Cable’s Spring Fling

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Unlike the hordes of college students jetting to playgrounds like Cancun, Miami or Las Vegas, the cable industry this week is descending upon New York for its own Spring Break, to tackle and celebrate issues of workforce diversity.

The action-packed week kicks off Monday with the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Cable’s first annual creative summit, with star-studded panels that will tackle the challenges of multicultural marketing.

On Tuesday, Women in Cable & Telecommunications grabs the spotlight with its annual WICT Forum, a four-day affair including a Wednesday mentoring lunch chaired by Oxygen chairman and CEO Geraldine Layborne and a panel of high-powered female speakers, moderated by Carlsen Resources Inc. founder and CEO Ann Carlsen.

But that’s not all. Sandwiched between various WICT events on Tuesday and Friday are the Horowitz Associates Inc. State of Cable and Broadband session; our own Multichannel News “Wonder Women,” lunch, held in conjunction with the New York chapter of WICT, and, of course, Cable Positive’s annual fundraising dinner on Tuesday night.

For those new to the industry, Cable Positive is a nonprofit organization supported by the cable industry to fight AIDS in the workplace and to raise awareness of the No. 1 killer in America on TV sets across the U.S.

This year, Cable Positive honors former Lifetime Television president Carole Black, who is fresh back from Italy for a little time out for good behavior (as she would say). We hear that Black came back a little more fluent in Italian, learning how to translate one of her favorite expressions — “Oh, my baby Jesus” — into that language. You can’t make this stuff up, and I am not.

But I digress. Cable Positive is the cornerstone of a week of meetings which, over the years, were cobbled together because everyone would be in town. And that is a wonderful thing, given the untimely demise of the Western Show, another event which brought the entire industry together.

This year Cable Positive will honor the 10th anniversary of the death of my former colleague, Multichannel News publisher Joel Berger, whose life was cut short by AIDS.

I think he would like this year’s program. The gorgeous Vivica A. Fox, who stars in the Lifetime series Missing will host. Sardonic comic Lewis Black of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart will also perform.

And this year, I have been asked to make a special request of those attending the Cable Positive dinner. Is it really too much to ask to keep respectfully quiet when the organization’s president, Steve Villano, takes a measly 10 minutes to report and update about the strides that Cable Positive has made?

In years past, and let’s not let this happen again, people would not keep quiet during those remarks, which is plain rude. Don’t you want to hear how your donations are being used?

So for 10 minutes, let’s not act like a bunch of party animals on Spring Break, and remember where we are and why we’re there.

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