Cable Operators

No Cheering Up This Sleepy Jean: Wire Bids Goodbye to Davy Jones

3/05/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

There was something a bit surreal about
the death (at age 66) of Davy Jones, co-star of the 1960s
TV series The Monkees, a show
whose episodes were picked up
by MTV long after their short run
on broadcast TV, exposing a cable
generation to the gentle antics
and pleasant music of the madefor-
TV faux-Beatles band.

That MTV had aired the show
was not the surreal part, as Jones’
bandmate Mike Nesmith was one
of the pioneers of MTV music videos,
and the show’s musical numbers
were themselves early TV
incarnations of the form, though
the Monkees borrowed heavily
from the theatrical treatment of
Beatles songs.

The surreal part came when
The Wire went to the Web —
where else? — to check out reports
that Jones had died.

Among the top sites that came
up on a Google search were several entries under “videos
for Davy Jones dies,” entries that suggested some
ghoulish enterprise had instantly
cropped up. Turned out they were
links to YouTube clips from Pirates of
the Caribbean: World’s End
in which,
well, Davy Jones dies. But of course
that Davy is the pirate character of
the same name, played by Bill Nighy.

It became even stranger when the
first obit that came up on our search
was from USA Today and informed
us that Jones had sung the lead on
“I’m a Believer” and “Last Train
to Clarksville” and that one of his
bandmates was “Peter Tosh.” Nope,
Tosh is the reggae singer. It was, of
course, Peter Tork. And Micky Dolenz,
not Jones, sang lead on those
songs, though Jones had the unforgettable
front on “Daydream Believer.”
(The Nation’s Newspaper fixed
the misfires after The Wire sent
along an alert.)

Insight Sale Wrap
Prompts Goodbye
From Willner

Time Warner Cable finally (after about six months) closed
its $3 billion buyout of Insight Communications and
more than 750,000 subscribers last week, absorbing
some 3,000 Insight workers and pushing the No. 2 U.S.
cable operator’s employee roll above 50,000.

Not making the transition are Insight’s top six employees:
executive vice presidents John Abbot, Hamid
Heidary
and Chris Slattery; president Dinni Jain; and
CEO Michael Willner. They officially left the Midwestcentric
cable company Feb. 29, longtime company
spokeswoman Sandy Colony told The Wire.

Time Warner Cable said it wouldn’t comment on how
many employees will be carried over, but Willner, in a
farewell post on his popular blog, Michael’s Insight,
said, “Most of the
friendly and capable
Insight employees
with whom customers
have interacted for
years will continue to
provide cable, Internet
and phone service on
behalf of Time Warner
Cable.”

“I will continue to be
involved in the cable/
broadband world,”
Willner, who has also
served as chairman of
the National Cable &
Telecommunications Association
and The Cable Center,
blogged. “I’m just not sure where or when. Meanwhile,
I will stop writing daily but may occasionally post
some thoughts or an update on my whereabouts right
here on this site, which will become my personal blog.”

Below the blog, one commenter lamented the loss of
NFL Network
with the Time Warner Cable takeover, but
others thanked Willner and Co. One customer thanked
Willner for the blog’s candor, including favorable comments
about Netflix and Roku that “might be heresy
among cable execs.”

The Wire — which used to publish directly across the
street from Insight’s headquarters on Seventh Avenue
in New York — adds best wishes for everyone at the
former MSO.

Who’s Maneesh Pangasa
And Why Is He Flooding
The SpectrumCo Docket?

Check out the Federal Communications Commission
docket in Verizon Communications’ proposed purchase
of cable spectrum, and the name Maneesh Pangasa is
all over the place, seemingly in every other filing, then
rows of them without letup.

In fact, 29 of the first 50 entries in the docket are various
offerings from Pangasa about why Verizon should
not be allowed to buy the cable spectrum.

Turns out Pangasa is something of a “serial filer” at
the commission. And his interests are as wide-ranging
as his filings are prolific.

A check of his name in the FCC’s electronic comment
filing system yielded 2,059 hits, including hundreds in
the past few days, and filings in the online political disclosure
docket; complaints about online piracy bills (not
an FCC issue, per se, but what the hey); and a bunch of
network-neutrality complaints against AT&T over recent
reports it is charging to exempt app developers from
data caps.

There were at least 17 versions of that last complaint
alone, all identical, plus dozens more in different form;
as well as countless other complaints and duplicates
dating back to May of last year.

The filings appear to cover the waterfront, from
Universal Service Fund reform to sports blackouts
to media concentration and network neutrality. He was
no fan of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal either.

In one filing he describes himself as “one who is
often on the losing side of FCC staff actions.”

Clearly not for lack of trying.

Investor Araskog Ups
Cablevision Holdings:
Call it ‘Dolan-sanity’

Now that New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin has cooled off
a bit (averaging just 14.7 points in the past three games),
Cablevision Systems CEO and Madison Square Garden
executive chairman James Dolan has another former
Harvard man in his court: 80-year-old Rand Araskog, a
Cablevision director since 2005.

On March 1, after a nearly 10% decline in Cablevision’s
stock price, Araskog bought 25,000 shares of
Cablevision stock for about $356,000. That upped his
total holdings to about 132,565 shares.

It is the first time in about three years that a Cablevision
insider has purchased shares, according to
Barron’s, and the buy was seen as a vote of confidence
in the company and in Dolan, who last week articulated
a plan to put the MSO back on its feet by spending
more on the business (and flattening cash-flow growth
this year).

PALIN STRIKES BACK

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s political action
committee, SarahPAC, released a
YouTube video last week attacking the HBO
Films drama Game Change as “fiction.” HBO
has defended the fi lm’s accuracy, based on
the book it’s derived from and later fact-checking
by the producers. The movie premieres
March 10; for a review, see Content.

November

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