tv Cable Hall of Fame CSPAN November 15, 2021 9:02am-10:19am EST
look at how issues of today is developed over years. extensive conversations with historians about their lives and work. many of our television programs are also available as podcasts. you can find them all on the c-span now mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. 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'd be without them. >> a special heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors. wow. covid certainly has changed our lives over the past couple years, hasn't it? 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're all missing out on the opportunity for us to reconnect in a big, beautiful ballroom, for an evening filled with good wine, good food and most importantly world class schmoozing. back in the ol den days, i can say that because i have a headful of great hair, we had numerous opportunities to get together every year at industry meetings, trade shows and those infamous news service 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. our 2020 honorees have been
waiting a long time to be honored. we 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 trick, a broadway chorus line, and i got to dance with little stephen van zandt. >> i hope this year is the first and last virtual hall of fame celebration. this year's event is unique for another reason. janet 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 that this is the last time that the two of us will be co-hosting the cable hall of fame together. janna, you know i can be a bit
sentimental. i'll say how much all of us will miss your sunny disposition, your vision and most importantly, your amazing leadership. there's no doubt that you're 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 a part of one of the most transformative industries the world has ever seen. connectivity has never been more important than it's been these last two years. through a global pandemic this industry has kept people connected, productive, informed, entertained and somewhat sane. that's an achievement every one of us can be proud of. 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 live, bill breslin left so many
people better off for having known him. his ethical values were without any come miepz whatsoever in both his business and personal life. he always treated his employees, his colleagues and customers with the highest degree of respect. that's why the breslin ethics in business award was created, in his honor. this year we're going to honor the one and only ted turner. ted is a one-of-a-kind entrepreneur as we all know. there's never a dull moment when ted is 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. ted couldn't be with us tonight. his daughter laura turner seidel will accept the award for her dad. first, let's take a look back and honor 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. i began to get to know him and watch him and learn from him. >> of kourks i had always known of ted turner since i'm a sailor and ted was the greatest amateur sailor that america produced. >> i don't think it's an overstatement to say 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 really 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 he had on me and our industry.
i think there are a lot of people in the industry who don't know the impact he's had. yet they benefit from the trail blazing he did. >> i can't swear that he's the first philanthropist to donate a billion of his wealth, but i know he did it. when it got tough, because after the aol deal, the time warner stock collapsed. any human being would have called up the u.n. and said, about that billion dollar commitment -- he didn't. he honored it. this is a guy of incredible integrity. >> one of my fondest memoies of ted is when he was chairman of the booed and he agreed to host this retreat on his ranch in montana. 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 good will games. ted thought it would be a good idea to have a u.s./russian version of olympics. he organized a trip to russia. so having dinner with a soviet official who i think was probably kgb, and ted says come on over to me over to this window. he says see that statue over there, who is that over there? he said oh, that's yuri greg garren, the great soviet koz naught hero. ted says you wouldn't want us to blow that up, would you? the guy say, no, of course not. he says we don't want you to blow our stuff up either. ted could boil these things down to the most real kind of comment. >> i think the highest honor that can be bestowed on any
person in the cable industry is the bill bresnan ethics in business award. what he's done is to show how acting ethically can be played out through fill on pi. it's part of his dna. >> his view of the world and his willingness to take it on, ted in that sense is incredibly unique. >> the power of that platform in ted's hands was a world-changer. >> hello. i'm laura turner seidel. on behalf of my brothers, teddy, rhett, 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 threats 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, he's truly one of the most ethical leaders in history. throughout his life he's created systemic sustainable change. he's influenced multi generations 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 fill on pis
including united nations foundation, nuclear threat initiative, turner foundation, turner endangered species fund and captain planet foundation. receiving the bresnan award has been very special and meaningful to 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 maybe 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 work that held through every aspect of his life. my time in the cable industry
was a big adventure, and i treasure the lifelong friendships i made along the way. i'm 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 after 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 hon nor's. thanks to liberty global for presenting this part of the presentation. each of these remarkable people has helped make cable a continuing success. they are a programming 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 business wizard who transformed a radio kingdom into a multimedia empire. 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 wonder king who leads a cable news powerhouse. >> our first honoree, bridget baker, is one of our most popular speakers for the cable center's entrepreneurship academy. we call her the fan faver favorite. she co-founded cnbc and made nbc universal into a con at the time powerhouse. let's learn more about bridgett. >> i remember the first time i met bridgett, her presence, her energy. she literally lit up the room. bridgett is passionate about the cable industry and also very
passionate about her roots in alaska. many people go to alaska seeking the purest form of natural beauty and adventure. those are two of bridget's strongest attributes as well. >> i joined nbc cable as the number two employee, and within a week, there was bridget baker. i was a lawyer, and she came in as the distribution person. i was just beginning to learn, like, what is distribution. we worked together as a team. she had a great love for the business. during those first few years, the business was tenuous. many on the broadcast side would come to us and say when is jack going to shut you down. bridget was always there to say never. >> she had this distinguished career at nbc universal where she was the first president of 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 welsh talked about it. she was always looking for solutions. she was a great listener and she would start every meeting with "what can we do for you?" >> bridget is a wildly intelligent, highly competent executive leader. -- whose jobs ultimately make all the difference. >> bridget understood before any of us did that this was a relationship business. 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 contributors, 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 u.s. paralympics snowboard team raise money to be able to cultivate athletes to be able to prepare them for the paralympics. >> it was the entrepreneurial drive of this industry that changed the way television and content was created. bridget was at the front. >> bridget is one of those people with a zest for life. she's 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.
