Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BTNC proposed $10M for renovations, but Robinson says FAMU didn’t get required info

Back on March 17, 2014, FAMU issued a press release on its planned partnership with the Black Television News Channel (BTNC). It stated that “the first year of the partnership will be dedicated to renovating, upgrading and installing equipment in the [School of Journalism and Graphic Communication] building, with a total price tag of $10 million.”

A follow-up story in the Tallahassee Democrat on September 3, 2014 reported that: “The venture does not require FAMU to invest in the channel, but draws from its human resources, expertise and facilities…” It added that Bob Brillante, co-manager of BTNC, “said more than $10.5 million in equipment will be brought into the new studio space and for upgrading the existing studio where students produce a daily newscast. Once conceptualized plans are finalized in 90 days, Brillante said, construction could last 10 months once ground is broken.”

But FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson says the university didn’t receive the information it needed to ensure that the renovation process would be in compliance with Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors requirements.

“There is a process established by the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees and Florida Board of Governors that must be followed when it comes to major renovations to state funded facilities,” Robinson said in a statement to WCTV-6. “We have continued to ensure that there is an opportunity for the Black Television News Channel and its principals to provide the information that we need to move this matter forward. We understand they have a timeline and obligations to their investors, and similarly, we have a responsibility to meet the procedures and processes required by the FAMU Board of Trustees and Florida Board of Governors.”

FAMU and BTNC have now agreed that the channel’s headquarters will not be housed at the SJGC building as originally planned. According to WCTV-6 former Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, a BTNC partner, “said the new building will be branded with the name BTNC-FAMU. A new location is secured, however it has not been made public yet.”

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