AIB Network History

Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters, Inc. is a self-supporting nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) founded by Presbyterian Minister John H. Allen in 1969. All donations are tax deductible.

The Beginning

The AIB Network was born out of a determination to accommodate the ever-growing and diverse religious communities of Atlanta. In 1969, Rev. John H. Allen had the progressive idea to unite people from ALL communities and faiths to share their thoughts. Although this idea was seen as controversial by many, Rev. Allen joined forces with fellow clergymen Dr. Samuel W. Williams and Dr. Walter G. Cook to establish AIB. Rev. Allen's vision to promote conversations between those of different faith, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures was up and running. He was AIB’s inaugural president and remained in that position until his death in 1999.

The 70's - Focus on Programming

In the early years of the Network, and throughout the 1970's, AIB's focus was on creating and distributing community service programs. Sound of Youth and Midnight Minister are among the hundreds of AIB’s programs produced and run on network affiliates and independent networks including WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, WAGA-TV, WTBS and radio stations including WGST and WSB radio.

The 80's - Introduction to Cable

In 1981, the AIB Network was granted a channel on Cable Atlanta, providing faith-based nonprofit organizations the opportunity to reach a larger audience. Starting with 20 hours a week and reaching 3,000 homes, the partnership with cable television allowed for rapid and sustained growth. Throughout the 1980s, more and more cable companies were carrying AIB. By the end of the decade, AIB could be seen by cable viewers through the metro Atlanta area on 12 cable systems. The widened distribution and partnerships with faith-based organizations made AIB synonymous with quality faith-based and community programming in and around Atlanta.

The 90's - Expansion

As the number of cable viewers grew, so did AIB. By the end of the 1990's, AIB was the largest interfaith broadcast network in the United States.  Programming was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Driven by production demand and new technology, AIB began construction on a new 1,600-square-foot studio. The state-of-the-art AIB production facility was completed and dedicated in 1999. AIB founder and President Rev. John H. Allen died the same year.

2000's - Growing the Vision

In 2000, after an extensive executive search by the Board of Directors, Collie Burnett, Jr. joined the AIB Network as President and Chief Executive Officer.  Armed with over 25 years of telecommunication management experience and a proven sense of vision and purpose, Mr. Burnett embraced Rev. John Allen’s founding vision and began aggressively leading AIB into the future. Mr. Burnett invested in AIB’s programming and production capabilities to better meet the needs and growing expectations of our communities.

AIB Network’s community partnerships expanded to include the Carter Center and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. AIB provides these and other nonprofit organizations with over $1 million of in-kind services from production to broadcast time to generate awareness of their services to the community and to promote volunteerism.

In 2001, AIB hosted its first annual Allen Awards. Named after the founder, Rev. John H. Allen, these awards honor and recognize metro Atlanta programmers for broadcast excellence. Three years later, AIB was recognized with a Bronze Telly Award for the AIB original documentary “Printing the Dream: 75 Years of Atlanta Daily World.” The documentary profiled the first African-American newspaper in the United States. Because of the historical value and quality, it is archived in the Chicago Museum of Broadcasting. Other industry recognition included an Emmy award for “World Pilgrims: A Sacred Journey to Turkey” (2008) and two Emmy nominations for AIB’s original series Sound of Youth (2006, 2009).

2010's – Serving the Community

AIB Network continues to produce nearly 200 hours of original programming each year touching the mind, body and spirit of our viewers. Notable programs include “AIB Presents: Trail of Tears” (2013), which takes an in-depth look into the forced migration of Native Americans; Making a Difference, a series highlighting the nonprofit community and the impact and contributions these organizations make to improving our society; and, “Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr.: Reflections on His Legacy” (2018), a one-hour documentary revealing for the first time an intimate look at the public service of 3-term Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson, Jr. This documentary was also screened at the Auburn Avenue Research Library and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

AIB’s community support remains at the forefront of our service. Our partnership with the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ), for example, not only facilitates the production of the long-running program “IN CONTACT,” an informative talk show that also serves as a training ground for young journalists, but AIB also rendered production services on their documentary film, “Black and Reporting: The Struggle Behind the Lens.”

Community Based Awards Received
  • Media Outreach – Mohammed Schools
  • Building Bridges Award – Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta
  • Community Engagement Award – Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Zenith Award for Service to the Community – Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys
  • Humanitarian Award – Rainbow PUSH
  • Media Grand Award – GA Urban Forest Council