Celebrating Four Decades of Public Media Transformation

For more than four decades, Black Public Media has opened doors and created opportunities for Black storytellers in public media.  Scroll down to reminisce along our 40-year timeline. Then go here to meet 40 Game-Changing Media Makers who blazed the trail that makes today's opportunities possible.



Public Television is Born

November 7, 1967

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Public Television Act. 

Task Force On Minorities in Public Broadcasting Is Formed

January 10, 1977

Task Force On Minorities in Public Broadcasting Is Formed

In January 1977, the Human Resources Development Committee of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors endorses formulation of a Task Force on Minorities in Public Broadcasting. The mission of the 28-member group — chaired by Dr. Gloria Long Anderson, the CPB board’s vice chair and a Morris Brown chemistry professor — is to assist the CPB board in developing policies that will “maximize the growth, development, employment, and participation of minorities in all aspects of public broadcasting.”

‘A Formula For Change’ Is Published

November 10, 1978

The Task Force on Minorities in Public Broadcasting releases “A Formula For Change,” a 90-page report containing the results of the 28-member task force’s research. The report includes 46 key findings and 70 key recommendations for improvement in five main areas: public broadcasting policy, employment, job training programs, programming, minority control, and audience research.

NBPC is Born

September 15, 1979

NBPC is Born

Black Public Media was founded as the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) in Columbus, Ohio.

NBPC Names 1st Executive Director

March 1, 1980

NBPC Names 1st Executive Director

Mable Haddock is named NBPC’s executive director.

‘The Black Stream’ Begins

June 1, 1980

NBPC begins coordinating “The Black Stream” PBS series, hosted by Bill Greaves.

Inaugural NBPC Annual Meeting

April 8, 1981

NBPC holds its first annual conference.

Prized Pieces Film Festival Begins

April 9, 1982

NBPC hosts the first Prized Pieces Film Festival, showcasing work by Black indie filmmakers. .

‘State of Black America’ Broadcast

February 15, 1984

The “State of Black America” airs on PBS (an NBPC co-production with the National Urban League).

CPB Defunds NBPC

November 12, 1986

In response to federal budget cuts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) cuts BPM funding.

‘Eyes on the Prize’ Airs on PBS

January 21, 1987

‘Eyes on the Prize’ Airs on PBS

Henry Hampton’s six-episode documentary, “Eyes on the Prize,” is broadcast nationwide on PBS over the course of several weeks. The series earns Blackside Productions several prestigious honors including Emmy, Peabody, and IDA awards.

ITVS Launches

January 1, 1989

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is founded.  

NBPC Regains CPB Funding

September 15, 1990

NBPC regains CPB funding after a four-year hiatus.

‘Daughters of the Dust’ is Released

January 2, 1991

‘Daughters of the Dust’ is Released

Filmmaker Julie Dash’s independent film, “Daughters of the Dust,” is released. The film is one of the first recipients of NBPC’s newly created project development fund and it is the first feature film directed by an African American woman to be distributed theatrically in the United States. 

NBPC Video Store Opens

January 2, 1993

NBPC opens a video store in Columbus, Ohio.

NBPC Convenes Black Public Media Executives and Producers

January 2, 1995

NBPC hosts a convening of public media’s African American executives and producers.

‘Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery’ Airs On PBS

February 1, 1998

Receives a 1998 Peabody Award. BPM Game Changers involved with the project include Orlando Bagwell (executive producer), Llewellyn Smith, Jacquie Jones and Noland Walker (episodic producers), and Marita Rivero (WGBH executive in charge of production).

NBPC Relocates to Harlem

January 2, 2000

NBPC moves from Columbus, Ohio, to Harlem, New York. The first office is on the corner of 125th Street and Lexington Ave.

‘Matters of Race’ Airs On PBS

January 2, 2003

Funded by NBPC and other members of public television’s  National Minority Consortium (now National Multicultural Alliance), Orlando Bagwell’s Rojo Productions airs its groundbreaking four-part series, “Matters of Race,” on PBS.

