The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 22, 1991, Page 5, Image 5

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BET absence hurts Lincoln
Before coming to Lincoln, I re
member turning the station to
channel 39 late at night and
listening to the soft sounds of Luther
Vandross, Anita Baker and others.
During those moments, I could leave
my worries behind and listen to a
world of “my own” through Black
Entertainment Television.
I had the opportunity to watch
programs that were not only benefi
cial to me and my culture but to
everyone who tuned in the station.
It wasn’t long after that several
stereotypes centering on blacks were
broken down. The reality is that blacks
can be more than athletes and good
dancers; they have the intelligence
and power to succeed at other things
as well.
BET provides a means to self
confidence in my culture. It educates,
entertains and opens the eyes of an
audience that are closed to the Afri
can-American true identity. This sta
tion instills in African-Americans a
sense of pride.,
BET was started in January 1980.
It was developed to let Americans
view quality black entertainment pri
marily produced by African-Ameri
cans and provides a national platform
that showcases the creativity and
diversity of the black entertainment
Although its primary audience is
African-American, BET is neither
restricted nor limited to those per
Often, people pay so much atten
tion to the first word — Black — that
they disregard the entertaining part.
After I came to Lincoln, I thought
I could wind down the day in my
dorm room by listening to sofmotes
or midnight love, the mellow tunes
played late nights on BET.
To my dismay, there were no
softnotcs or midnight love to wind
down to, no talk shows to listen to.
Although its pri
mary audience is
BET, is neither re
stricted nor limited to
those persons who
wish to be educated
from a cultural per
spective. Often,
peoplejim so much
attention to the first
mid—black — that
they disregard the
entertaining part.
There was no BET.
The only thing I found on channel
39 was static.
From that moment on, I knew I
had a rough road ahead. I found myself
far behind on all the latest tunes and
doing old dances. I was missing the
intellectual conversations of my broth
ers and sisters and the inspirations of
the minds of my role models.
I was deprived of Donnie Simpson,
the gorgeous, hazel-eyed, caramel
coated host.
I was a woman in dire straits.
I realized Lincoln probably wasn’t
ready for diversity back in 1980 when
BET first was launched onto the air
waves, but to remain unprepared af
ter an entire decade shows how un
likely it is that Lincoln is willing to
diversify itself.
Why doesn’t Cablevision air BET?
Are its viewers scared to open up to a
totally differentculture other than the
stereotyped one portrayed by soci
Cablevision’s Jeff Jarecke says the
company can’t afford to air the pro
At an open forum Wednesday at
the Lincoln Public Schools Admini
stration Building, Jarecke, sales and
marketing manager of Cablevision,
tried to answer the question of why
Cablevision doesn’t have BET.
When asked to answer the com
plaints of paying customers, Jarecke,
who was selected to represent Ca
blevision because the station man
ager had prior engagements, told the
audience that Cablevision probably
wouldn ’t get BET, at least for a while.
A very long while. Like, several
years from now.
In fact, BET probably will never
be here. Cablevision will just con
tinue to listen to the complaints and
give any excuse to get the customers
off the phone line.
After leaving the meeting, I real
ized the only way I would enjoy BET
was in another city. I will be long
gone before BET makes its appear
ance on Cablevision.
But if Cablevision executives think
African-Americans will give up re
questing BET, they’re wrong. In giv
ing up BET, we give up a culture.
If not for my VCR, I would be lost
to the BET world forever. Life with
out MTV for many is just like life
without BET for me — a restriction
from a vital culture.
Morgan is a sophomore broadcasting
and advertising major and a Daily Nebras
kan columnist
Raise shows academia-athletics rift
_- . i .1___a .. .ul
Nebraskans were surely satis
fied with the 38-13 trouncing
the Comhuskers inflicted on
the Iowa Slate Cyclones last Satur
day. But were students and faculty of
the University of Ncbraska-Lincoln
Nebraska football has become a
semi-professional organization only
weakly attached to the university. As
the Huskers rise in the national polls,
the response they elicit from students
is the same response, say, the Minne
sota Vikings elicit from Minnesotans.
Massive wins are satisfying, and
the Huskers deliver. But students feel
no sense of collcgiality. Only a few of
the players out on the field can be
identified as classmates. t
But to students and faculty mem
bers alike, the most blatant expres
sion of the split between the univer
sity and the football program lies in
the contrast between their fiscal status.
Last week, the football program
announced that Coach Tom Osborne
will receive a 21 percent salary in
crease. His total salary will now be
$143,560, but that is just a fraction of
the estimated total $230,000 Osborne
will cam annually from a combina
tion of foundation, commercial spon
sors and media programs.
The increase comes from a private
gift from Gail and Dan W. Cook III.
The university had little to do with it,
except for the perfunctory approval
of the NU Board of Regents. One can
hardly criticize private individuals for
doing with their money what they
But one can criticize Osborne for
accepting the massive gift when the
academic programs of the university
he is supposed to be affiliated with
are threatened with extinction.
Has Osborne been reading the Daily
Nebraskan? If he has been, he could
hardly have failed to note two of the
recent headlines: “Official makes plea
for sparing classics program’ and
“Targeted programs open final ap
Perhaps Osborne
is too important to be
concerned with the
quality of education
all students here
receive. If so. the
split between the
university andthz
football program
many students have
felt is all too evident^
Perhaps Osborne is too important
to be concerned with the quality of
education all students here receive. If
so, the split between the university
and the football program many stu
dents have felt is all too evident.
Osborne anticipated criticism when
he accepted the gift.
“There’ll be people madder than
heck about it,” he predicted in the
Nov. 13 Daily Nebraskan.
Well put, Tom. Well put.
The Nebraska Legislature ordered
the university to reduce its budget by
3 percent over the next two years.
Charged with recommending plans to
carry out that mandate, the Budget
Reduction Review Committee con
sidered a plan to eliminate the clas
sics and speech departments.
Five professors within the classics
department aiunc wcie uucwkmnai wmi
being fired. Their average salary is
about $31,000 apiece, a paltry sum
when compared to Osborne’s
$230,000. Osborne’s raise alone would
be nearly enough to spare one of the
classics professors.
Far less dramatic cuts already have
been decided. In the math depart
ment, for example, professors will
relinquish their personal telephone
lines and photocopy privileges. Can a
professor be reasonably expected to
fulfill her or his obligations under
these conditions?
The head coach admits there is
something wrong with his annual
“I’m overpaid,” he admitted.
A characteristically humble ad
mission, but admission is one thing.
Acting on the admission is another.
Osborne thought that to turn down
the hefty raise would have been
“ungracious.” But just how gracious
is accepting money for football coach
ing when vital academic programs
are being phased out and the quality
of those that remain is diluted?
Osborne could have chosen either
of two noble decisions: He could have
refused the raise or he could have
accepted it to donate the money to
academic programs. He chose nei
After all, will an extra $25,000
each year make Osborne’s life any
better, considering that he already
receives about $200,000? To the
impartial observer it all seems inordi
nately gratuitous.
On the other hand, if Osborne
considers his football program sepa
rate from the university, the point is
irrelevant. If he feels no sense of
community with the academic sphere
of UNL, then he surely cannot be
blamed for enriching himself while
the academic community withers.
Potter is a senior physics, philosophy,
history and math major and a Daily Nebras
kan columnist
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