tv Cable Hall of Fame CSPAN November 29, 2021 11:04am-12:20pm EST
with citizenship are disappearing. join in the conversations. victor davis hansen, "in depth" on book tv. visit c-spanshop.org to get your copies of his books. the good evening. here we are in our prerecorded glory for a one-of-a-kind cable hall of fame celebration. we can't thank c-span enough for carrying this virtual event. c-span has always been a shining example for the best our industry has to offer. i don't know where we would be
without them. >> a special heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors. wow, covid certainly has changed our lives over the past couple of years, hasn't it? and tonight is a huge example of one of those changes. what saddens me the most about doing the cable hall of fame virtually is we missing out on the opportunity to reconnect in a big, beautiful ballroom for an evening filled with good wine, good food, and most importantly, world class shmoozing. back in the olden days, i can say that because i have a headful of gray hair, we had numerous opportunities to get together at industry meetings, trade shows, and those infamous launch parties, we all remember those. today there are far less of those gatherings which makes the cable hall of fame celebration even more special. this is the 23rd annual cable hall of fame and our 2020 honoraries have been waiting a very long time to be honored.
we had hoped by delaying the celebration we would be able to do it in person. sadly, that was not meant to be this year. that doesn't reduce the importance of these seven remarkable people who have had a tremendous impact on our industry. we're so excited to finally be able to salute them at last. better late than never. >> in the last few years, we've had bagpipers, rope tricks, a broadway chorus line, and i got to dance with little steven bam bam. >> this year's event is unique for another reason. jana has decided it's time for her to focus on her family and philanthropic interests by retiring at the end of this year. that will bring her remarkable cable career to a close. it also means this is the last time the two of us will be co-hosting the cable hall of fame together. jana, you know i can be a bit sentimental and i'll chance the
tears by saying how much all of us will miss your sunny disposition, your vision, and most importantly, your amazing leadership. there is no doubt that you are leaving the cable center much better off than when you arrived. >> thank you, michael. it's been a lot of fun, a great adventure. i've loved working with you. it's been such a privilege to be one of the most transformative industries the world has ever seen. connectivity has never been more important than it's been the last two years. through a global pandemic, this industry has kept people informed, entertained, and somewhat sane. that's an achievement every one of us can be proud of and it's one more reason we're celebrating tonight. >> it's always a special and deeply personal privilege to salute one of the founders of the cable center and a founder of the cable industry itself. one of my dearest friends in life, bill bresnan, left so many
people better off for having known him. he always treated his employees and customers with the highest degree of respect. that's why this award was created in his honor. this year we honor the one and only ted turner. there was never a dull moment when ted was in the room. i love to think back to some of those wonderful moments with such fondness for his spirit, his sense of humor, and most of all, his enormous philanthropic generosity. his daughter will accept the award for her dad. let's look back at ted's unparalleled achievements.
>> i first met and began to know and work with ted turner in the late 1980s when i came to the national cable television association. he of course was on the board and i began to get to know him and watch him and learn from him. of course i had always known of ted turner because i'm a sailor and ted was the greatest amateur sailor that america produced. i don't think it's an overstatement that ted and others really broke the tyranny of the three broadcast network model. he became the brand of the cable industry. brash, creative, competitive. he would do anything for the industry. he never once said he would do something that he didn't do. he was on the tci board of directors for a number of years. it was a brotherhood. i think it's almost immeasurable in terms of the impact ted turner has had on me and the
industry. people in the industry don't even know the effect he had yet they benefitted from the trailblazing he did. i can't swear that he's the first philanthropist to donate $1 billion in wealth but i know he did it. after the aol deal, warner stock collapsed and any normal human being would have called up the u.n. and said, you know, about that billion-dollar commitment. he didn't. he honored it. this is a guy of incredible integrity. one of my fondest memories of ted is when he was chairman of the ncta board and he agreed to host this retreat on his ranch in montana and it was a marvelous two days of being in the west with ted where he could name every plant, the fish, the animals. it enabled me to understand his willingness to be a pioneer, to explore new territory.
