Al Jazeera America Already Has A Suitor: Herring Broadcasting

Al Jazeera America Shutting Down
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

The news that Al Jazeera America will cease operations as of April 30 is just hours old, but one cable-news entrepreneur has already reached out to the company in hopes of purchasing its assets to broaden his own emerging outlet

Herring Broadcasting Co., a San Diego-based backer of One America News Network, a cable-news network with limited carriage, has hired an investment bank to establish contact with Al Jazeera America executives, Charles Herring, president of the company told Variety. “They have done well, around 60 million homes. We are about a quarter of that. That would be of great value to us,” said Herring. The company’s two networks, One America and another outlet called AWE, or A Wealth of Entertainment, are carried by Verizon and AT&T U-verse.

Multichannel News previously reported Herring’s interest in Al Jazeera America.

At first blush, the two outlets seem to have similarities. One America News tends to focus on international and national news. In prime time, it airs political talk shows, one of which Herring said “leans hard right.” That program is called “The Daily Leger.” One America News Network also airs “Tipping Point,” featuring Liz Wheeler, a 26-year-old anchor who Herring said appeals to millennial viewers. “News anchors aren’t allowed to express opinions,” he said. “If they want to express opinions, they are welcome to apply for a political talk show.”

“We do not comment on matters such as this,” said a spokeswoman for Al Jazeera America.

Herring also said he could be interested in hiring Al Jazeera America employees to work for One America News Network, and might like to use Al Jazeera’s New York bureau for One America News efforts.

Al Jazeera famously paid a whopping $500 million for Current, a cable-news network owned in part by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Herring said he does not think the network as it stands is worth “anywhere near” that sum, but sees a lot of value in Al Jazeera’s assets. “There is tremendous value to distribution,” he said, particularly in an operating environment where gaining carriage on cable and satellite systems is challenging.

“We launched July 4, 2013, and Al Jazeera launched at about the same time, give or take a month or two,” Herring said. “Our missions are pretty much the same. We want to provide a credible source of national and international news.”