Byron Allen Shares Struggles He Encountered Trying To Build “Allen Media Group” (AMG)

BY Dora Abena Dzaka December 20, 2023 3:41 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Smokey Robinson

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, popularly known as Allen Media Group (AMG), one of the most well-known black-owned media companies in the United States.

Allen, a well-known black entertainment mogul, has promoted inclusivity and equality as fundamental principles of his business for many years.

Throughout the years, AMG has supported several diversity-related projects. One such initiative is the recently introduced HBCU Go streaming service, which offers audiences from the nation’s 107 historically black colleges and universities access to sports content for free with advertising.

Among the networks owned by AMG are the Weather Channel, the Weather Channel en Español, Local Now, HBCU Go, TheGrio, and comedy, and sports TV.

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures is another distribution banner under Allen’s purview.

According to reliable information, the 62-year-old is the owner of ten cable networks, including JusticeCentral.TV, Cars.TV, and Pets.TV, to mention a few.

Allen further stated in the publication that Allen Media Group, with a total of more than 70 shows, is “the largest provider of first-run syndicated shows for broadcast stations.”

The company started small but has since expanded into a vast media empire. Allen talked about his struggles starting “Allen Media Group” (AMG) and how many rejections he received in the beginning.

“I had to go through about 50,000 “no’s” to get the 150 “yeses” that became my lineup when I started calling stations from my dining room table and asking them to carry my weekly television show for free.”

Not only was it difficult to assemble his roster, but Byron Allen also had trouble finding sponsors for his nationwide spots. His personal life was financially challenged as a result of the obstacle.

“Over five years, my home experienced multiple foreclosures,” he recalled. “I would have to use pay phones to make phone calls because my phone would be turned off.”

To fulfill his overarching goal, Allen believed that his company’s future will involve making more “organic” and “strategic acquisitions.”

 Allen said, “We’re small, and even though we’re growing exponentially, we’re still in our infancy. I haven’t yet accomplished what I set out to do. The objective is to establish the largest media conglomerate in the world and leverage it to drive positive social change.”

Byron Allen began performing stand-up comedy at the age of 14. In 1979, he made his television debut as the youngest comedian to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. This catalyzed the start of his successful entertainment career, which also included a role he co-wrote in the movie Case Closed, a stint on Real People, and a syndicated late-night show that bore his name.

Allen, though, had his sights set on a far greater reward. According to the information that is currently available, Allen stated, “I was fascinated by Berry Gordy and Henry Ford growing up in Detroit. I read about them, as well as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. My heroes were them. I knew I wanted to create something large and famous after studying them”.

Allen claims that AMG, which employs close to 2,300 people, is the biggest supplier of first-run syndicated shows for broadcast stations; in total, it has over 70, with nine court series currently in production.

Allen is far from done as he his sights set on bigger broadcast markets, particularly along the East Coast.

In September, he made headlines when he publicly stated that he intended to spend $10 billion on properties owned by Disney, including FX, the National Geographic Channel, eight local TV stations, and ABC.