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Six Leaders in a Class of Their Own

5/21/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

The 2012 class of The Cable Hall of Fame includes cable’s leading
executive recruiter; a programming backer who was formerly an industry-shaping operator
executive; an iconic talk show host; the CEO of a groundbreaking cable network;
one of the industry’s most philanthropic figures and the vice chairman of one of Canada’s
biggest media empires.

The new honorees are: Ann Carlsen, founder and CEO, Carlsen Resources, Inc.; Leo
Hindery, Jr., managing partner, InterMedia Partners; Larry King, former host of Larry
King Live
and former host of the Larry King Specials, CNN; Debra L. Lee, chairman
and CEO, BET Networks; H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, president and CEO, The Lenfest Group;
and Phil Lind, vice chairman, Rogers Communications.

The honorees were chosen based on their outstanding achievements and contributions
to the cable industry. The 2012 Cable Hall of Fame selection committee was
chaired by Abbe Raven, president and CEO of A&E Networks, and a 2010 Cable Hall
of Fame Inductee. Since 1998, 90 men and women have been inducted into the Cable
Hall of Fame.

“It is a true honor to welcome these six individuals into the Cable Hall of Fame,” Raven
said. “This year’s class is an incredibly diverse group of leaders who have helped
shape this innovative industry.” Added The Cable Center CEO Larry Satkowiak: “Congratulations
to the Cable Hall of Fame Class of 2012. It is a privilege to recognize these
six individuals who have been such an important part of the cable industry’s legacy.
We look forward to honoring them at the 2012 Cable Hall of Fame Celebration.”

The 15th annual Cable Hall of Fame Celebration will be held on Monday, May 21, at
the Boston Marriott Copley Place in Boston. BBC World News anchor Katty Kay will
be the event’s emcee.

In addition, Alan Gerry will be presented with the 2012 Bresnan Ethics in Business
Award, honoring the late William J. Bresnan, founder and chairman of Bresnan Communications
and long-time chairman of the board of The Cable Center. Gerry, chairman
and CEO of Granite Associates L.P., and chairman of the Gerry Foundation, is a pioneering
entrepreneur in the industry. He was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2000.


Biographical information reprinted from The Cable Center’s Cable Hall of Fame
Celebration program. Copy credit: Erica Stull, Stull WordWorks

ANN RALLIS CARLSEN

FOUNDER & CEO, CARLSEN RESOURCES

For Ann Carlsen, getting a foot in the door
of the cable industry was, literally, a matter
of getting her foot in the door: Her first job
out of college, in 1980, was in door-to-door
sales for United Cable. “I wanted to get into
the cable industry in the worst way,” she
recalled. “It turned out to be an incredible
learning experience on so many levels.” Moving
on to TVC magazine, then the leading
cable-industry trade publication, she built
relationships with the top industry players as
she advanced.

An opportunity with executive recruiter Winston
Management Group introduced Carlsen
to the profession that made best use of her
natural matchmaking instincts. “I was always
connecting people for fun — always telling
people, ‘You should talk to so-and-so.’ ” Married
to a military flight instructor, which meant frequent relocation, Carlsen
was also drawn to the flexibility of the executive-search business. Several
months after the couple’s first baby arrived, the young entrepreneur and a
partner started FutureSense, which later became Carlsen Resources. Since
then, Carlsen has helped shape cable’s leadership ranks, placing more than
2,000 executives in senior positions across the industry.

Carlsen became a tireless champion of diversity when she computerized
her business and saw the full, lopsided picture of compensation and executive
demographics for women and people of color. “When you analyzed the
data, you could see where things stood — the disparity needed to be brought
into the light,” she said. In response, she proposed a mentorship program to
the board of National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, then
set it up and ran it. “The leaders of our industry wanted to be part of the solution,
so things started to change,” she recalled.

Carlsen tackled compensation and workplace inequities head on as president
of Women in Cable Telecommunications, and as a very active NAMIC
board member.

Carlsen has always been drawn to cable people. “I loved the entrepreneurial
spirit, the collegiality — people with passion and energy working together
to build something incredible from nothing.” Today, she said, “the business
might be more mature, but the entrepreneurial spirit lives on … I’ve been
blessed to work in an exciting industry where I can help companies succeed
and help great people find their calling.”

LEO HINDERY JR.

MANAGING PARTNER,
INTERMEDIA PARTNERS

In early 1997, when Leo Hindery joined Tele-
Communications Inc. as president and CEO,
the nation’s largest cable operator was in
trouble: the stock price was sinking and the
debt was rated junk, customers were disgruntled
and regulators were fuming.

