Juneteenth Celebration Business-to-Business Luncheon &
Expo Keynote Speaker - Robert L. Johnson, Founder and Chief
Executive Officer, Black Entertainment Television
L. Johnson is the founder and chief executive officer of Black
Entertainment Television (BET), a subsidiary of Viacom and
the leading African American-operated media and entertainment
company in the United States. With the mission of establishing
BET as the most-valued consumer brand within the Black marketplace,
BET has enjoyed extraordinary financial and strategic success
since its inception in 1980.
1976 to 1979, Johnson served as vice president of Government
Relations for the National Cable & Telecommunications
Association (NCTA), a trade association representing more
than 1,500 cable television companies. Prior to joining the
NCTA, Johnson was press secretary for the Honorable Walter
E. Fauntroy, Congressional Delegate from the District of Columbia.
Johnson previously held positions at the Washington Urban
League and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
serves on the following boards: US Airways; Hilton Hotels
Corporation; General Mills; United Negro College Fund; National
Cable Television Association; and the American Film Institute.
Johnson is also a member of the Board of Governors for the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH; and the Brookings
awards received by Johnson include: 1997 Broadcasting &
Cable Magazine's Hall of Fame Award; CTAM's Grand Tam Award;
Cablevision Magazine's 20/20 Vision Award which lists him
as one of the twenty most influential people in the cable
industry; an NAACP Image Award; National Women's Political
Caucus' Good Guys Award; a Distinguished Alumni Award from
Princeton University; and the President's Award from the National
Cable & Telecommunications Association.
is a graduate of the University of Illinois and holds a master's
in International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of
Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Johnson resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Sheila,
and their two children.
core BET Network has pioneered an entire genre in television,
with its 24-hour programming that targets African-American
consumers that now reaches more than71.4 million U.S. homes
and more than 95% of all Black cable households. That same
groundbreaking strategy has evolved into leading-edge digital
cable technology via the following BET channels under the
BET Digital Networks umbrella:
BET Jazz: The Jazz Channel: the primary destination
for jazz enthusiasts with a mixture of in-studio performances,
festivals, concerts and celebrity interviews. Many of the
shows feature original programming as well as historic footage
unavailable on any other television network.
BET Hip-Hop: Non-stop urban lyrics and street beats
make this channel the ultimate source for hip-hop flavor.
Included on the menu are today's popular artists along with
"old school" rap stars who gave this art form its
BET Gospel: This channel showcases the best in gospel
performers and ministries providing spiritual fulfillment.
Programming includes contemporary and legendary gospel artists
through concert performances, music videos and interviews.
BET Gospel also features inspirational speakers and motivational
1998, Johnson established BET Pictures and BET Arabesque Films
to produce and market African American-themed film releases,
documentaries and made for TV movies. BET has also leveraged
its brand identity into new businesses outside the cable industry
with direct ownership of BET Arabesque Books, the only line
of original African-American romance novels written by African-American
BET ventures include BET Interactive, whose Internet portal
BET.com was voted "Best African American Community Site
2001" by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine. BET Interactive
provides a combination of online content and community tailored
to the unique interests, preferences and issues of African
Americans aged 18-49. BET Interactive is owned in partnership
by BET, Microsoft, Liberty Digital Media, News Corporation
and USA Networks.