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 hall of fame and want to congratulate all my honorees. jeff zucker, who would have imagined this when we were at 30 rock. senator murkowski, your kind work, support and years of friendship mean so much. i won't be able to recognize everyone tonight. but there's no denying that from the moment i said yes to the job offer to join nbc as the company was plodding 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, jean and mark schneider, ron duncan, john malone and tonight's honoree, ted turner. i couldn't have known then i
would embrace cable as my career and be so lucky to be among the visionaries who built this industry, wired a nation and today provide the technology none of us can live without. what drew me were in were the mom and pop family-owned msos of the 1990s. these were real-life entrepreneurs taking big risks in small towns to hold down satellite signals from outer space, connect a few local broadcasters from the next county over, adding cable networks no one had ever heard of, package it all together and deliver the whole thing as a monthly tv subscription. it sounded crazy, but it got me hooked. falcons, triad, bresnan, intermedia, prime, jones, tca, chambers, north lund, 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 means i traveled to some amazing and unusual meeting sites. somewhere between the all-nighters arguing over pennies, retransfer fees and personal favorite msn, we got it done. we built a world class multibillion dollar cable business that thrives today and did it when no one believed we could. going from someone who knew not a single person in new york city and to accepting this award, i stand on the shoulders of trailblazers. to mary, myles and brett, i follow in your footsteps. the blessing of my life is being married for 26 years to robert and being a mom to beckett, britt and rhett. i love you all from the bottom of my heart and i thank you again. i'm very proud and honored to be inducted into the cable hall of fame. >> our next honoree is jim blackley. he started his career as a
self-described i.t. vagabond. we're lucky he's finally landed at cablevision and then 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 we flew all over the place together. every time we took off and landed we would talk music. >> name that tune in three notes. he can do it. he can say who sack it, who wrote it, the name of the group, the name of the song. >> who year it was. >> what year it was. a little scary actually to watch him down that. >> he was an i.t. guy when i first met him. when he left us he was running all of engineering, i.t., software development. charter had a real complicated
situation. when you put cable companies together, they have different technology platforms. jim was able to build an abstraction layer over top over all the legacy and make it look invisible to the employees 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. there aren't many people in the world you can put in charge of collapsing those technologies. he gave me confidence. >> his vision, his knowledge and experience, we would not have been able to put the company
together. >> i think he's a great leader. he had a huge organization, and engineers and technology people aren't easy to lead, and he did it. he's absolutely real. he's out there and people like that, and they work for him. they respect him. >> unfiltered. >> yeah. you got what you got. >> he's unusually smart and unusually educated. you put that together, and he's a fascinating person. >> he is. if you give him two shots of single malt, he's even funnier, even smarter. >> both john and i are in the cable hall of fame. i consider it the most significant honor that you can get in the cable business. >> you look at the people who are in it, they are real contributors to this industry. >> he really deserves to be in the hall of fame because he
creates the modern infrastructure. >> there are people in the organization that have learned a lot from jim and who carry forward his idea of how to use technology to create value. he has plenty of people in the company that really 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. aside from being a good man, constantly focus on the right thing to do versus the expedient, he spent a lot of time teaching me about cable and the difference between being a good i.t. good and a good ceo. the lessons are invabl. john is a throwback, always the calm voice of reason.
