Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), will be inducted into the 2013 Giants of Broadcasting Honors, an annual distinction established by the Library of American Broadcasting that recognizes outstanding leadership and innovation in broadcasting and media.
In 1991, under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, bet became the first African American-owned company publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2001, Mr. Johnson sold bet to Viacom and remained the Chief Executive Officer through 2006.
Today, Mr. Johnson owns or holds interests in business operations that include automotive, hotel real estate investment, financial services, sports and entertainment. In 2012, Mr. Johnson announced the successful creation of RLJ Entertainment, Inc., one of the largest independent global distributors of entertainment content and programming in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia with over 5,000 exclusive titles. RLJ Entertainment, Inc. marks the third time Mr. Johnson has successfully taken a company public. RLJ Lodging Trust, a hotel real estate investment trust (REIT), went public in 2011.
Mr. Johnson will be honored for his contributions in broadcasting and digital media during an event that will be held this afternoon in New York’s Gotham Hall.
Established in 2003 by the Library of American Broadcasting on the campus of the University of Maryland, the Giants of Broadcasting has grown to be the primary academic and professional resource in the history and the traditions of the media. The Giants of Broadcasting events have in their first decade honored 157 individuals and two broadcast series.