iHeartMedia launches 24/7 Black Information Network today

BIN: Black Information Network

Radio giant iHeartMedia announced the launch today of a full-time national audio network “dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.”

BIN: Black Information Network will be headed by Tony Coles, former senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Chicago. Coles, who most recently was executive vice president of programming for the company’s west region, will be based in Chicago as president of BIN.

Tanita Myers, former director of operations for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” will serve as director of news operations for BIN.

Tony Coles

In Chicago, the 24/7 all-news service will be heard on the HD-2 subchannel of WVAZ 102.7-FM, the urban adult-contemporary station. In addition BIN will become the news service for V103 and urban contemporary WGCI 107.5-FM.

“BIN: Black Information Network is one of the most important initiatives this company has ever undertaken, at a critical moment in history when it is needed more than ever,” iHeartMedia chairman/CEO Bob Pittman and COO/CFO Rich Bressler wrote in an email to employees.

As a standalone business unit within iHeartMedia, BIN will be supported by a group of national founding partners, including Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon.

Here is the text of Pittman and Bressler’s email:

Team,

Today, we’re proud and excited to announce the launch of BIN: Black Information Network – the first and only 24×7 national and local all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.

BIN’s launch is the culmination of discussions we began last year on America’s need for this full-time news service for the Black community, and the events of the last few weeks underscored that the need has never been greater. In fact, a recent study of Black listeners found that 86% believe a service like BIN is necessary and are likely to use it as an important news source, and 83% think BIN provides a key service and important information they can’t get on radio or TV today. The study also shows that the BIN concept is equally strong among both the 18-34 year-old and 35-54 year-old segments of the Black community.

BIN: Black Information Network will be a standalone business unit within, and financed by, iHeartMedia, and its executives and talent will reflect the community they serve. The leaders of BIN: Black Information Network are:

Tony Coles, who also serves as Division President in our Markets Group, will be President of BIN. Tony has been a driving force in creating BIN and, as anyone who knows him will tell you, he is the perfect person to lead this critical venture. He has more than 35 years’ experience in the radio industry, from on-air to programming and management, with a strong record of success and team-building. He has been a programmer and an on-air personality, and has served as National Hot AC Brand Manager; Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Chicago; and most recently as Executive Vice President of Programming for the company’s West Region.

Tanita Myers, who is new to iHeart, will be BIN’s Director of News Operations. Tanita is a seasoned network and local Producer, Broadcaster and News Anchor with 15 years’ experience at Reach Media. She was formerly Director of Operations for The Tom Joyner Morning Show; Executive Producer of Rickey Smiley Morning Show; and a reporter in News, Traffic and Weather for various major market stations.

Other iHeart executives have also played important roles in developing and creating BIN, including Thea Mitchem, Executive Vice President of Programming, and Doc Wynter, Executive Vice President of Hip Hop and R&B Strategy, as well as input from a number of our on-air personalities and creative team.

BIN’s business model will be as innovative as its product. Instead of being supported by traditional advertising, BIN will be enabled by a group of major and well-known brands as Founding Partners who will provide long-term support to allow BIN to focus solely on its mission of building this important new platform for Black journalism and trusted news that will also foster communication, accountability and deeper understanding throughout our communities across America. The impressive group of Founding Partners who share this vision for BIN are Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon.

BIN: Black Information Network includes three distinctively different and important services:

A national digital audio service distributed through the iHeartRadio app and accessible via mobile, smart speakers, smart TVs and other connected platforms;

Dedicated all-news local broadcast radio stations focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective. Initial BIN markets include Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over the next 60 days;

BIN will become the news service for our 91 Hip Hop, R&B and Gospel stations across the country, including Power 105.1 in New York, Real 92.3 in Los Angeles, WDAS and Power 99 in Philadelphia, WGCI and WVAZ in Chicago, WJLB in Detroit, The Beat in Houston, The Beat in Miami, WQUE in New Orleans, KMEL in San Francisco and more. This gives these stations a very focused and credible news service built especially for them, while at the same time creating immediate awareness for BIN – a benefit for our stations and a benefit for the network;

BIN will also be amplified through iHeartMedia’s 200 million-plus social footprint;

And a new daily BIN podcast will launch shortly, providing 10-20 minutes of on-demand daily news and culture analysis uniquely for the Black community.

BIN will also utilize our 24/7 News Network infrastructure to provide support as needed. 24/7 News Network services over 1,000 radio stations, and has more news reporters located in more places than any other audio news organization. No other company has a resource like this – and only BIN can take advantage of this to launch a new network.

Additionally, BIN will have other resources that no competitor could afford or draw on, including shared use of iHeart’s technology; data and insights; marketing; digital services; monetization; and corporate resources, including Legal, HR and Finance.

BIN: Black Information Network is one of the most important initiatives this company has ever undertaken, at a critical moment in history when it is needed more than ever. We are so proud of our team who has developed BIN, and of the product itself, which fulfills its mission of providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective, focused on service to the Black community. We thank them and encourage all of you to listen; we know you’ll share the same sense of pride we do.

Bob and Rich