>> the next time we spent a lot of time with ted was the goodwill games. ted thought it would be a good idea to have a u.s./russian version of the olympics. he organized a trip to russia. so we're having dinner, and we're with a soviet official who i think was probably kgb. and ted says, come on over with me over to this window. and he says, see that statue over there, who is that over there? and he says, oh, well, that's yuri gregarin, the great soviet cosmonaut hero. ted says, you wouldn't want us to blow up that, would you? the guy says, no, of course not. ted says, we don't want you to blow our stuff up either. ted could boil things down to the most real kinds of comments. >> i think the highest honor that can be bestowed on any person in the cable industry is
the ethics in business award. he showed how acting ethically can be played out philanthropy. >> ted in essence is incredibly unique. the power of that platform in ted's hands was the world changer. >> hello. i'm laura turner seydel. on behalf of my brothers teddy, brett, beau, and my sister jenny, it is truly an honor to accept the cable center bresnan ethics in business award for our father, ted turner. throughout his career, my father has used his media platform to
educate and build awareness, to inspire the people of the world to focus on social and environmental issues, even those which pose the biggest threat to humanity including climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the threat of nuclear weapons. as my personal hero and one of the top 100 leaders who changed the world,ing he has truly one of the most ethical leaders in history. throughout his life he has created systemic, sustainable change. he has influenced multigenerations, including his children and grandchildren, to work together to save everything. if the platform or organization didn't exist, he created it. as he did for cnn and other major cable networks and his many philanthropies including
united nations foundation, nuclear threat initiative, turner foundation, turner endangered species fund, and captain planet foundation. receiving the bresnan award has been special and meaningful for him. he asked me to convey his gratitude and read the following statement. it is an incredible honor to be recognized for accomplishments that were considered by many as genius and many a bit outrageous. creating cnn pretty much against all odds and with the support of my fellow cable pioneers was a mission of pure joy and determination, surpassed only by my work and dedication to conservation and the environment. bill bresnan was a good guy and i admired him for his integrity and good works that he held through every aspect of his life. my time in the cable industry
was a big adventure and i treasured the lifelong friendships i made along the way. i am humbled to receive the distinguished bresnan award and thank the cable center for this great honor. thank you again for presenting our father with this very prestigious award in honor of a lifetime indeed. >> thank you, laura. and congratulations to you, ted. a special thanks to the bresnan award committee. >> and now on to our cable hall of fame 2020 honorees. a program pioneer from the wilds of alaska. an engineer who led his company's innovation in video, internet, and voice. a radio entrepreneur who led the
first company on the u.s. stock exchange headed by a black woman. >> a one time trash collector who built one of the industry's most respected msos. a soccer player who went on to lead a broadband juggernaut. a broadcast news wunderkind who leads a cable news powerhouse. >> our first honoree, bridget baker, co-founded msnbc and made nbc universal into a powerhouse. let's learn more about bridget. >> i remember the first time i met bridget. her presence, her energy. she literally lit up the room. bridget is passionate about the cable industry and she's also very passionate about her roots
in alaska. many people go to alaska seeked the purest form of natural beauty. that's bridget's strongest attribute as well. >> i joined nbc cable as the number two employees and within a week there was bridget baker. i was a lawyer and she came in as the distribution person. and i was just beginning to learn like what is distribution. and we worked together as a team. she had a great love for the business. and during those first few years, the business was tenuous. many on the broadcast side would come to us and would say, when is jack going to shut you down? and bridget was always there to say, never. >> she had a distinguished career at nbc universal. she was the company's first president of the tv network distribution. >> she wasn't just hard working and brilliant but she had the secret sauce. she had the connection and the
emotional and personal relationship with all the key players in the industry. even when things got rough, bridget always stayed cool. jack welch talked about it, make sure you bring bridget. she was always looking for solutions. she was a great listener. she would start every meeting with what can we do for you. >> bridget is a wildly intelligent, highly accomplished executive leader who truly cares. she makes a difference in the bottom line for the people whose jobs ultimately make all the difference. >> bridget understood before any of us did that this was a relationship. she built the nbc cable group by using those relationships to take us from cnbc as a starter network to a powerful cable business with billions of dollars in deals that were done with the cable distributors, all
of whom respected, loved, and wanted to spend time with bridget. when the comcast deal happened, 80% of the value of the nbc assets was the cable business. >> was founded over 25 years ago and bridget was a key part of helping start the u.s. paralympics ski and snowboard team raise money to be able to cultivate athletes and prepare them for the paralympics. >> it was the entrepreneurial drive of this industry that changed the way television and content was created. and bridget was at the front. >> bridget is one of those people that had a zest for life. she is always everybody's cheerleader. >> bridget baker has truly been one of those alaska front runners, one of those female pioneers. we're very, very proud of her
because, bridget, you make us proud. keep it up. >> thank you to everyone at the cable center for this incredible honor. i'm thrilled to join the cable hall of fame and want to congratulate all my fellow honorees. jeff zucker, who would have imagined this when we were together at 30 rock. senator murkowski, your kind words, support, and years of friendship mean so much. i won't be able to recognize everyone tonight, but there is no denying that from the moment i said yes to a job offer from tom rogers and bob wright to join nbc as the company was plotting its course into the cable business, it has been my great good fortune to be a part of this industry. that was in 1988. i was just out of college, working on capitol hill, when i met my very first cable operators who were founders gene and mark schnyder, ron duncan,
