BET is a Black Business Success Story we should all be proud of. Even though it is now sold, it has blazed a trail. To many businesses have started and do not now exist. After 35 years, BET is still here.
So how did Black Entertainment Television (BET) start? After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Freeport, Illinois native Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000 and a $500,000 investment from media executive John Maloneto start the network. The network, which was named Black Entertainment Television, launched on January 25, 1980. Initially broadcasting for two hours a week as a block of programming on Nickelodeon (it would not be until 1983 that BET became a full-fledged channel), the network’s lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms