"The public reaction to BET was very positive. African-Americans had always wanted a network that provided content directly to them on a targeted basis, a chance to showcase their creativity, and to talk about issues of primary concern to them."
About This Interview
In his one-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Robert Johnson discusses his early years in Washington, D.C. as Vice President of Government Relations for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) during the rise of the cable industry following government deregulation. He recalls his concept for a cable network targeted at African-American viewers and his efforts to secure funding for the proposed BET (Black Entertainment Television) network. He credits John Malone's initial funding and Malone's association with the fledgling network with opening doors to cable providers nationwide. He concludes by speaking about the tremendous growth of the network, culminating with the acquisition of BET by Viacom in 2000 and his then-pending retirement slated for January, 2006. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 15, 2005 in Washington, D.C.