and tonight's nominee, ted turner. i was so lucky to be among the visionaies and built an industry. what drew me in with the moms and pops of the 1990s, real life entrepreneurs taking big risks in small towns to hold down signals from outer space, connect a few local broadcast ers from the next county over, add a cable network that nobody had heard of, package the whole thing together and deliver it as a monthly tv subscription. prime, jones, tca, chambers, north land, summit, avenue tv cable and sweetwater cable tv, these are the legacies celebrated at the cable center and i'm very proud to be among
them. i was, however, a programmer, not an operator, which meant i traveled to some amazing and unusual meeting sites. somewhere between the all nighters arguing over pennies per sub, and my personal favorite, msn on an mfn, we got it done. we built a multibillion dollar cable business that thrives today and no one really believed we could. from the remote capital of juneau, who knew not a single person in the media capital of new york city. to mary, miles, and brett, i follow in your footsteps. being married 26 years to robert and being a mom to beckett, brit, and rhett. i love you all from the bottom of my heart. i'm very proud and honored to be inducted into the cable hall of fame. >> our next honoree is jim
blackley. jim started his career as a self-described i.t. vagabond. we're lucky he finally landed at cablevision charter where he regularly broke new technological ground. here is more about jim. >> blackley was with us a long time. he helped put the company together. >> our operations were far-flung. we flew all over the place. every time we took off and landed, we would talk music, name that tune, he would do it. he could give the name of the group, name of the song. >> what year it was. >> what year it was. it was a little scary to watch him do that. >> he was an i.t. guy when i first met him. when he left us, he was running all of engineering and i.t. and software development. charter had a real complicated
situation. when you put cable companies together, they had different technology platforms. jim was able to build an abstraction layer over the top of what was legacy and make it look invisible to the employees who were doing service calls, doing installations, taking sales. and that was kind of a first, because we were the first big merger of cable companies in the modern era after the internet. >> we decided early on we didn't want to bolt them together. we wanted to make them one company, which meant you had to find a way to transition those technologies and all those things into a common platform. and there aren't many people in the world that you could put in charge of collapsing those technologies. he gave me confidence. >> without his vision, without his knowledge and experience, we
would have not been able to put the company together. >> i think he's a great leader. he had a great organization, and it wasn't easy to lead. he did it. >> he's absolutely real, and people like that, respected and unfiltered. >> he's unusually smart. he's unusually educated. when you put that together, he's a fascinating person and he's fun to be with. >> he is. he's even funnier and he's even smarter. >> both john and i are in the cable hall of fame, and i consider it the most significant honor that you can get in the cable business. >> if you look at the people who are in it, they are real contributors to this industry.
>> he deserves to be in the hall of fame because he creates the modern infrastructure. >> there are people in the organization who learned a lot from jim and who carried forward his idea of how to use technology to create value. there's plenty of people in the company who have jim to thank for their own success. >> a very heartfelt thank you to the cable center for this great honor and congratulations to all of tonight's inductees. a special thank you to tom and john. they're the best in the business. and i've had the pleasure of working for them and being driven by their unmatched leadership for two decades, focused on the right thing to do versus the expedient. tom spent a lot of time teaching me about cable and the difference between being a good i.t. guy and a good cto.
the lessons were invaluable. john's word is his bond and he's always the voice of reason. when i first got the cable hall of fame call from michael willner, a few thoughts quickly crossed my mind. first, how long have i been doing this? whew! a long time. and second, have i accomplished what i set out to do. early in my career i followed tech that interested me and it kept me moving forward as a way to meet the blackley needs, pizza and beer. as i advanced my career i added sausage and the beer was now imported. i didn't realize when i followed tech to a job in cable how this ever-changing industry would captivate me the rest of my career. i then thought of those close to me who have been inducted, names like rutledge, bickham, bergman, werner, many others. those inducted have real legacies and i hope i'm bringing
something to the table too. you know, less than 150 people have been inducted into the cable center hall of fame. by the numbers, this hall of fame is more selective than cooperstown and canton, which got me thinking, we may be missing an opportunity in the collectibles market and i'm going to start selling autographed modems and access points. feel free to go to blackley hall of fame 2020 dot-com. i've also thought of john hardess, chris winfrey, and many others. and my team of mvps over the years. jay carlson, jay rawls, kevin leddy. i couldn't be more grateful or proud of what we accomplished together and the part we played in designing and creating this digital network that continues to change the world. the impact of this industry is remarkable. at no time has that been more evident than over the past year and a half when covid hit and
everyone moved from a go to the office to a stay at home world. they needed the internet to stay connected to their families, their jobs, their doctors, their schools, even their churches. and the network didn't break a sweat, as everyone jumped on zoom and webex. was the investment, innovation, and hard work of this industry that kept them connected, allowing their lives to keep moving even as the world had stopped. and the truth is, this network will be leading the way in connectivity for decades to come. it has been fun looking back over the years and professionally i see now i went from following tech to wanting to be part of something bigger, something that would have a lasting impact on the world around me. it was this industry that truly answered that call. i think our most important focus group and super users are a family. they are who we most want to please and if something isn't working right they definitely provide immediate feedback. it is impossible to express the love and gratitude i have for my
wife cathy and my son tim and daughter rachel. they are my rock. and if you're a cable tech like me, the term rock has a different meaning but it's still applicable. they are the fiber backbone of my life, always providing me support and making sure i don't have too much downtime. i've said many times you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much bandwidth. you can never have too much love or be too grateful for those who have made every aspect of your life enjoyable, happy, and successful. as tom and john have taken charter to new heights while i still enjoy pizza with sausage, i'm occasionally washing it down with a glass of opus one. cheers and thank you. >> welcome to the cable hall of fame, jim. cathy hughes is a media pioneer. she created a format that
