Roland Martin is bidding farewell to TV One. But not without getting a few things off his chest about those other cable news channels that did him wrong. Or maybe just didn’t do him right enough. You know, those networks that he says would never quite let he and his peers say what they pleased.
Martin moves on to his own daily digital show, “RolandMartinUnfiltered.”
“Why did I never leave TV One when I was at CNN, even when I asked to give it up?” he wrote in a lengthy goodbye note that he posted on his website. “Because TV One gave me a chance to speak my truth – unimpeded.”
“I served as managing editor of Washington Watch and NewsOneNow, given final authority over all news matters. There were no censors to run things by. …TV One gave me a level of freedom my peers at broadcast and cable networks have never had. I never did take that lightly.”
Martin was employed with TV One for 13 years.
He said he always kept it close — much closer than, say, CNN.
“Now in 2007, I joined CNN, and many thought I would leave TV One behind,” he recalled. “But I told Johnathan that he was the first person in TV to pay me for my perspective, and I would never leave them because a mainstream network was bigger. On the night Obama won the presidency, CNN had me on all night, but I made it clear that I needed to go to a flash cam studio to also do TV One. I was always loyal to Black-owned media, even on that night.”
At various points in his letter, Martin threw veiled punches at CNN.
“Johnathan always said I deserved my own daily or weekend show on CNN,” he wrote, referring to Johnathan Rodgers, who launched the black cable network. “So in May 2009, after meeting when CNN U.S. President Jon Klein, who informed me they would not be giving me a weekend show, I wasn’t more than 100 feet out of his office when Johnathan and I were on the phone.”
“’So CNN isn’t going to give you a weekend show? Fine. Then we will,’ he said.”
Martin lamented the end of his morning program in late 2018.
“Unfortunately, on Dec. 21, 2018, we broadcast our last edition of NewsOneNow,” he wrote. “When I sat in Alfred’s office and he told me of the cancellation, anger, bitterness and sadness didn’t consume me. I felt deeply for our staff losing their jobs, but I also understood that this is the reality of our business, and we had a helluva four years.”
Friday is Martin’s final day at the network. But even he hinted that he may return.
“So with much sadness, but tremendous gratitude, my tenure at TV One comes to a close on Friday, Aug. 31,” he wrote. “…Endings are never a bad thing. They are simply a fact of life. My mission hasn’t changed. I decided to be a journalist when I was 14, and even as I turn 50 on November 14, I’m still committed to this calling.”
He added, “One can never say never. Even though I’m launching this daily digital show and working on other projects, I may end up doing something for TV One down the line. But as for now, we’ve come to the end of a road.”