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Report Index

Director's Statement 

Summary of Research Highlights 

Other Projects and Activities 


Statistical Summary 

Staff/Advisory Board 

Other Participants 




Ms. Pamela Matthews and Professor Cedric Robinson 

The student compiling the research data for this project, Ms. Pamela Matthews, previously worked in the private sector in advertising and marketing targeted to African American consumers.  While working in this capacity, she found differences in criteria in "series" and "special" programming.  Coupled with this find was the fact that there was a significant difference in criteria for general market (White) households and African American (Black) households in terms of program scheduling. The African American market was particularly interesting because there was really no change in programming format or sponsorship of "series" or "specials."  And, although "specials" varied among the networks, the sponsors seemed to remain the same across the board, which could account for the repetition in programming type and the culture representational style.  The student rationalized this to account for the continued negative cultural representation of African Americans on television.  She became determined to discover whether this was unconscious and coincidental cultural traces or if they were deliberate.  

Little research has been done in the area of "special" programming.  This project is designed to compare Sets A and B, denoting any changes in programming patterns regarding program format (variety, drama, comedy, interview or documentary), program sponsor and program producers.  

This project intends to observe any patterns formed by industry executives and corporate sponsorship toward the cultural representations of African Americans specifically in “special” programming across the four major networks and the impact corporate sponsorship has on programming schedules.  While the student has not located any research previously done in the proposed area of "special" programming, she has found an abundance of work in the area of series programming.  

This area of research is important because "special" programming sponsorship of African American programs has not yet been researched.  It is important work because corporate funding provides the primary sponsorship for this programming.  African American advertising agencies are the link between corporate funding and selection of programming.  The relationship between the corporate sponsor and program selection may hold key answers/reasons for the continued negative cultural representation of African Americans in network programming.