Armstrong Williams, the business manager for Republican Presidential front-runner Ben Carson, emerges as the largest black owner of TV stations in America after acquiring two new stations on October 23.
The business mogul, who also works as a conservative commentator for Carson, purchased KVMY, which is the MyNet affiliate in Las Vegas, and WLYH, the CW affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The new acquisitions bring his total ownership to seven stations out of the 12 owned by blacks across the country.
But that isn’t where the road stops for Williams. He says that he would like the number to hit 10, and to expand his alternative programming to other markets across the U.S.
“We want to reinforce the kind of values and virtues that make America great,” Mr. Williams said of his television programming. “We want the kind of shows that families can sit down and watch and be proud of. We want people to know that you don’t always have to lead with what bleeds. We want to uplift people we want to give people real self-esteem and real worth.”
Howard Stirk Holdings LLC, a company owned by Mr. Williams, also comes forth as a model corporation for minorities in the media field. The company has employees mainly from minority groups.
“One of the things that we’re proud of is the fact that probably 75 percent of our workforce are minorities. We truly celebrate diversity,” said Marcus Mullings, vice president of Howard Stirk Holdings. “Almost 50 percent of that workforce is women. When you talk about the issue of black men not finding jobs, the issue of inequality, 55 percent of our work force is black men.”
Williams first went into television ownership in 2013, when he landed a sidecar deal that led to his acquisition of two stations. The two stations worked as his training ground as he focused on expanding his expire in the media industry.
When critics moaned that the sidecar deal evaded FCC prohibition against monopoly control in TV broadcasting, he argued that not all sidecar deals are the same. He then proceeded to acquire the rest of the stations independently, serving as further motivation to him that he can indeed do more.
“Those last five stations have shown us we can survive independently, and we created a model that people can respect and advertisers are willing to buy in to,” Mr. Mullings said.
He’s, therefore, focusing on building up a more robust network, with a focus on the U.S. local markets.