David Bauder, AP, July 23, 2009
Roland Martin will anchor a new Sunday public affairs show aimed at a Black audience that will debut in September on the TV One network.
The program, called “Washington Watch,” will aim to tap into “a new interest in politics and government due to the election of President Barack Obama,” said Johnathan Rodgers, TV One’s president and CEO. The show is scheduled to debut on Sun., Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. EDT, and the show will be repeated each week at 5 p.m.
Martin, who is also a CNN commentator, will interview newsmakers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. April Ryan, White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, and Robert Traynham, Philadelphia Tribune columnist and Comcast host, will be regular panel members. TV One is in approximately 48 million homes, slightly fewer than half of the nation’s TV homes.
Rodgers said it dawned on him when TV One covered last year’s Democratic convention and he saw many Black Caucus members walk up to the network’s temporary rooftop studio for interviews, that these politicians have few outlets to talk about their issues and people have few places to hear them.
Despite the election of the nation’s first Black president, many of TV One’s older viewers–the network tends to attract an older audience than competitor Black Entertainment Television (BET)–wonder whether his administration will actively push a civil rights agenda and other issues that interest them, he said.
Martin said he hoped the show would reflect the state of Black America every week.
While the show will be District-based, Martin said the concerns of people across the country would be reflected. He said he hopes to have viewers participate in the shows by suggesting questions and topics.