Cable Execs: Diversity Is Good Business


As the country becomes more ethnically mixed, the business case for diversifying cable's employment ranks and programming was made clear at various Diversity Week conferences and dinners.

Most executives believe the industry has made progress in its endeavors to place minorities in upper management positions. But nearly all who spoke at such events as the annual NAMIC (re-named National Association Of Multi-Ethnicity In Communications last week) Conference or the Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner said that much more work needs to be done if cable is to prosper in an increasingly multicultural environment.

"Everybody is making progress [but] it's all about the rate that progress is being made," said AOL Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons. "It requires determination at the top of these entities to ensure that we're going to have a diverse workforce that's reflective of our community."

Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell, who spoke at last Wednesday's Kaitz fundraising dinner, urged the industry to stay committed to the issue of diversity, adding the communication revolution represents the first real opportunity for people of color to achieve true economic prosperity.

But clearly such efforts won't happen overnight. In fact, MTV Networks chairman and CEO Tom Freston estimated that it typically takes seven years to fully implement a diverse culture within a company.