thank you for allowing me both to be part of your team. when i first got the call from michael wilner, a few thoughts quickly crossed my mind. first, how long have i been doing this? whoo, a long time. second, have i accomplished what i set out to do? early in my career i followed tech that interests me. as i advanced my career and led bigger teams, i added sausage and the beer was now important. i didn't realize when i followed tech through job and cable, how this ever changing industry would captivate me the rest of my career. i then thought of those who had been inducted, names lick rudd ledge, bik ham, bergmann, werner, many others. those who have been inducted have real legacies. i hope i'm bringing something to the table, too. less than 150 people have been inducted into the cable center hall of fame.
in numbers, this is more selective than cooperstown and canton which got me thinking, i feel we may be missing an opportunity in the collectables market. please feel free to go to black leehalloffame 2020.com. i thought of those who have been my closest colleagues and my team of mvps over the years, jay carlson, jay rawls, kevin letity and marty moore. i couldn't be more grateful or more 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. the network didn't break a sweat as everyone jumped on zoom and webex. with 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 is the family. if something isn't working right, they definitely provide immediate feedback. it's impossible to express the love and gratitude i have for my wife kathy, my son tim and daughter rachel.
they are my rock. 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. i'd like to add to that now. that you can never have too much love or be too grateful to those who have made every aspect of your life happy, enjoyable and successful. in my hierarchy of needs has grown as well. while i still enjoy pizza with sausage, i'm occasionally washing it down with a glass of open pus 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. ♪ ♪ >> 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 has an epic story, an american success story. done in black is available to everyone. a woman who started in broadcasting, really grew up in it, then became a radio talk show host and literally brought the station she hosted and went through the rough and tumble entrepreneur challenges as a
single black woman. at one point she and her son stayed in the studio living, but never giving up. she fought and made that radio station become the voice of black washington, d.c., and that station grew into radio one all over this country and she became the creator of the largest black radio trade in the world. not an african nation has more radio stations than radio one. she didn't rest there. she went from there into cable tv, tv one where she refused to capitalize and commercialize in black life as a negative, but told our story as aspirational and inspirational as we are and were.
tv one developed and went on. she has become the model, the template of being successful without being a sellout, albeit visionary, but also knowing how to protect the bottom line, on being one that is committed to their purpose but does not compromise, appealing to her audience. if there's anyone they made the hall of fame for, it is for cathy shus. she stands out by herself. some blacks went into media, to get into cable, to go mainstream. cathy hughes made mainstream go black. >> hi, i'm cathy hughes. 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. i would 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 hunter's perspective. so we had to create a space for black stories to be hold in ways that best represented who we are as a people. however, our mission demanded
continued growth and expansion. we sparked a journey that held us to diversify into the cable television industry. without diluting our message. 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 can push the boundaries, shatter the ceilings and remove the margins to find their place in rooms that were not designed for us in mind. now, 40 years later, i am immensely proud that urban one is one of the very few minority owned businesses in the cable business. that accomplishment demonstrates how far we've come while underscoring the distance that we still have to go. it is a necessary today, as it has been ever since we've been
in business. we are unapologetically in the black people business, serving our community's needs. i'm 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 is the year that we launched tv one. >> 20 years ago alfred looked at the cable industry and 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 about strategy, how to grow this brand, how to grow the network and what type of content we should have on the network. >> he gave us choice with a glass perspective. he covered live the funerals of michael jackson and coretta scott king. he covered live the election of barack obama as the president of the united states. he gave millions of americans the chance to relive 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 work for him, particularly his confidants or direct reports are people that give him comfort, and there's comfort in knowing that they've got it covered. 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, everyone saying we should go after it. he will go after it, but he's going to go after it very methodically. i think 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, d.c. >> 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 is 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 we've been doing since day one. >> he's 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 a part of it.
>> great tinges. 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 hon nor's whose body of work is indicative of the kind of leadership and innovations the cable center seeks to herald. thank you for this notable distinction. as i consider the journey of our company and 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 advocaing 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 an influencers who look like us to enter unfettered 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 strat jums that were never designed with us in mind. burr ban 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 work to level the playing field ensuring that diversity, ek tick and inclusion are more than just popular buzzwords, wu informed practices. i'm also grateful that our legacy and story will now live on as part of this great organization. 000 and god bless. >> congratulations, alfred. what a fantastic group of hon nor's. this virtual format gives me an opportunity to remind everyone that the cable hall of fame is not just an annual celebration. here is the permanent exhibit of the cable center documenting the early days.