revolutionized urban radio and went on to build radio one, a national powerhouse. she took that success into cable with tv one. let's take a closer look. ♪♪ >> hi, i'm reverend al sharpton, president of national action network. as cathy hughes is inducted in the cable hall of fame, you must know that she is an american success story, done in black but available to everyone. i woman who started in broadcasting, really grew up in it, then became a radio talk show host and literally bought the station she hosted her show on, and went through the rough
and tumble entrepreneurial challenges as a single black woman. at she bought and made that radio station become the voice of black washington, dc. and that station grew into radio one all over this country, and she became the creator of the largest black radio chain in the world. but she didn't rest there. she went from there into cable tv, tv one, where she refused to capitalize and commercialize black lives. she told our stories as
aspirational and inspirational as we are and were. tv one developed and went on to win a clio. she has become the model, the template of being successful without being a sellout, of being visionary but also knowing how to detect the bottom line, of being one that is committed but does not compromise appealing to an audience. if there is anyone, she stands out by herself. cathy hughes made mainstream go black. >> hi, i'm cathy hughes. and i give praise and thanks to
god from whom all blessings flow. what a tremendous honor it is to be recognized as an inductee of the 2020 cable hall of fame. i am thrilled to be recognized alongside my colleagues, fellow inductees, and my son and business partner alfred liggins for this distinction. and i offer my sincere congratulations to all. i would also like to thank everyone at the cable center for their kind consideration of alfred and me for the 2020 hall of fame. it is hard to believe that more than 40 years have passed since our entree into the media industry. an african proverb states that until the lion is able to talk, the story of the hunt will always be from the hunters' perspective. so we had to create a space and a place for black voices to be heard and black stories to be told in ways that best
represented who we are as a people. however, our mission demanded continued growth and expansion, which sparked a journey that led us to diversify into the cable television industry. without diluting our message. and as we grew, so did our sense of responsibility to remain vigilant, not only to create content but also to develop leaders and innovators who could push the boundaries, shatter the ceiling, and removing the margins to find their place in rooms that were not designed for us in mind. now, 40 years later, i'm immensely proud that urban one is one of the very few minority owned business in the cable business. that accomplishment demonstrates how far we've come while underscoring the distance we still have to go. it is a necessity today as it
has been ever since we've been in business. we are unapologetically in the black people business, serving our community needs. i am grateful to the committed leaders and innovators at the cable center for their efforts to curate stories, to convene leaders, and tackle issues to ensure that true representation is resident in our industry. thank you for this distinguished honor and to be able to share this induction with my son, alfred liggins, is awesome. thank you and god bless. >> congratulations to cathy hughes. alfred liggins did his homework at his mother's radio station and grew up to become the financial mastermind behind radio one. he took the company public and helped shepherd it into the cable business with the launch
of tv one. here is more about alfred. ♪♪ >> i started working with alfred in 2004, which was the year that we launched tv one. >> 20 years ago, alfred looked at the cable industry and he realized what we in cable didn't have at the time was a real choice for viewers who were looking for programming for, by, and about african americans. >> even though there was only one other network at the time, it was not easy to convince people that there needed to be a second one. >> those early days were all about strategy, how to grow this brand, how to grow this network, and what type of content we should have on the network. >> he gave us choice with a black perspective. he covered lives like michael jackson and coretta scott king and the nomination and election
of barack obama as the president of the united states. he gave millions of americans a chance to relive the genius comedy of martin lawrence. and his award winning series "unsung" brought tears and smiles to african american baby boomers all around the globe. >> the people that he employs and the people that worked for him, particularly his confidants and direct reports, are people that give him comfort. there's comfort in knowing that they've got it covered because alfred is very much focused on the fundamentals of the business and he wants to know that you care about the business just as much as he does. he's the person that will look up and see the pot of gold and everyone saying we should go after it. he will go after it but he's going to go after it very methodically. he's very successful at what he does because of that. >> 40 years ago my mom set out on a mission to entertain and empower the community. >> urban one was launched by his mother, cathy hughes, with one
station, wol in washington, dc. >> we are proud to be black owned, black operated, that's my job, and the largest distributor of black culture and content in the country. >> he has grown this company into a very diversified media company with digital, radio, and television assets. this is his family's business and it is his family's legacy. i think what drives alfred is that commitment to legacy. not just his family legacy. commitment also to the legacy of service across all the different markets that they serve. no one has made a greater impact in this business in terms of diversity, providing a voice, and making sure that all voices are heard and represented. that is something that we have been doing since day one. >> he helped inspire the cable industry to become one of the most diverse media platforms in
history. >> this industry has changed for the better since he's become part of it. >> greetings. it is quite a privilege to be recognized among such an array of esteemed colleagues and industry titans as a recipient of the 2020 cable hall of fame awards. congratulations to my fellow honorees whose body of work is indicative of the leadership that the cable center seeks to herald. thank you for this notable distinction. as i consider our position as one of only a handful of minority-owned businesses in the cable industry, i cannot help but reflect on the amazing opportunities afforded us and the weight of responsibility we shoulder. my mother and business partner cathy hughes and i have been dedicated to not just entertaining but to also informing and advocating for people of color. we are acutely aware that we are not just in business but in
