The plans for the urban channel have been challenged by TV One Chair Alfred C. Liggins, who heads the largest multimedia company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners, viewers, readers and Internet users.
TV One told the FCC that Johnsonâ€™s plan â€œsimply would substitute a government-favored programmer (Urban) for another, such as TV One, that does not receive the governmentâ€™s favored dispensation.â€
The TV One FCC filing in opposition of Johnsonâ€™s bid to launch an upstart, urban-targeted network has drawn the ire of Johnson, who expressed his â€œdisappointmentâ€ in both an exclusive interview with the trade publication Broadcasting & Cable and a personal letter to Liggins.
â€œIt does surprise me,â€ Johnson told B&C this week. â€œThatâ€™s how TV One came to be â€” asking for carriage and insisting that cable operators provide more diversity. To say that cable canâ€™t afford to offer more channels is crazy. And to assume that because another channel comes about that they are going to drop BET makes the case that we need FCC action to get carriage. If weâ€™re the last added and the first dropped, there is something wrong with the system.â€
Common Cause, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization, has pointed out to the FCC that Urban Televisionâ€™s current application is not in the public interest and its â€œapplications should be dismissed.â€