Los Angeles -- As the Cable Hall of Fame inducted six honorees on Tuesday night, the event's organizers also paid tribute to the late Bill Bresnan, founder and CEO of Bresnan Communications.
The 2010 Hall of Fame Celebration, at the JW Marriott in the L.A. Live complex, feted six pioneers: Yolanda Barco, vice president and executive officer of Meadville Master Antenna (who died in 2000); Allen Ecker, former executive vice president of Scientific Atlanta; Terence McGuirk, CEO of the Atlanta Braves; Marc Nathanson, chairman of Mapleton Investments; A&E Television Networks CEO Abbe Raven; and J.R. Shaw, executive chairman of Canada's Shaw Communications.
In his opening remarks, Insight Communications CEO Michael Willner, chairman of the 2010 Hall of Fame selection committee, emotionally recalled Bresnan as a great friend, an industry leader and a businessman of impeccably high ethical standards -- as well as a guy who loved to tell jokes.
Comcast vice chairman Julian Brodsky took to the stage to announce a new industry award to commemorate Bresnan: the Bresnan Ethics in Business Award, which will be presented yearly by The Cable Center at each Cable Hall of Fame celebration beginning in 2011 "to the cable industry leader who exemplifies his high standards every day."
"Those of us who knew Bill knew two things - first, that he had an extraordinarily high level of integrity and second that he loved this industry and believed in its future," Brodsky said. "And he never failed to share his brand of Irish humor."
Bresnan -- who started in the cable industry in 1958, when he was 25 years old -- died in November 2009.
Nathanson, currently chairman of Mapleton Investments, related an anecdote about Bresnan from when they were both with TelePrompTer's cable television division in the 1970s.
Nathanson had just joined as vice president of marketing, and Bresnan wanted to make an unannounced visit to the system in Mount Vernon, N.Y. As the head of engineering was getting ready to take the two on a tour of the cable plant, Bresnan ushered a confused Nathanson into the bathroom.
"It was my first lesson from Bill," Nathanson said. "He said, ‘If the bathroom is clean, so is the plant!"
McGuirk, who spent 35 years with Turner Broadcasting, had one of the best punch lines of the evening.
"Can you imagine working 30 years for Ted Turner?" he said in accepting his Hall of Fame award. "Between you and me, I'm happy to have made it through with all my parts intact."
Abbe Raven said her first interview in cable 28 years ago was in the lingerie department of Macy's department store in Manhattan. "I would have never dreamed then that I would be standing here today," she said.