purpose and service as a voice for and a voice to the african american and urban communities. we are also a gateway for leaders, media professionals, content creators, innovators, and influencers who look like us to enter unfetterred into a field that has traditionally marginalized us, limiting our opportunities, our access, and our voice. we celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2020 during one of the most significant periods in our nation's history. and we're reminded, while we have come a long way since the founding of our company in 1980, we still have a long way to go and cannot rest on our laurels. diversification and innovation are natural resources we must continue to harvest as we work to move our company and industry forward. rather than thinking outside of the box, we must remove the box altogether, as the box
represents paradigms, systems, and stratagems that were never designed with us in mind. urban one has set trends, created models, and broken barriers. our role is critical. our voice is necessary. and our impact is undeniable. i am grateful for the cable center and my colleagues who recognize our successes and struggles. continue to empower disrupters and innovators and continue working to level the playing field to make sure equity and inclusion are more than just popular buzzwords but informed practices. i am also grateful that our legacy and story will now live on as part of this great organization. thank you and god bless. >> congratulations, alfred. what a fantastic group of honorees. this virtual format gives me a great opportunity to remind everyone that the cable hall of fame isn't just an annual celebration. here is the permanent exhibit that the cable center
documenting the early days of the event and all our distinguished honorees. i love that we house the actual exhibit, an actual cable hall of fame, to document and recognize the achievements of industry. i'm always delighted when one of our hall of famers comes by for a visit with their family. it's really special to hear the stories shared and see the reaction of the kids and grandkids. the hall of fame exhibit is an enduring testament to the innovative and entrepreneurial men and women of our industry. now let's welcome our final honorees. our next honoree is jeff marcus. as a student, jeff discovered that selling cable door to door was easier and paid better than driving a garbage truck. what started out as door-knocking evolved into a highly respected cable career. here is a closer look. ♪♪
>> well, jeff marcus, a good friend of mine, was a very early participant in the cable industry. i met him probably in the late '60s or very early '70s in connection with his brokerage company, communications equity associates. when tci didn't have any money but had ambition to be an acquirer, and we were looking for transactions that could be done with creative financing, let's call it, jeffrey and i would travel around, occasionally meeting with potential sellers. to see him in those days, he was a very handsome guy, very personable, and could get the door open. i remember a trip to a company called acton cable that was owned by a fellow by the name of sam phillips. we went up there to sweet-talk
him. his primary business was chicken eggs. the reason why mr. phillips had to sell his cable system was that he had run out of money to feed his chickens. we had a good deal of humor around these efforts to solve a problem for somebody feeding their chickens. and we did a number of those kinds of meetings together, even flying to honolulu together effort in to see if we could acquire the oceanic cable system that served most of hawaii. through those years, jeff was basically part of the family. when we were at the lowest of the lows in '75 and '76, jeffrey was there trying to figure out how a deal that made economic sense could be done. the positive, optimistic force
in the industry. later on, of course, jeffrey was interested in getting into operations himself. ended up in a partnership with tci, acquiring some cable systems, and ultimately creating a company called westmark. jeff had merged his cable company in depaul allen's charter in which liberty is a substantial investor. to a very large degree, cable was a brotherhood, because we were essentially all in the same boat. we were united in our need to fight the big guys. so it's an important recognition that jeffrey is one of us. congratulations to jeff on being inducted. >> good evening. it's such an honor to be here
this evening, to be inducted into the cable hall of fame. my cable story actually started 54 years ago, in july of 1967. i was driving a garbage truck, of all things. and i had a roommate who was selling cable door to door. he would make twice what i would make and he would work half the time. it didn't take me long to figure out he had the better job. and i got it, i applied for the job, i got the job selling cable. and i was off to the races. i continued to sell cable in my senior year in college. and then after i graduated, and over the next several years, i had a marketing and installation company. i worked in sales and marketing for two big msos. in 1975, i joined rick michaels in a company called communications equity associates, a cable tv brokerage company. so i learned the art of the deal. i learned how to buy and sell cable television systems. and in 1979, i actually bought
the first cable system i was to own. and i really got hooked. i loved operations, i loved to run cable companies. and i left cea in 1982 and with two small children, i became an entrepreneur. it was a scary time, really. i had a great partner, john malone at tci. together we built western markets communications which became westmark and then was ultimately sold. after that, i had another great partner in goldman sachs in forming marcus cable and grew that to serve 1,250,000 subscribers. we sold that in 1998. it was a bittersweet day for me because i loved that company and i loved being an operator. and i was gone, the company was gone. but i joined the private equity company a few years later as the partner in charge of media. and we made cable investments,
so i was back in the industry, this time as a cable investor. although i retired from that company at the end of 2018, i continue to be actually chairman of the board of wide open west, so i remain in the cable business and it's been an incredible ride. what an honor to be a part of an industry and to help an industry grow that has really changed the face of america. so thank you very much for this honor. i am moved by this. it's such an honor to be a part of this and to be among the many men and women who are a part of the cable hall of fame. >> thanks, jeff. congratulations. next up, dave watson. after abandoning plans for a professional soccer career, dave got into the phone business. he joined comcast cellular and went on to lead the nation's biggest cable company. let's learn more about dave.