i love that we house an 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 families. it's really special to hear the stories that are shared and see the reactions from the kids and grandkids. the cable 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 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, great personality and could get the door open. i remember a trip to a company called acton cable 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 with have a good deal of humor around these efforts to solve a problem for somebody feeding their chickens. at some point we did a number of those kind of meetings together, even flying to honolulu together in an effort 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 deals that made economic sense could be done, a 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 merged his cable company in paul allen's charter in which liberty is a substantial investor. to a very large degree, cable was 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 skabl 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, and he would make twice what i would make and he worked 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. over the next several years, i had a marketing and installation company. i worked in sales and marketing for two big msos. and then in 1975 i joined michaels in a company called communications equity associates, a cable tv brokerage company. i learned the art of the deal, how to sell cable systems. in 1975 i bought the first cable system i was to own.
i got hooked. i loved to run cable companies. i left in 1982. with two small children i became an entrepreneur. it was kind of a scary time. but i had a great partner, john malone at tci, today we built -- after that i had another great partner in goldman sachs in forming marcus cable and through that served a 1,250,000 subscribers that we sold to allen. it was a bittersweet day for me. i loved that company and loved being an operator. i was gone, the company was gone. but i joined the private equity company and a few years later as the partner in charge of media, and we made cable investments, and so i was back in the industry, this time as a cable
investor. and although i retired from that company at the end of 2018, i continued to be chairman of the board of wide open west. i remained in the cable business and it's been an incredible ride. what an honor to be a part of this 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, and it's such an honor to be a part of this organization, to be among the many men and women who are 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 single most unique trait, 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 successful. >> he has this unique ability to strip away all the distractions, and you can really see it in the results. you don't get years of double-digit growth without focus and great judgment. >> dave is one of the best marketing people i've ever met. that's where he got started was at comcast cellular. 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. what he means is this is an opportunity that you must not let go and you cannot waste. we had that discussion with our flexor vis.
dave saw the market opportunity and he wanted to go like crazy. >> i think the hallmark of dave's leadership style, he's all about teamwork. he's worked so many part of the business over the 30 years he's been in the industry, that he understands how all the parts of the business should work together. he collaborates well with everyone and makes great things happen by getting the team to work together. >> dave is the leader who reaches out and connects with all levels of the organization. he makes a point to travel all around the country to spend time with the regional leaders and their teams, to remain in touch with the beating hearts of the companies. i think he learned it from watching ralph and his connection and memory awful ralph is the guiding hand. >> i care deeply about my family. he feels the same way about his family. the ups and downs, the fun and joy and the 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. i attribute a lot of that to dave and the way he works and he treats everyone like family. >> we have a great roadmap for the future. dave has got a a combination of customers wanting to do business with us. employees wanting to spend their careers with the company, and a future that looks really bright. i think he is the hart and soul of the company. >> dave, a huge congratulation. we're all so happy to see you inducted into the cable all of fame. >> congratulations on being inducted into the cable center hall of fame. well done and well deserved. >> welcome to the hall of fame, dave. long overdue, you're a star. i'm very appreciative of this moment. i would have been fine with a simple node of acknowledgment, but i'm grateful for the pursuit
to recognize this group of inductees and i'm honored to be part of the group. and in this moment, i have never been nor 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 families that have always been important, it is an honor to be part of it. we're 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, my wife ellen is incredible. everyone that meets her has a common reaction, how did you pull that off? they literally say that right in
front of me, mora and dan, mora's husband are extraordinary young adults. starting with one of the best mentors in ralph roberts. i was fortunate that he shows an interest in me early on and i still remember his add sies to this day. bryan and his team from v built an an maizing company. they lead with vision and decency. i would also like to thank neil smith. he is a mentor and a terrific boss and leader. teamwork was not just a catch phrase, but it meant everything to him and to discuss. i continue to have the honor of working with. you don't stick around as long as i have without nose relationships being central to everything that we do.
it is the people that really matter. the last thing, my dad often spoke about the late, grate ucla basketball coach. in an interview late in his life and he quoted a poem by a school teacher, and he resited the whole poem. one of the students asked her why she became a teacher. she thought about it, and wrote that night her won and only poem. it ends with "they ask me why i teach, and i respond where else could i find such sprended company. for me that has been comcast.