Hindery
turned the ship around, re-engaging with
industry and community organizations, consolidating
regional field operations, boosting
employee morale, and quadrupling the company’s
market value within two years.
Hindery believed in TCI’s community-based
employees from the outset. “It wasn’t the
people at TCI who weren’t doing well, it was
how they were being managed. … These
people were very anxious to be respected in
their community,” he said. “When you live in one of these towns and the cable
operator is reviled, that’s you.”

Hindery gave all employees a stake in the company, making everyone
— directly or indirectly — a shareholder. The most satisfying part of the experience,
he said, was that “everyone could now say they were part of the
turnaround, and everyone benefited from it.” In 1999, TCI merged into AT&T.
Hindery was briefly president and CEO of AT&T Broadband and then left to join
Internet-services company GlobalCenter and later the New York Yankees’ YES
Network as its founding chairman and CEO.

Hindery joined the industry in 1985 as chief financial officer and chief operating
officer of Chronicle Publishing, owner of an assortment of media properties
including the San Francisco Chronicle, television stations and several
cable operations in northern California. Convinced that there was opportunity
in the cable industry, Hindery built up Chronicle’s cable holdings. In 1988,
encouraged by mentor Bill Daniels, Hindery started his own company, Inter-
Media Partners. He appreciated the cable operator’s unique position: “Cable
touches everybody in the community,” he said. “You’re the most instant touch
in America, other than the food industry.”

In 2005, Hindery reconstituted InterMedia Partners. He sees the media
industry “headed towards an ever more responsive relationship with the consumer
… confronting, however, very unsettled economics.” His advice to the
next generation of cable executives: “Keep in the back of your mind that there
are things you won’t do just because you can, or because it’s profitable. … Try
to remember that being in this industry is a privilege.”

LARRY KING

FORMER HOST, CNN’S LARRY KING LIVE

Born in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was cool,
Larry King started his media career behind
a broom at a Florida radio station. Told that
Florida was the land of opportunity for inexperienced
broadcasters, King found work as
a janitor at Miami’s WAHR. He was asked to
fill in on-air in 1957 when an announcer quit,
quickly earned a regular morning shift plus
two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast,
and changed his last name from Zeiger to
King — at $55 a week, he was on his way.
By 1960, he was a household name in South
Florida radio.

He took the overnight Larry King Show national
in 1978 on the Mutual Radio Network.
The first nationwide call-in show featured
guest interviews and listener call-in, and —
eventually reached 500 affiliate stations. In
1985, King’s success caught the attention
of Ted Turner, who wanted to expand programming
at the four-year-old CNN. He put
Larry King Live on the network as the first
live, international call-in TV program. King’s
distinctive approach featured interviews with
a wide assortment of guests, from athletes
and actors to writers, politicians, and foreign
dignitaries. The host’s unique, everyman ininterviewing
style put subjects at ease, often
resulting in more honest answers than
they might give in a less congenial format.

Notable among the many milestones
on Larry King Live were billionaire Ross
Perot’s 1992 announcement of his candidacy
for president, Vice President Al
Gore’s appearance with Perot in 1993 to
debate the North American Free Trade
Agreement, and a 1995 discussion of
the Middle East peace process with PLO
chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of
Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin.

After 25 years, King announced in
2010 that he would step down from
Larry King Live. The farewell show the
following December was a star-studded
celebration, featuring salutes from two
presidents and a parade of news anchors
and entertainers.

Over the course of his 50-year broadcasting
career, King has conducted
nearly 50,000 interviews, and he’s not
done. He recently announced that he’ll
return to the interviewer’s chair as host
of a new talk show on Ora.tv, a free
online news and entertainment network
slated to launch later in 2012.

DEBRA L. LEE

CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BET NETWORKS

Putting a personal stamp on an established
business isn’t easy, especially when
the business is a well-known, groundbreaking
TV network. When Debra Lee
stepped into the top spot at BET in 2005
after preparing to succeed founder Robert
Johnson, the spotlight shining on her was
bright. She had been chief operating officer for 10 years, and then president and
CEO for six months as Johnson made his
transition. Still, Lee said: “I had to step up
to the plate. Women tend to be consensus
builders — that works, but we have to step
up and say, ‘This is my vision. This is what
we’re going to do.’”

Lee considers the reshaping of BET to
be the greatest challenge of her career.
Her new direction and emphasis on original
programming have reinvigorated the BET
brand and connected the network more
strongly to the African-American community
it serves. Lee is respected for her vision of
BET as more than entertainment: “It’s nice
to get accolades from the audience and
critics who see the change,” she said.

The media world wasn’t in Lee’s sights
at the start of her career. After completing a bachelor’s degree in political science
with an emphasis in Asian politics at
Brown University, she earned a law
degree from Harvard and — simultaneously
— a master’s in public policy
from the John F. Kennedy School of
Government. “I was planning to go into
government as assistant secretary of
something,” she said. “I wanted to go
to the SEC.” President Reagan’s freeze
on government jobs put that plan on
hold, and Lee joined Steptoe and Johnson
as an attorney. BET came calling in
1986, and Lee joined the network as
corporate counsel, rising to president
and chief operating offi cer 10 years
later.