♪♪ >> if i were to describe dave in one word i think it would be "genuine." >> dave is caring. >> honest. everybody loves dave. that's probably his is no matter what he does, people go, he's such a nice guy. >> he cares about people, he cares about the business. he cares about doing things right, and that's what's made him so special. >> he has this unique ability to strip away all of the distractions. you can see it in the results. you don't get years of double digit growth without focus and good judgment. >> dave's one of the best marketing people i have met. when we sold the business, we said to the buyer, one condition, you can't have dave. >> dave has this saying, which is he'll say this is a moment, a moment, and what he means is this is an opportunity that you must not let go, and you cannot
wait, and we had that discussion with our flex service. dave saw the market opportunity, and he just wanted to go like crazy. >> i think the hallmark of dave's leadership style is that he's all about team work. he's worked so many parts of the business over the 30 years he's been in the industry that he understands how all of the parts of the business should work to go, and he collaborates well with everyone, and makes great things happen by getting the team to work together. >> dave is a leader that reaches out and connects with all levels of the organization. he makes a point to travel around the country to spend time with regional leaders and their teams to remain in touch with like the beating heart of the company, and i think he learned this from watching ralph and that his connection and memory of ralph is the guiding hand in his leadership style. >> my dad cared deeply about our family. dave feels the same about his family, the ups and downs and the fun and joy and highs and lows that come with life, and i
think that's a big part of why we get along so well. >> comcast has a feeling of being a family business even though it's as big as it is, and i think i attribute a lot of that to dave and the way he works and he treats everyone like family. >> we have a great road map for the future. dave has got a combination of customers wanting to do business with us, employees wanting to spend their careers with this company, and a future that looks really bright. so i think he's the heart and soul of our company. >> dave, a huge congratulations, we are all so happy to see you inducted into the cable hall of fame. >> congratulations on being inducted into the cable center hall of fame. well done, and very well deserved. >> welcome to the hall of fame, dave, long overdue, you're a star. i am very appreciative of this moment. i would have been fine with a
simple note of acknowledgment, but i'm grateful for the cable hall of fame's dogged pursuit of recognizing this group of inductees, it is an honor to be included with this class. i've always appreciated and never taken for granted the entrepreneurs who built this business with ralph roberts, julien broadsky, and dan aaron being among them. in this moment, i have never been more proud of how our industry has been there for each other and for our customers. to the amazing content, incredible products that serve our customers every day and the support for our communities that has always been important part of it. we are at our best because we have so many remarkable teammates and because we put people at the heart of our business. this has been quite a journey, and as proud as i am to be here today i'm most proud of my family. my wife ellen is incredible. everyone who meets ellen has a
common reaction, how did you pull that off. i'm not kidding, they literally say that out loud in front of me. our two kids mora, and dan, and mora's husband kevin are extraordinary young adults. we are indeed very fortunate. i'm grateful for the amazing colleagues i have had along the way, starting with one of the best mentors in ralph roberts. i was fortunate that he showed an interest in me early on and i still remember his advice to this day. and then there's brian roberts. brian and his team have built an amazing company doing it the right way. brian leads with vision, a sense of purpose, and decency. i would also like to thank neil smith. a mentor and a terrific boss and leader, team work to neil was not just a catch phrase. it meant everything to him and us. there are so many teammates and friends i have had, and continue
to have the honor of working with. you don't stick around as long as i have without those relationships being central to everything we do. it's the people that really matter. last thing, my dad often spoke about john wooden, the late great ucla basketball coach. for those of you who don't know him, he got great results by blending coaching with teaching. he did an interview late in his life and quoted a poem by an elementary schoolteacher named glenis harmon. he recited the entire poem, which is pretty amazing. i'm not going to do that. one of ms. harmon's students asked why she became a teacher, she thought about it, didn't want to give a glib answer on the spot, and wrote that night, her one and only poem. it ends with, they ask me why i teach, and i respond, where else could i find such splendid company.
for me, that has been comcast and the cable industry. where else could i find such splendid company. thank you for this honor and the entire class of inductees. >> congratulations dave. that brings us to jeff zucker who has been setting the world on fire. he continues to do that at warner media and cnn. here's the scoop on jeff. >> what is it like to work for jenna. jeff pushes for us all to be better. he's the hardest working person at cnn. somebody who lives and breathes news. before i started at cnn, i had been in tv journalism a long time, and had heard the legends of jeff zucker, his rise from the "today" show to nbc news
and on and on and on. it was rather daunting to meet with him, and ending up, he was not what i pictured because i kind f pictured something out of a movie. what i got was a great boss, a friend. i ran into andrea mitchell at a party. andrea said point-blank, he's the best boss i ever had. my experience has been the exact same as andrea mitchell's. jeff has this tremendous amount of empathy and humanity, when you see how jeff deals with correspondents in war zones, how jeff deals with the company during a deadly pandemic. there is no boss who is in your corner more than jeff zucker. how loyal he is to us, and how loyal he is to the news. if jeff weren't running cnn,
what would be a good job for him? well, i don't know if i'm supposed to tell anybody, but i think he'd love to manage the miami dolphins. and to be honest, they couldn't do any worse. that's not a shot at jeff. i'm saying the dolphins suck. something else i know about jeff that others may not know is how incredibly devoted he is to his children, a very involved and loving father. if there is ever a time that a news story interferes with family, it's not even a question jeff says go be with your family. every single time. i love that he cares not just about gender diversity, and racial diversity, i love that
we're proud to work for cnn. not everybody works at a place where they believe in the mission of what they do. jeff zucker is constantly, he's there in our corner always. >> thank you so much for this honor. while i know that we're all disappointed we can't be celebrating in person, it does not take away from the excitement that i have about being included in not only such a distinguished group, but also with the exceptional group of people i join today in this honor. the 150 recipients served as a reminder of how lucky i have been in my own career. i have had the opportunity to work with some of the true greats in the cable business. and lucky to call many of them my friends.
