JET: October 17, 1983
A minority business enterprise development plan for television and motion pictures could work wonders within the telecommunications industry, Terry Carter, president of Meta-4 Productions, Inc., told a House subcommittee in Washington.
Pointing out that President Reagan signed an executive order designed to increase opportunities for minority entrepreneurs, Carter said that, "With the guidance of our committee and a redirected Federal communications commission, the industry could be encouraged to set aside a portion of its revenue for re-investment with minority producers.
"I'm not speaking of a handout, but a handshake," Carter told the hearing. "This kind of set-aside, having ample precedent in government procurement history, could nourish a generation of entrepreneurs and creative artists who might offer the industry much needed enrichment."
He warned that, "We are moving closer and closer to a consumer rebellion against the putdown and shut-out Blacks and other minorities are made subject to by the networks and studios." He stressed that "We don't need another committee report to tell us how bad off we are."
The hearings in the nation's capital sponsored by the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Consumer Protection and Finance, also heard testimony from actors Sidney Poitier and Robert Hooks.
In his opening remarks, Texas Rep. Mickey Leland contended that he was, "dismayed that Mr. T. is quite possibly the most visible Black person on television today." Said Leland, "I question why an industry, which has studiously avoided portraying the Pantheon of Black heroes which spans this country's history, chooses to make a folk hero for our children out of Mr. T."
The sharp words were prompted in the hearing by proposals to deregulate the broadcast industry. In general, spokesmen advised the subcommittee against total deregulation and argued that stations, studios and networks should be held accountable for hiring and minority programming.