Lee values the cable industry’s
programming diversity and leadership
opportunities. “This is still a relatively
young industry, and you see more
women becoming leaders,” she said.
Today, while leading BET, Lee puts her
early public-policy interest to work on
the President’s Management Advisory
Board and as a member emeritus of
the Federal Communications Advisory
Committee on Diversity for Communications
in the Digital Age.

H.F. (GERRY) LENFEST

PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE LENFEST GROUP

The lessons Gerry Lenfest learned at the
helm of a U.S. Navy destroyer escort served
him well in his long media career. “When I
took over the escort, it was the worst ship
in the squadron,” he said. “Two years later it
was the best. The crew felt that the ship belonged
to them. If you can motivate people
who work with you in a common goal, and
make them feel part of a team, you can accomplish
a lot.”

With a law degree from Columbia and
seven years as an attorney under his belt,
Lenfest joined Walter Annenberg’s Triangle
Publications as associate counsel in 1965.
Five years later, he was put in charge of
the company’s communications division,
comprising Seventeen magazine and several
cable-TV systems. “I felt cable had some potential,”
he said. “I always wanted to run my
own business, so when Walter Annenberg
decided to sell, I asked if I could buy a cable
system. He laughed and said, ‘Of course
you can, but you don’t have any money.’ ”
Lenfest found investors and in 1974 purchased
a 7,600-subscriber operation in the
Philadelphia area — the start of Lenfest
Communications. He remembers the time fondly: “I came in at the right time.
People were entrepreneurs; they
weren’t all marching to the same
drummer.”

By 2000, Lenfest Communications
was one of the top 12 MSOs
with 1.3 million subscribers. Selling
the company to Comcast allowed
Lenfest to embark on his new career
as a philanthropist, supporting
education and the arts. Lenfest
sits on multiple nonprofit boards
and is chairman of the Philadelphia
Museum of Art, the James Madison
Council of the Library of Congress,
Curtis Institute of Music and the
American Revolution Center. His
many awards for philanthropy include
the Governor of Pennsylvania’s
Patron of the Year Award, the Philadelphia
Award, the Pennsylvania Society’s
Gold Medal for Distinguished
Achievement and recognition from
France as Officer of the National
Order of the Legion of Honor. “I
don’t think it’s important to die with
a lot of wealth,” he said. “Give your
wealth away during your lifetime to
do the most good you can.”

PHIL LIND

VICE CHAIRMAN, ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS


Phil Lind is vice chairman of a North American
communications and media empire: Rogers Communications,
Canada’s largest provider of wireless
network services and one of that country’s
top cable and broadband providers. In addition,
Rogers owns TV stations, radio stations, magazines
and sports teams, including Major League
Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays, among its many
ventures. But when Lind joined Rogers as programming
chief in 1969, its holdings comprised
two radio stations and 15,000 cable customers.
At that time, challenged in Toronto with low penetration
from their new-build system, Lind built
penetration among the city’s large non-Englishspeaking
immigrant population by importing
programming directly from foreign countries — a
concept in the ’70s that was unique to Rogers.

Through explosive internal growth and hardfought
acquisitions, the company grew to serve
more than 2 million Canadian customers by
1980. That’s when the Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission put the
brakes on Rogers’ further expansion. Stymied
at home, founder Ted Rogers looked south to
new opportunities, putting Lind in charge of getting
into the U.S. market. “Ted was relentlessly
expansionary,” Lind said. “Our biggest problem was fi nding the money to do everything we
wanted to do. We had 1,000 ideas and
1,000 ways to spend money.”

Lind’s interest in politics served him well
in the U.S. franchise wars of the ’80s. Working
half the time in Canada and half in the
U.S., Lind gained a roster of cable properties
and franchises in Minnesota, Oregon,
California, Texas and elsewhere. Within a
few years, Rogers was one of the largest
cable operators in the U.S.

The company’s reception among U.S.
MSOs was chilly at first, especially since Canadian
regulatory authorities had prevented
some of them from expanding into Canada.
“But in spite of that, when the franchising
battles were over, we became fast friends,”
Lind said.] During the 1980s, Lind served
on the National Cable Television Association
board before Rogers sold its U.S. properties
in 1989.

“Culturally, cable guys have always been
underdogs,” Lind said. “We’ve fought phone
companies, broadcasters, legislators …
we’ve always had to fight. We’re a band of
brothers … Once you’re a cable guy, you’re
a cable guy. Our company’s revenues are
now over 60% from wireless, but I’m a cable
guy and always will be.”

October