Prized Pieces Film Festival Ends

January 2, 2004

NBPC hosts its last Prized Pieces Film Festival at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The opening film was Yvonne Smith’s documentary, “Parliament-Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove.”

NBPC Founder Steps Down, Jones Succeeds Her

January 2, 2005

NBPC Founder Steps Down, Jones Succeeds Her

NBPC founder Mable Haddock steps down as executive director; Jacquie Jones takes her place.

NBPC Launches Its First Web Series

January 2, 2006

In response to Hurricane Katrina, NBPC launches its first online web series “The Katrina Project” featuring web-only video and audio shorts about the impact Katrina had on New Orleans’ Black community.

New Media Institute Emerges

January 2, 2006

NBPC introduces its New Media Institute, a professional development program geared towards understanding and navigating digital and social media technology.

NBPC Launches AfroPoP

January 2, 2008

NBPC Launches AfroPoP

NBPC introduces the first season of “AfroPoP: The UItimate Cultural Exchange,” hosted by Idris Elba.

Public Media Corps Is Launched

January 1, 2010

NBPC launches the Public Media Corps, a service to promote and extend broadband adoption in underserved communities.  Fellows skilled in technology, media production, and outreach are placed in residencies at underperforming high schools, public broadcast stations, and nonprofit community anchor institutions.  

Digital Media Production Fund Is Born

January 2, 2012

NBPC launches the Digital Media Production Fund, a program grant initiative to support web series. “Black Folk Don’t,” by producer Angela Tucker, is among the first projects funded through this initiative. 

NBPC Doc Wins A Peabody

January 2, 2013

NBPC Doc Wins A Peabody

“180 Days: Inside an American High School,” wins a Peabody Award. Series is produced and directed by Jacquie Jones and Garland McLaurin.

Jones Steps Down, Fields-Cruz Succeeds Her

January 2, 2014

Jones Steps Down, Fields-Cruz Succeeds Her

Jacquie Jones steps down as NBPC executive director. She is succeeded by VP of Programming Leslie Fields-Cruz. 

The 360 Incubator+ Is Born

January 2, 2016

The 360 Incubator+ Is Born

NBPC introduces the 360 Incubator+ funding initiative. It is designed to identify innovative storytellers across various public media. NBPC also launches PitchBLACK, an interactive session during which Incubator Plus fellows pitch their projects to industry leaders who select the PitchBLACK grantees.

MacArthur Foundation Grants NBPC $750,000

January 2, 2017

NBPC wins a $750,000 MacArthur Foundation Grant.

The BPMplus VR Mixer Series Begins

January 1, 2018

Extended Reality (XR) specialist/educator/producer Lisa Osborne is appointed to direct BPM’s new emerging media program, which launches the BPMplus VR Mixer series and various XR media training programs.

NBPC Becomes BPM

January 2, 2018

NBPC Becomes BPM

NBPC is rebranded as Black Public Media.

Black Media Story Summit

January 3, 2018

Black Media Story Summit

BPM hosts the inaugural National Black Media Story Summit in NYC. The assemblage of creatives, thought leaders, media technologists, funders, investors, and distributors engages in a series of conversations exploring ways to expand the distribution pipeline for Black content.

‘The Black Paper’ Is Published

January 4, 2018

‘The Black Paper’ Is Published

BPM publishes “The Black Paper,” featuring highlights and recommendations from the 2018 Black Media Story Summit.

Jones Memorial Scholarship and NCU Fellowship Launched

January 1, 2019

BPM announces winners of the inaugural Jacquie Jones Memorial Scholarship and the Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellowship. Both programs commemorate the contributions of trailblazing BPM employees posthumously.

Regional Black Media Story Summits Launch

January 2, 2019

Regional Black Media Story Summits Launch

BPM launches a new series of Regional Black Media Story Summits. The first four are held in Raleigh, N.C.; Newark, N.J.; Houston, Texas, and St. Paul, Minn. 

40th Anniversary Celebration

January 2, 2020

BPM celebrates its 40th Anniversary and hosts the second National Black Media Story Summit virtually, due to COVID-19.

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