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WHY HOLLY BASS’ ARticle sucks (“Why BET Sucks,” 3/8): First of all, in a cover story spanning seven pages, there isn’t one interview or quote (save an uncredited two-word blurb) from anybody at BET anywhere in the article. Nor is anybody from NABOB (National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters), WHMM, or WAN. I find it hard to believe that these people were: a.) unavailable, or b.) unwilling to give some insight as to why BET shows what it does, and whether any changes will be made to its programming.
Secondly, the overview of BET’s programming is incomplete. No mention is made of Teen Summit, Storyporch, Grandstand, In Your Ear, Bobby Jones Gospel, Caribbean Rhythms, Color Code, Real Business, Lead Story, BET Shop, or its coverage of black college sports. Apparently Bass was too busy watching Dionne Warwick to look in the TV guide.
Third, there’s no mention of what shows BET has aired in the past. I know for a fact that until recently BET had a game show on in the afternoon. Also regarding Jazz Central, I’ve seen Marcus Roberts on solo piano live in the studio within the past month, as well as the Caribbean Jazz Project (with Paquito D’Rivera, Andy Narell, and Dave Samuels, also live) and concert footage of Gary Burton/Chick Corea and Miles Davis. If that’s not jazz, tell me what is! (Besides, how many channels show any jazz, much less four nights a week?)
Last of all, BET is singled out for practices that are common to all cable channels. Robert Johnson has nowhere near the financial wherewithal of a Ted Turner or Time Warner, but if you look at the bulk of TNT’s or Showtime’s programming you’ll find the same pattern that you will at BET: reruns of hackneyed sitcoms (or movies), some decent original programming, and a lot of repeat broadcasts.
Judging from the letters you’ve published, it seems like some blacks are so desperate for any public affirmation of their thinking that they’ll accept mediocre, Entertainment Tonight/Ricki Lake– style hatchet jobs posing as hard-hitting journalism. Congratulations, Holly: You’ve joined Jonetta Rose Barras as a member of the club.
Temple Hills, Md.