where could i find such splendid company. >> congratulations, gave. that brings us to jeff who has been studying the world since college. he continues to do that at warner media and cnn. here is the scoop on jack. >> what is it reich to work for jack? jack pushes us to all be belter. he is the hardest working person at cnn. someone that lives and breathes news. before i started at cnn, i have been in tv journalism for a long time and heard the legend of jeff zucker. his rise from "the today show" to nbc news, to on and on and on. it was rather daunting to meet
with him. i pictured something out of a movie. what i got was a great bond. i ran into andrea mitchell at a party. andrea said point-blank, the best boss i have ever had. my experience has been the exact same as andrea mitchell. >> jeff has this tremendous amount of empathy and humanity. seeing how jeff deals with correspondents, how he deals with the company during a deadly pandemic. there is no boss who is in your corner more than jeff zuzucker, how loyal he is to us and to the news. if he was running cnn, what would be the job for him? i don't know if i'm supposed to
talk about it, but i think he would love to manage the miami dolphins. and to be honest, they could not do any worse. just so there is no misunderstanding. i'm saying that the dolphins suck. something else i know about jeff that others might 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 source interfered with family, it's not a question, jeff says go be with your family. every single time. i love him. he cares about not just gender diversity, racial diversity, but ideological diversity.
not everybody believes in the mission of what we do. he is constantly thinking about people and he is there in there in our corner. while we cannot celebrate in person, it does not take away from the excitement of being honored with this group of honorees. looking through the names of the previous 140 recipients served as a reminder to me of how lucky i have been in my own career. i had the opportunity to work with some of the true greats in the cable business and been lucky enough to call many of them my friends. amanpour, wright, and of course ted turner.
who, while i did not have the chance to work with him directly, has mad an indelible impression on my career. he is a pioneer who forever changed the world that we all work and live in. i would be remiss if i did not mention my friend and former colleague bridget baker. bridget kept me connected to the cable center since she recruited me to the board many years ago. she is tireless, inspiinspiring one of the best advocates that the 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 incumbent on all of us to keep it vital and vibrant.
i know that each of you that joins us tonight know that's and is committed to the great work that you do. i pledge to do the same. i thank everyone who had a hand in making this award possible. graduations to my fellow honor honorees and here is to hoping that we will be able to celebrate next year in person. you may be wondering about the class of 2021. i can say with a great deal of certainty neither did our 2021 inductees. it is a really big group. thousands of cable people that have been really, really busy in
the pandemic. as the world fell into a new reality last year everyone feared that our lives, our livelihoods, and our relationships would be altered. people rushed to connect in any ways and the explosive growth of online communication filled the gap. i worried that we would not be able to keep up with the surge in demand on our networks, but we did and boy did we ever. despite how well it went, the world will never know that it was no easy task. it took commitment, determination, and creativity. not to mention faking a great deal of personal risk for being out and about in a viral pandemic. i'm so proud to announce that our 2021 honor degrees are thousands and thousands of men and women that 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 behalf of the industry's truest heros. >> we awe know it, and we can make the claim and we have the evidence and the chops to prove it. on the business side we touch many sectors. tech, finance, hospitality, education, medicine. but our mission is more personal. connect people with their work, with their schools, and with
their personal entertainment. >> we have been doing it for years. creating the network, the technology, and the content that 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, but covid made all of this more isolating, more challenging, and more scary. >> it made the connections that bro vied all the more critical. and so we got to work. >> we got to work. >> we got to work. we moved beyond our mandate to cover the federal government and key briefings by governors across the state. we answered questionsing
directly from the public. we got to work. on the network, and we started to see challenges like we have never seen before. and i knew that cable would enable us to share solutions. >> we got to work. when the pandemic hit, the food network had to get creative. we had to continue to create content so a lot of chefs like myself started creating shows at home. i think it helped a lot of people and 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 and we formed a critical partnership and we created a k-12 program. >> when they said mediacom would go to all of the homes to make
sure they have internet, i thought it would take months. i was surprised how fast they got everything passed out. >> 700 homes, with the schools partnership, and no kid should be left behind. >> we needed something to support school from home in alaska, so we developed a service that allows student to access school provided content through a secure app with no impact to the home's internet plans. technology partners, companies -- >> keeping americans connected and providing hundreds of millions of dollars in assets to remind america how to stay safe and healthy. >> they were able to let artists come to the networks of abc and
nbc and share the important messages. >> the team worked together in entirely new ways to make sure our public service was uninterrupted in the entire pandemic. >> we knew that it would be about unfortunate impact on the black community. we wanted to provide information, we wanted to connect and uplift. and we wanted to bring a little levity, but to also inform and engage and empower our audience. >> helping our community in all kinds of ways both big and small. >> i have a crew of almost 20 people, i think, the hottest day in july, and work in a parking lot to help direct traffic, unload food, tloed into the cars, and get people through this mobile food pantry. >> we found a theater program,
and this technology allowed kids to act in front of a camera and their acting gets converted into a character to recreate their project. >> we were faced with isolation and uncertainty, hallmark movies brought a sense of joy and connectivity. >> we wanted to subsidize our broadband and we brought a whole town worth of families, about 664 pounds for our employees to share. we put it in the deep freeze, and when that was done there would be more. >> it has been a tough couple years macks up, staying in, seeking safety. unable to touch or hug those we love. >> i'm sending you the message.
