Hoping to improve representation in national news coverage, 23andMe joined with seven other companies as a Founding Partner to assist in the launch of iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network.
The new 24 hour-a-day national and local news audio service will be dedicated to offering objective, accurate, and trusted news that highlights the voice and perspective of Black communities across the country. Launched this week, the service is distributed nationally through the iHeartRadio digital service; locally via dedicated all-news AM/FM broadcast radio stations in 15 markets, with additional markets to be added in the next 60 days; and BIN will also provide the news service for iHeartMedia’s 91 Hip Hop, R&B, and Gospel music stations nationally.
23andMe joined as a Founding Partner with seven other companies including Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Sony, and Verizon, to help launch the new network.
“23andMe is honored to be part of this important iHeart initiative, giving the Black community a strong, informed voice and providing those outside the community with a deeper understanding of our societal issues,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO, and Co-Founder of 23andMe. “This is the first step in a long journey to continually hold ourselves accountable and be part of changing the future.”
In an open letter in early June, Anne said that as a leader she felt a deeper responsibility to make meaningful changes to improve inclusion and equity not just within the company and its product, but within society. Adding that she was holding both herself and the company accountable to make impactful changes. This is just one of many endeavors the company is becoming involved with to follow through with that commitment.
Under the leadership of Tony Coles, BIN will leverage the resources, assets, and financial support of iHeartMedia with the goal of filling a void in coverage by and for the Black community. Coles 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. Coles currently serves as Executive Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s West Region.
“BIN: Black Information Network will fill a void by providing continual news and objective information with full focus on the Black community,” said Coles. “We began developing our 24/7 Black news source last year, and events of the last few weeks, especially the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd, highlighted the need for this network. Now is the time for our voice to be heard, and I could not be more proud of our work and the team we are assembling at BIN.”
A recent study by iHeartMedia of Black listeners found that 86 percent believe a service like BIN is necessary and are likely to use it as an important news source, and 83 percent think BIN could offer a key service and important information they can’t get on radio or TV today.
“As a brand, we are in a unique time and position to make sure our marketing is doing more than just selling our product, but that it’s focused on values,” said Tracy Keim, Vice President of Consumer Marketing & Brand at 23andMe. “We have the opportunity to create content that can better humanity. iHeart’s Black Information Network is the first of its kind to take a stand on creating a trusted news source to address the importance of building toward lasting change.”
The business will be enabled and supported by the full resources of iHeartMedia. In addition, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA) will also be a local marketing partner.
To find out more about BIN programming, visit BINNews.com.