and of course ted turner. has made an indelible impression on my career, given what he created with cnn and the turner networks. he is a pioneer. i would be remiss if i did not call out one special honoree who shares the virtual stage with me tonight, my friend and former colleague, bridget baker. she has kept me connected to the cable sensor since she recruited me to the board. she's tireless, inspiring, and one of the best advocates this industry has. bridget, i send you my best. congratulations, and i hope to see you soon. our business changes at warp speed every day.
and it is imcouple bent on each of us to keep it vital and vibrant. i know that each of you who joins us tonight knows that and is committed to keeping the great work you do. i pledge to do the same. i'm immensely appreciative for being chosen for this special award and thank everyone who had a hand in making it possible. congratulations to my fellow honorees, here's hoping next year we will once again be able to celebrate in person. welcome to the cable hall of fame, jeff, and congratulations to the 2020 class of honorees. >> congratulations. we've waited an entire year to induct our 2020 class, and you may be wondering, what about the class of 2021. if you're not, cable hall of fame didn't take the year off, and i can say with a great deal of certainty, neither did our
2021 inductees. it's a really big group. thousands of cable people who have been really really busy during the pandemic. as the world fell into a new reality last year, everyone feared that our lives, our livelihoods, our relationships, both personally, and professionally would be altered. people rush to connect in new ways, and the explosive growth of online communications filled the gap. you know, as a cable guy, i worried that we wouldn't be able to keep up the unexpected surging demands on our networks. despite how well it went, the world will never know it was no easy task. it took commitment, determination, and creativity. not to mention, taking a great deal of personal risk for being out and about during a viral pandemic. i am so proud to announce that our 2021 honorees are the thousands and thousands of men
and women who are the front line cable professionals across the planet who stayed on the job throughout the pandemic, working day in and day out keeping all of us connected to one another. they are the heart and soul of our industry, and frankly, none of us would be here tonight without them. let's look at their accomplishments and then jana will accept the award on our behalf in our industry's truest heroes. >> even though we make this claim. we have the evidence and the job to prove it. on the business side, we touch many sectors. >> tech, media, finance. >> entertainment, sports, manufacturing. >> hospitality, education, medicine. >> but our purpose is more personal. >> we connect people.
>> with their work, with their school. >> with the personal well being, with their entertainment. >> and with one another. >> we have been doing it for a year, creating the network, the technology, and the content that have made realtime connections possible and meaningful. >> so when this pandemic struck early last year. >> we, along with everyone else, had to make some big changes. >> we still had business to do. >> families to tend to. >> and communities to serve. but covid made all of this more isolating, more challenging, and more scary. >> it made the connections we provide all the more critical. >> and so we got to work. >> we got to work. >> we got to work. >> we got to work. >> we moved beyond our mandate to cover the federal government, and again, bringing in key briefings by governors across
the united states. we did an evening call-in program, and brought public health officials to answer questions directly from the public. >> we got to work. our network, we started seeing challenges that we had never seen before, and i knew that cable would enable us to share solutions and solve our problems. >> we got the work. >> when the pandemic hit, the food network had to get creative. he had to continue to create content. a lot of chefs like myself started creating shows at home. i think it helped a lot of people. it also helped us. it helped us through an incredibly difficult time. thank you for your support, and i'm just going to keep doing shows in my backyard. >> we got to work. >> we formed a critical partnership. with education super highway, and created the k through 12 program. >> when they told us media come
was going to be going to all of the homes to make sure that they had internet, i thought this is going to take months. i'm shocked and surprised at how quickly that everybody was able to work together, and get the computers passed out and the internet hooked up. >> and two months, 700 homes, and no kid should be left behind. >> we needed something to support school from home in alaska. so we developed this service that allows students to access school-provided content through secure apps with no impact to their home internet plans. >> mvpd, systems, content providers, technology companies. >> we froze broad band for months to keep americans connected and provided hundreds of millions of dollars in air time and digital assets to remind americans how to stay
safe and healthy. >> we work with poster house. they were able to let artists come to the network and share the important messages, but with their unique takes. >> and our team worked together in entirely new ways to make sure that our public service was uninterrupted during the entire pandemic. >> we knew that it was proportionate impact on the black community. we want to provide information, we want to uplift. we wanted to use our talent and stars and celebrities to bring levity, but to also inform and engage and empower our audience. >> helping our community in all kinds of ways, both big and small. >> i'm on a crew of almost 20 people, i think, out in the hottest day of july in the mid western summer and worked in a parking lot to help direct traffic, upload food, load it into the cars, and get people
through this mobile food pantry. >> we found a theater program. we pulled these kids together with this technology that allows kids to ask in front of their camera, and their asking is converted into a character to recreate their program virtually. >> when we were faced with isolation and uncertainty, hallmark channel's movies brought a great sense of joy and connectivity. >> we want an operation to subsidize our broad band business, and we brought a whole, we put it in the deep freeze and whenever that was all done, there would be more. >> it's been a tough couple of years, masking up, staying in, seeking safety, unable to touch
