Cable Show 2009: Cable Positive's Next CEO Sean Strub


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Sean Strub, the successor to Steve Villano as president and CEO of Cable Positive, said he wants to build on the organization's successes and raise its profile outside of cable.
"I think it maybe hasn't gotten maybe the credit it deserves for the work that it has done, outside of the cable industry," Strub said. "Coming from the AIDS world, really understanding the impact [Cable Positive] has had, I will not be shy about letting the broader community know about it."

Strub, 50, has been an activist in the field of corporate responsibility; a writer, and an entrepreneur, including historic preservation efforts such as restoring a hotel in Milford, Pa., near the Delaware River. He founded POZ magazine in 1994, and in 1992 produced The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, the David Drake-starring Off Broadway play that won an Obie Award.

In 1990, he ran as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress from New York's 22nd district, running as an openly (but incidentally) gay, HIV-positive man. He was defeated by a former member of Congress by fewer than 600 votes, according to a biography.
He said he's spent the past few years doing his preservation work in Pennsylvania and some other projects, after being ill with the disease in the mid-1990s, "and for a while I'd been thinking of getting re-engaged in the work of the epidemic."
"I'm really excited" at Cable Positive's prospects, he said.
"I don't have a background in cable, but I think I'm learning fast and I've already found it a very friendly industry," Strub, who's attending the Cable Show '09 convention here, said Wednesday, the day before Villano (who plans to be with the organization until the end of June) plan to introduce him on the show floor.
"It's really nice to start something new where people are so welcoming," Strub said.

Cable Positive will honor Rainbow Media Holdings CEO Josh Sapan with the Joel A. Berger Memorial World for his outstanding work in the fight against HIV/AIDS and Charter Communications CEO Neil Smit with its Corporate Leadership Award at the group's booth (2903). The Power Awards are scheduled to be bestowed Thursday April 2 at 2 p.m.

Strub, the co-author of 1995's Cracking The Closet (Harper Business) said he was impressed by the "extraordinary" multi-platform HIV/AIDS education campaign produced by 17 young people in the Motorola-funded Youth AIDS Media Institute University. They generated video public service announcements, a Web site (, a texting campaign and a print campaign, all in one week.

(Paul Orefice, managing partner at the watsons, a Manhattan based creative agency, said of the YAMIU-produced campaign: "The enthusiasm and raw creative talent we saw in these young people was amazing. It's mind blowing to think that we have just accomplished what normally takes six weeks, in six days.")
"Cable Positive is so brilliant at that sort of thing," Strub said, adding that's an initiative he'd like to see expanded.
"I got HIV as a teenager," Strub added, and back then (in the late 1970s) it wasn't possible to use communication tools such as the YAMIU participants had in order to get and share information.
The cable industry, he said, is "quite advanced in its understanding and conception of and expression of socially responsible initiatives, as an industry." Cable Positive is certainly an example of that responsibility, he said.