Cable Positive Dinner Sets Record

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Cable executives packed the Marriott Marquis in New York for the annual Cable Positive Fund-Raising Dinner, raising a record $1.5 million for HIV/AIDS awareness and committing to expand the industry’s efforts.

Cable Positive president Steve Villano said it was the eight consecutive year that the event broke the $1 million mark, and it has raised $15 million in the past decade.

“The simple truth is that to make ourselves better, we must act as a family would,” he added, encouraging the industry to continue to boost efforts to spread the word on AIDS awareness

“AIDS knows no borders, and neither should our work,” he said later.

When Cox Communications Inc. president Patrick Esser took the stage, he drew applause as he said Cox would commit $1 million in public-service announcements to support Cable Positive.

Esser challenged the audience to, “Match, double, heck -- quadruple our commitment.”

“OK Pat, we’ll match it,” Fox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra told Esser as he introduced former Cox chief Jim Robbins, who was honored with the “Joel A. Berger Memorial Award.” “We’ll negotiate it, get our attorneys working on it,” he added.

Robbins praised Cox employees during a brief speech, singling out former director of media relations Bobby Amirshahi (now at MTV Networks), who pitched the idea of opening up the successful Atlanta chapter of Cable Positive.

Robbins’ speech was preceded by comic video showing what Robbins would do with his time in retirement. Reminiscent of a video President Clinton shot for the White House Correspondents dinner in 2000, it featured a grouchy Robbins changing light bulbs at Cox, using a leaf blower and talking about “having a couple of bullets” at lunch.

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