or hug those we love. >> i'm sending this message because i miss you. >> we're separate. >> but together. >> missing a good hug. know that i miss a good hug too. >> amc developed a campaign called we're with you. it was a great opportunity for talent who's also stuck at home that really wanted to give back, and we were able to create something that they were excited to participate in. >> we are with you. >> just about everything you didn't know you would miss. >> we're with you. >> we worked with senior centers, and volunteered to give them a call every day. making sure that they have at least one person that keeps them connected to the other world. >> i mean, the pandemic is the heart of it all. >> as we venture back out there. adjust to a different norm. >> we had to get really creative
the way that we did things, the tech, or video chat app that allowed us to solve some of the challenges within the home without ever having to set foot in the home. >> if your computer shuts down or your computer's not working or your screen is upside down, we're going to call, text, and make sure somebody helps you out. >> during lock down, we're away from home. people need to communicate, work from home. >> the pandemic has put a big focus on how reliable broad band is. it's been an absolute lifeline. >> we started by setting up an online shop. what we wanted to do was bring the experience to everything that we did online. if we didn't have a reliable connective, online wine tastings would be a disaster. we wouldn't have been able to keep the business going. >> it did make me feel very good to see that my job was the
reason why somebody was able to have school from home, the reason why somebody who worked from home is not having to put themselves in danger. >> we emerged strong, and hopefully. having learned how our industry's history of innovation, diligence, cooperation and flexibility served us well to serve others during this unprecedented time. >> covid made us think more about what's really important and why making connections with each other, especially now is simple. >> we are all connected. >> we are all connected. >> we are all connected. >> we are all connected. >> we are all connected. >> we are all connected. >> thank you, michael. i'm so happy to accept this award on behalf of the terrific
front line associates. the award will be placed here at the cable center. this past summer, our industry lost a giant and a dear friend to many of us, nick devotsi, a great supporter of the cable network. he had recently signed on for another three-year term on our board. we wanted to take a moment to remember him. i worked with nick at a and e and saw firsthand what a kind person he was, and what a wonderful culture he created. in an obituary, abby raven said he was responsible for creating and nurturing a culture of creativity, and innovation. she was so right about that and it was a real family atmosphere. at the annual holiday party he had a slide listing the names of all the babies that had been born to a&m employees that year. he would read them and
congratulate the parents. i don't know many ceos who do that kind of thing. nick was an intellectual. it was well known that he had an opinion about everything, and he was always ready to tell you what he thought. hi called him my con sig lair, a term i think he liked. he was a great supporter of the cable center but we had to earn respect, and he became one of our biggest champions. cable center board remembers nick as a great friend and a wonderful human being. >> nick was one of the founders as a and e networks, and served as ceo since the company's inception in 1983 until 2005 when he was named ceo emeritus. his fashion, his drive, his love of our company, our industry, and the important role media plays in all of our lives never waned. he continued to work with us, give us guidance, support, and
insight until the day he passed. his creativity and innovation has left an imprint on all of media. and his rich legacy includes a launch of a, and e. i would see nick in our connecticut office, and he was always gracious with time, attention and counsel. he was not only a visionary and a true giant in the cable industry but also an extraordinary leader, colleague, mentor, and friend. as a tremendous advocate for education and corporate social responsibility and a great supporter of the cable center, nick set the standard for integrity in media and commitment to giving back to our communities we serve. among the many many accolades is when the cable center inducted nick into the cable hall of fame, class of 2005. nick's impact will be felt for years to come. i know you will join me in reflecting upon and honoring this remarkable man and his
legacy. >> we all miss him so much. >> we certainly do, jana. and nick was a great example that you can succeed in life by doing the right thing all the time. >> one of the best things about the cable center is honoring our industry's leaders and innovators. and as ceo, i sometimes get to shine a light on people who may not be household names. this year, i'm taking the opportunity to present a special shining star award. this award is given at my discretion. it's my great pleasure to present the cable center shining star award to keely buchanan, charter's director of employee experience, a job she does brilliantly, and has more energy that six mere mortals, and also what i call an ultra volunteer for the cable center. she has been an unofficial adviser for years.
and the next generation of industry leaders. she had a huge impact on the development of our entrepreneurship academy. i can't thank you enough. it's my pleasure to present this to you. you have been a joy to work with. >> jana, thank you so much for this incredible honor. i loved working with the cable center, and you. you have been an amazing mentor. i've learned a lot. >> back at you. >> you have taught me a lot, too. everyone at the cable center thinks the world of you, and we're so grateful for all you have done for this organization. >> i'm really proud so play my part. thank you again, jana. >> looking good on zoom, michael. i kind of miss your casual red t-shirt look. relaxing in your home was a comfortable way to attend the party. it's just not the same. we would rather be together in real life. >> for sure. together with all of our friends. >> now, it is time to toast the
table classes of 2020, and 2021. is everybody's champagne ready? there's no champagne flutes up here in roxbury, connecticut, so we'll use a wine glass. congratulations to our incredible honorees, thank you for your service, your leadership, and for your example. we salute you for making the cable industry such a great global institution. here's to you. >> here here. thanks, michael, and thanks for sharing the stage with me one last time. >> happy to do it. we're going to miss you, jana, i love doing these with you. had a great time over the years. i have to give a nod to c-span for delivering this event to everyone at home. thank you for tuning into our celebration. we are looking forward to being together next year. see you there. >> good night.