Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Hall of Fame for Cable Positive Advocates

By Steve Villano

Cable Positive is in the house!” to paraphrase the Sportsmen Channel’s Mark Kang, the ever effusive and energetic supporter of the cable industry’s smart, service-oriented initiatives. And, Cable Positive was definitely “in the house” last week and this week—in Denver and New York—at two Hall of Fame celebrations, and a Denver Chapter “Broadway-style” benefit that raised tens of thousands of dollars for local community-based AIDS organizations throughout Colorado.

In 14 years of doing a cable industry musical satire entitled “Positively Cable,”—and raising over $1 million to fight AIDS—the industry’s Denver-based Cable Positive advocates deserve their own very special wing in the Cable Center’s Hall of Fame. Their work has defined both community-building and corporate team building, year after year.

But, that wasn’t the only place “Cable Positive was in the house.” At the Cable Center’s Hall of Fame celebration the following evening in downtown Denver’s new Convention Center, 5 of the 6 honorees had an involvement with Cable Positive. Insight’s Michael Willner, received Cable Positive’s Power Award for Corporate Leadership earlier this year. Scripps’ Susan Packard, served as a long-time member of Cable Positive’s Honorary Chairs, and was instrumental in establishing Scripps’ continual support of our fight against HIV/AIDS at both the local and national levels. George Bodenheimer’s teammates at ESPN, ABC/Disney have been among Cable Positive’s strongest advocates, airing our HIV/AIDS awareness PSAs during their valuable airtime. Bodenheimer’s colleague—Anne Sweeney—was honored by Cable Positive a decade ago, for her leadership in using the power of cable and television in fighting AIDS. Hearst’s Ray Joslin, guided his company’s early support of Cable Positive, and remains an organizational advocate. And Cable Labs’ Dick Green, and his colleague Chris Lammers, provided extensive pro-bono support to Cable Positive when we re-designed and re-launched our highly effective website at the beginning of this decade.

At the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC last night, Cable Positive’s place as an essential public affairs initiative of the industry was evident in every one of Cable’s honored leaders. Two of the honorees—Time Warner’s Glenn Britt and Showtime’s Matt Blank—had not only been awarded Cable Positive’s Joel A. Berger Corporate Leadership Award, but they’ve integrated working with Cable Positive and our programs at all levels of their companies, in communities across the country. One honoree—Rainbow Media’s Josh Sapan, Rainbow will be honored with a Cable Positive Power Award in 2009, at the National Show. And Fox News’ Roger Ailes—whose organization has been a generous supporter of Cable Positive initiatives over the past 5 years—was singled out for praise by Richard Gere, for providing almost half-a-million dollars in pro-bono satellite time in India, to air a public service spot on AIDS awareness, prepared by the Gere Foundation.

Leading the generous advocacy of B & C to donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to Cable Positive, were long-time Cable Positive supporter and Joel A. Berger Award recipient Bill McGorry, and Cable Positive’s Board of Directors Member, Larry Dunn. All of this on the day when the estate of Joel’s father, Moe—a gentle man, proud of his son’s activism within the cable industry in the fight against AIDS—continued Joel Berger’s legacy of advocacy, with a considerate contribution to the cause.

Yes, Cable Positive is in the house, it’s part of the fabric of the industry and its enlightened leadership, and it is one of the most powerful and effective public service gifts the cable industry has given to the public, and to its own employees.

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