations, and the rest of the group's stations.

The network was intended to carry new and original content from LightWorkers as part of Burnett's chairmanship of MGM's television division, but never ended up carrying any new content, only featuring rerun and library content already seen on MGM's This TV (a film-oriented network), along with low-cost barter programming such as Heartland, which was already in wide syndication across multiple channels, along with other generic inspirational or family-friendly content. By 2019, the network added paid programming which made up its late night and early morning schedule, reducing its programming commitment further.[15]

TheGrio TV (2021–present)

Light TV and This TV were both sold by MGM TV in October 2020 to the Allen Media Group division of Entertainment Studios.[16] On December 3, 2020, it was announced that the network would be relaunched as TheGrio.TV on January 15, 2021, carrying lifestyle and entertainment programming of interest to the Black American community as an extension of the website.[17]

That same day, Light TV's satellite transponder space was taken over by Entertainment Studios, which stopped carrying programming in the interim and instead transmitted a test pattern promoting the launch of TheGrio (later a looping launch promo), while MGM continued to carry a stream of Light TV through the network's website. Fox Television Stations confirmed its stations would be a part of TheGrio's charter launch group, and much of its affiliate body transferred over through the month-long dark period, though some stations departed for other networks.[18] The network officialy relaunched as TheGrio on January 15, 2021, that year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and that same day MGM handed over the domain of Light TV to Entertainment Studios, ending the stream of Light TV.

Programming

Light TV featured several series and movies meant to fit the network's family-oriented approach, including content from the MGM film and TV library or acquired through outside sources.[19][20] Infomercials were added to the Light TV lineup in 2019, occupying all of the overnight hours and into the early morning.

Current programming

Below is a current list of programming broadcast on TheGrio:[21]

Former programming

Affiliates

Light TV initially launched on subchannels of fourteen Fox and MyNetworkTV stations owned by Fox Television Stations, with most of the initial affiliates being owned-and-operated stations of the Fox Broadcasting Company.[23] MGM then offered the network to stations outside the initial markets.[24]

