Cable Center's 'Class' Act

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The Cable Hall of Fame ceremony in May will feature a tribute to Bill Bresnan, the almost legendary cable operator who died in November at age 75. (”A modest man with a heart of gold,” Alan Gerry’s description, was one of the many fond remembrances of Bresnan at his memorial in December.) The Cable Center SVP of marketing and development Diane Christman and PR maven Lela Cocoros were in New York this week, holding meetings at Bresnan headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., and in New York City to begin planning the tribute, which will include a scheduled 6-minute video.

“Bill was very beloved by the industryand he was one of our greatest champions at The Cable Center,” Christman said Thursday, the same day the 2010 class of the Cable Hall of Fame was announced. “We’re pleased to be able to have this tribute in his honor and just convey the sense of Bill that everybody knew.”

Planning for the event — on May 11 at the soon-to-open JW Marriott Hotel in the L.A. Live complex — has been compressed, by necessity. The Cable Center accepted the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s invitation to hold the event during Cable Connection: Spring series of meetings in Los Angeles. Instead of a 9-month planning cycle, for a fall event in Denver (where the Hall ceremony has been held the last several years), the Center had a 4-month planning cycle for an event in another city, in a hotel that hasn’t even opened yet.

“Really, we were just so tickled and so excited to be part of the spring NCTA week that we just said, ‘Hey, we can do this and we can make it work.’ It’s a great opportunity,” Christman said.

The nine-member committee, chaired by Cable Center chairman Michael Willner, the CEO of Insight Communications, picked a class with four men and two women.  They are: Yolanda Barco, Allen Ecker, Terence McGuirk, Marc Nathanson, Abbe Raven and JR Shaw. Barco, who died 2000, was a lawyer and then the general manager at her father’s Pennsylvania cable company, Meadville Master Antenna. She was influential in shaping national policy concerning cable TV, and, as Cocoros noted, was the first woman to serve as a director on the NCTA board. The class has a mix of programming, operations and technology executives.

As has been the case under Willner’s leadership, expect the Hall of Fame ceremony to move along smartly, even with extras such as the Bresnan tribute. “Quick, quick, quick,” Christman put it.

That’s when May will be here, too. Quickly.