Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson In 1979, Robert Johnson was a lobbyist for the burgeoning cable industry. That's when he got an idea for a channel called Black Entertainment Television. He started small, just a few hours of programming a week. But by the 1990s BET had become a cultural touchstone. In 2001, he sold BET to Viacom for $2.3 billion, making him the first African-American billionaire in US history. Recorded live in Washington, D.C.
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Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson

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Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson

Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson

Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570526158/570551091" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

In 1979, Robert Johnson was a lobbyist for the burgeoning cable industry. That's when he got an idea for a channel called Black Entertainment Television. He started small, just a few hours of programming a week. But by the 1990s BET had become a cultural touchstone. In 2001, he sold BET to Viacom for $2.3 billion, making him the first African-American billionaire in US history. Recorded live in Washington, D.C.

Marcus Marritt for NPR
Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television.
Marcus Marritt for NPR