BREAKING: Read our coverage of the Whitney Houston funeral service here on Communities at Washington Times.
SAN DIEGO, Feb 17, 2012 – Funeral services for Grammy-award winning singer Whitney Houston are scheduled Saturday, February 18, at 12 noon EST in Newark, New Jersey.
The service will be especially emotional because it is taking place at New Hope Baptist Church in Houston’s hometown, where she first raised her magnificent voice in song by singing in the church choir.
Although the funeral services themselves are private for 1,500 invitation-only guests, several cable television networks and one prominent radio station plan to air live coverage of the funeral.
Black Entertainment Television (BET) will begin coverage at 11:30 a.m. EST, The Homegoing of Whitney Houston. On-air correspondents April Woodard and Lola Oguinake will provide commentary.
Bounce TV, a newly launched cable network targeting an African-American audience, will carry the funeral live in its entirety, uninterrupted and commercial free starting at 12 noon EST. The new network appears so far be the only broadcast outlet to air the funeral uninterrupted. Bounce TV, which launched in September, airs 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the digital signals of local television stations. The network offers theatrical motion pictures, live sports, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-net series, original programming and sports.
E! gets started early with a special called Whitney Houston: The Funeral at 8:30 a.m. featuring the latest details surrounding Houston’s tragic death, a preview of who is expected to attend services, and promising an inside look at what will take place during the ceremony. E! then follows with uninterrupted live coverage of the funeral and up-to-the-minute details via the E! Online (@eonline) Twitter feed.
The all music cable network Fuse will offer live coverage of the funeral as part of its 24-hour music tribute to Houston beginning at 6 a.m. EST Saturday.
CNN will bring together Piers Morgan, Soledad O’Brien and Don Lemon to anchor CNN and CNN International’s live global coverage of the funeral special, Whitney Houston: Life, Death Music, beginning at 11 a.m. EST. CNN Digital will also live stream the funeral on the web and via mobile at www.cnn.com/live from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST.
Fox News Channel will stream the funeral live via its website online, The cable network will air portions of the service live between 11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST as part of its regular news programming with anchors Uma Pemmaraju and Rick Folbaum.
New York’s powerhouse soul and R&B radio station WKRS/98.7 KISS FM will broadcast live from the New Hope Baptist Church, beginning at 12 noon EST. In a statement, KISS program director Jay Dixon said, “We’re providing this service to our community and for her fans that are unable to attend, but want to celebrate her [life]. We are thankful for the honor.” The broadcast can be heard online at the KISS website, where a tribute video by KISS on-air personalities is also running.
Pastor and gospel singer Marvin L. Winans, who also officiated at Houston’s 1992 wedding to singer Bobby Brown, will give the eulogy.
Houston’s godmother Aretha Franklin is expected to sing at the funeral at the request of the family. Actor Kevin Costner has confirmed he will speak at the service. Others confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe & CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, singers Ray J, Brandy, and Valerie Simpson. Houston’s cousin, singer Dionne Warwick is in New Jersey helping the family with funeral arrangements.
Cable networks and services will continue to commemorate Houston throughout the weekend. BET will air a one-hour special, BET Remembers Whitney featuring BET News correspondent Bevy Smith interviewing celebrities including Kim Burrell, Kelley Price, Faith Evans, Ledisi, India Arie, Tisha Martin Campbell and Tichina Arnold as they share memories of Houston. On demand programming service Music Choice will celebrate Houston’s music with double plays of the singer’s hit songs on several of its channels throughout the weekend.
Houston began singing in her church’s gospel choir at age 11, inspired by several prominent soul singers in her family, including mother Cissy Houston and cousins Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick, as well as her godmother, Aretha Franklin. Houston began performing alongside her mother in nightclubs in the New York City area and was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which went diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold.
Houston died at 48 years of age last Saturday, a day before the Grammy Awards. Interest in the singer help attract 39.9 million viewers to the awards broadcast, the second largest audience ever for the Grammys.
Join our Communities Writers Saturday as they watch the Black Entertainment Television network’s live coverage, The Homegoing of Whitney Houston, (check local cable listings) and share comments and thoughts along with our readers in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. EST.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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