City Station[25] Physical
channel
Virtual
channel
Owner (management company) Date of affiliation Notes
Alabama
Greensboro WDVZ-CD 3 3.2 University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa WVUA 6 23.2 June 1, 2017
Birmingham WVTM-TV 7 13.4 Hearst Television 2021
Arizona
Phoenix KSAZ-TV 10 10.4 Fox Television Stations 2017
Arkansas
Harrison K26GS-D 26 26.4 Reynolds Media, Inc. 2017
Little Rock KTVV-LD 18 18.2 Larry Morton
California
Fresno KAIL 7 7.2 Tri-State Christian Television October 19, 2017
Los Angeles KTTV 11 11.3 Fox Television Stations 2020
Sacramento KCSO-LD 3 33.4 NBCUniversal 2018
Santa Barbara KZDF-LD 8 8.3 HC2 Holdings December 2017
Colorado
Sterling KCDO-TV 23.6, 34.6[26] 10.1 E. W. Scripps Company 2017 KCDO-TV 3's display channel for Light TV is 10.1[26]
District of Columbia
Washington WRZB-LD 61 31.1 J. Christopher Blair
(DC Broadcasting, Inc.)
2021
Florida
Miami WSVN 7.2[27] 7.2 Sunbeam Television July 14, 2017[28]
Orlando WRBW 28 65.4 Fox Television Stations 2020
Georgia
Atlanta WAGA-TV 27 5.4 Fox Television Stations 2017
Hawaii
Honolulu KWHE-TV 31 14.3 Family Broadcasting Corporation 2017
Idaho
Boise KRID-LD 22 22.7 Karlo Maalouf[29] July 2017
Idaho Falls KVUI 31 31.3 Ventura Broadcasting
Twin Falls KXTF 34 35.3 Tri-State Christian Television
Illinois
Chicago WFLD 24 32.4 Fox Television Stations 2018
Marion WTCT 30.5[30] 27.3 Tri-State Christian Television
Oakwood Hills WCHU-LD 7.2[31] 59.2 Venture Technologies Group, LLC December 2020 Relocated from WPWR-TV 50.3 and WFLD 32.4
Oswego (Chicago)
Pekin (Peoria)
WAOE 39.3[32] 59.3 Venture Technologies Group 2017
Indiana
Angola WINM 12 12.3 Tri-State Christian Television September 2017
Fort Wayne WEIJ-LD 38.5[33] 38.3
Indianapolis WALV-CD 46 46.4 Tegna, Inc.
South Bend WNDU-TV 27 16.4 Gray Television January 31, 2022
Iowa
Des Moines KDMI 19.5[34] 19.3 Tri-State Christian Television
Iowa City KWKB 25 20.5 Tri-State Christian Television 2017
Kansas
Wichita KAGW-CD 24 26.7 Great Plains Television
Kentucky
Lexington WLJC-TV 7 65.2 Hour of Harvest
Louisville WBNA 8 21.3 Word Broadcasting Network March 2017[35]
Louisiana
Baton Rouge KPBN-LD 14 14.4 Pelican Broadcasting Network January 1, 2018
Monroe KMCT-TV 22 39.11 WGGS Inc. May 1, 2021
New Orleans WDSU 19 6.5 Hearst Television] October 5, 2021
Maryland
Baltimore WBAL-TV 12 11.4 Hearst Television September 24, 2021
Michigan
Detroit WHNE-LD 20.1[36] 14.1 Tait Broadcasting, LLC[36] Since late August 2017
Traverse City-Cadillac WMNN-LD 14.6[37] 26.6 Freelancer Television Broadcasting, Inc.[37] Since August 2017
Flint/Saginaw/Bay City WAQP 48.5[38] 49.3 Tri-State Christian Television Since September 2017
Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo WTLJ 24 54.3 2018
Minnesota
MinneapolisSaint Paul KMSP-TV 9 9.5 Fox Television Stations 2017
Missouri
Kansas City KSMO-TV 32.4[39] 62.2 Gray Television May 6, 2018
Springfield, Missouri KRFT-LD 21 8.2 Craft Broadcasting November 9, 2017[40]
Nevada
Las Vegas KGNG-LD 26 47.5 King Kong Broadcasting, Inc.[41] October 23, 2017 Century Link Cable Channel 22
Reno KTVN 11 2.2 Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. 2018
New Mexico
Albuquerque KTVS-LD 36.1[42] 36.1 Alpha Omega Broadcasting[42] October 2017[43] (physical and virtual) channel 36.3 is a simulcast of 36.1[42]
New York
Albany WNYA 13.4[44] 51.2 Hubbard Broadcasting November 1, 2017 Replaced Antenna TV
Jamestown WNYB 26.5[45] 26.3 Tri-State Christian Television ?
Buffalo WBNF 15.5[46] 15.3 Tri-State Christian Television
Syracuse WWLF-LD 35.2[47] 35.2 Metro TV, Inc. September 1, 2021
New York City WNYW 5.4 5.4 Fox Television Stations December 2016
North Carolina
Charlotte WJZY 47.10[48] 46.8 Nexstar Media Group 2017
Ohio
Cincinnati WBQC-LD ("WKRP-TV") 47.7[49] 25.5 Elliot Block 2018
Mansfield WMFD-TV 12 68.3 Mid-State Television, Inc. 2017
Marion WOCB-CD 22.5[50] 39.5 Central Ohio Assoc. of Chr. Broadcasters
Oklahoma
Oklahoma City KOCO-TV 7 5.5 Hearst Television 2021
Pennsylvania
Johnstown WWCP-TV 8 8.3 Cunningham Broadcasting
(operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
2021
Philadelphia WTXF-TV 31.5[51] 29.3 Fox Television Stations 2017
Pittsburgh WPCW 11 19.5 CBS News and Stations 2021
South Carolina
Greenville WGGS-TV 16.6[52] 16.4 Carolina Christian Broadcasting 2017
Tennessee
Chattanooga WRCB 3 3.2 Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. 2018
Nashville WLLC-LD 42.3 42.3 JKB Associates 2021
Texas
Austin KGBS-CD 19 19.5 HC2 Holdings October 9, 2017
DallasFort Worth KDFI 27 27.5 Fox Television Stations 2017
Houston KTXH 19 20.3 2020
Lubbock KMYL-LD 22 14.2 Gray Television February 6, 2022
San Antonio KGMM-CD 24.4[53] 24.2 CNZ Communications
Utah
Ogden KULX-CD 14 10.5 NBCUniversal
Salt Lake City KTMW 20 20.5
Virginia
Grundy WLFG 49.4[54] 68.2 Living Faith Ministries, Inc. February 3, 2018
Washington
Seattle KYMU-LD 6 6.2[55] Seattle 6 Broadcasting LLC 2019
Wisconsin
Milwaukee WISN-TV 28 12.5 Hearst Television September 30, 2021

Former affiliates

Market Station Channel Current owner Years of affiliation Notes
Chicago, Illinois WPWR-TV 50.3 Fox Television Stations 2016-2018
Colorado Springs, Colorado KWHS-LD 51.2[56] Christian Television Network 2017-2019 Replaced by CTN Lifestyle[56]
Houston, Texas KRIV-TV 26.2 Fox Television Stations 2017-2020 Decades and theGrio exchanged channel positions, with theGrio activated on KTXH-DT3 on launch day.[57]
Los Angeles, California KCOP-TV 13.8 [58] 2016-2020
New Orleans, Louisiana WHNO 20.2 Christian Television Network 2016-2018 Replaced by CTN Lifestyle
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma KBZC-LD 42.2 HC2 Holdings 201?-2021 Replaced by CBN News Channel, and later Revenue Frontier
Orlando WOFL 35.2 Fox Television Stations 2016-2020
Tampa Bay WTOG 44.3[59] CBS News and Stations 2017-2021
Tulsa, Oklahoma KWHB 47.2 Christian Television Network 2017-2019 Replaced by Dabl
KGEB 53.2 GEB America 2019-2021 Replaced by Shop LC
Washington, D.C. WDCA 20.4 Fox Television Stations 2017-2018 Was dropped due to channel share with sister station WTTG

References

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  5. ^ Debbie Emery (June 14, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires TheGrio". TheWrap. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  6. ^ "Black News Channel is now theGrio" (Press release). TheGrio. August 1, 2022. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  7. ^ Ham, Jon (August 10, 2009). "NBC’s theGrio.com needs diversity training". Carolina Journal Online.
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