>> we're separate but together. >> missing the good hugs, i miss a good hug, too. >> it was a great opportunity for talent, it was also those stuck at home that really wanted to give back and we were able to create something that they could participate in. >> we're with you. >> everything that you didn't know that you would miss. >> we're here with you. >> we volunteered every day. and you had to make sure that you have at least one person connected to the outer world. and that is was great to adjust. >> we had to get really creative with the way that we did things. the tech, the video chats, that
allowed us to solve sole judge challenges in the home. >> you're going to call or text. >> people need to be connected. >> it has been an absolute lifeline. >> we started with an online shot but we wanted to bring the customer experience to erg that we did online. online would be a disaster. we would not have been able to keep the business going without super reliable broadband. >> it did make me feel very good to see that my job is the reason why that someone was able to attend school from home. the reason that someone was able
to work from home. >> we emerge strong and hopeful to see how diligence, cooperation, and flexibility served us well to serve ores during and unprecedented time. we're all connected. >> we're all connected. >> we're all connected. >> we're 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 frontline
associates. it will be placed here this year we lost a dear friend. he recently signed on to a new three-year term on our board. i worked with him at a&e and i saw firsthand what a kind person he was and what a wonderful culture he created. in an o beneficiary ware, abby raven said he created and nurtured a culture of creativity and innovation. she was so right about that and it was a real family atmosphere. he always had a slide listing all of the babies born to employees that year. he would read them and congratulate the parents. i don't know of my ceo that do that kind of thing.
it was well known that he had an opinion about erg. i called him something that i think he really liked. i mentioned that he was a great supporter, but we had to eastern his respect. we remember him as a great friend and a wonderful human being. >> he is one of the founders of the networks and he was ceo from 1983 to 2005. his passion, his drive, his lo of the company, our industry, and the important role that media plays in all of our lives never waned. he worked with us, gave us giant, gave us support and insight until the day he passed.
his rich legacy includes the launch of the discovery channel, he was always krasht with his time. he was a visionary and a giant, but also an extraordinary leader, colleague, mentor, and friend. he was a tremendous advocate for education and a great supporter of the cable center. he set the standard for integrity in media and gave back to the communities we served. one of his accolades is when he was inducted into the class of 2005. 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.
he was a great example that you can succeed in life by doing the right thing all of the time. >> one of the best things about the cable center is honoring leaders and innovators, and sometimes i get to shine a light on people that may not be household names. this year i'm presenting a special shining star award. keely is the director of employer experience. she has more energy than any six mere mortals, so she is also an all tra volunteer for the cable center and she has been a cable center partner and unofficial advisor for years. advocating for younger employees and the next generation of leaders. she had a huge impact on our
interpret entrepreneurship. >> i have loved working with the cable and ter and you i really learned a lot from you including what to wear today. >> you really taught me a lot, too. everybody thinks the world of you and we're so grateful for all you have done for this organization. >> thank you again. >> looking good on zoom, but i miss your casual red t-shirt look. we would much rather be together in real life. >> for sure, together with all of our friends. now it is time to toast the cable hall of fame classes of
2020 and 2021. is all of the champagne ready? we have no flutes here so we're using wine classes. thank you for your leadership and your example. >> we're going to miss you jana, i love doing these with you, we had such a great time over the years. before we close i need another super thanks to c-span for delivering this event to everyone at home. and thank you to everyone for tuning into our celebration. we're so looking forward to being back together in new york next year. we'll see you there. good night!
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involvements from 1790 up to con term rare times. he has been a speech writer for george herbert walker bush and a writer for "the tonight show" with jay leno. >> republican senators rob portman and rick scott speak about border security with two sheriffs from texas and massachusetts. they also heard from a mother that lost her dur a fentanyl overdose. from capitol hill, this is three hours.