Urban Perspectives, a weekly local urban affairs program, has received a 2015 Midwest Regional Emmy nomination for Program/Host.
The half-hour program “spotlights an array of community leaders, organizations and local newsmakers in business, education, health and the arts,” said a Black Music America (BMA) press release. The show, which debuted in June 2014, airs every Sunday morning at 5:30 am on WCCO-TV Channel 4, and is rebroadcasted Sundays at 12 pm on BMA cable channel 937 on Comcast.
“We’re very excited about it,” said BMA Networks President Pete Rhodes last week in a MSR phone interview.
Founded in 1984, BMA is the Twin Cities’ first Black-owned and operated cable channel. It is a digital music, entertainment and production service for Black arts and culture in the Twin Cities area, available to all Comcast Twin Cities customers.
“We know the community,” continued Rhodes, whose operations are housed at WCCO’s downtown Minneapolis broadcast studios on Nicollet Mall.
“There have been shows over the years,”— most notably the former Harambee public affairs show on KARE-TV that primarily focused on Blacks — said Rhodes, who added that Urban Perspectives uniquely fills a programming void in the Twin Cities “broadcast landscape…to tell positive stories” about the Black community. Being located at WCCO “gave me the opportunity to stay close and keep the package on the table” as he pitched his show concept, he said.
Urban Perspectives also features special segments such as “Shining Stars,” that focuses on young people, and “Photos of the Week” that showcases community events. “There are literally thousands of [positive stories]” on the Black community that should be spotlighted as well as a regular focus on pertinent issues, explained Rhodes.
Minneapolis is a top-20 television and radio market — #15 in television and #16 in radio. But when asked why there aren’t more Black-oriented programs on local terrestrial media, Rhodes responded, “I am not sure why it is not happening. It is a mission and charge of the local broadcasting [stations] to provide programming that talk specifically to diverse audiences. I am not sure why the other stations haven’t.”
According to Nielsen, Urban Perspectives is “a constant program leader” that reaches an average of 15,000 homes each week.
“After 30 years of what we do,” said Rhodes, “we still see the need, even more so for platforms like BMA Networks and others…to provide the images of our community that are positive. So as we are able to do this, and we get the support of the community to do it, we will continue to strive and expand on our footprint in Minnesota.”
BMA also works with other local organizations, such as a series of video programs featuring KMOJ-FM on-air personalities and other staff. “We are hoping to do more with our local partners like KMOJ,” said Rhodes, who added that he’s especially looking forward to working with young, up-and-comers, such as local recording artist Maria Isa, and his niece, Bianca “Blovely” Rhodes who owns a production company.
The Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards Gala is scheduled for Sunday, October 3, at the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America.
Now after a year on the air, and a local Emmy nomination, Rhode said he was “excited about the 2016 season” for Urban Perspectives. “We are just really proud that BMA Networks continues to be here.”
This year’s Midwest Regional Emmy winners will be announced at the 2015 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards Gala, Saturday October 3, at the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. Visit http://midwestemmys.org for more info.
Visit www.blackmusicamerica.com for more information about BMA Network programming.
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Charles Hallman is the senior staff writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org