Charting The Cable Center’s Course


Since its inception in 1994, The Cable Center has undergone a series of changes to better reflect cable’s colorful history and meet the needs of a rapidly expanding business through education and programs designed to address specific areas such as customer care. Multichannel News contributor Craig Kuhl spoke with Cable Center president and CEO Larry Satkowiak about the Center’s strategic plan, its educational programs and the overall mission of a re-defined and reinvented Cable Center. An edited transcript follows:

MCN: How would you define The Cable Center’s mission statement as it stands today?

LARRY SATKOWIAK: We still serve the cable industry, higher education and the public, and are developing exhibits that celebrate cable’s contributions to society. The mission is much more focused today. We are concentrating on doing fewer programs with greater depth, and we understand that we are operating a business that must operate within a budget while serving the needs of our constituency.

MCN: What are some of the key programs now underway at the Center?

LS: The Maverick’s Lecture Series is getting great reviews. Cable executives are visiting colleges and talking to students and faculty about the challenges of running a cable-related business. And students are receiving information about the dynamics of the business in a way they’ve never imagined. We’re hoping that once they’ve been informed about the cable business, they may want to consider cable as a career.

We are also working with the University of Denver on an MBA concentration in customer care. The first class started this term. We want to expand our professional development and training efforts in 2007 as well, and are just beginning to explore the links between the cable business and higher education.

We are also looking at different instructional models and doing a 'needs assessment’ right now.

MCN: Talk about some of the future programs scheduled at the Center

LS: We need to provide value to the industry, and the programs we selected in the strategic plan will help define the Center over the next couple of years. We also need to establish a track record. There is great opportunity for programs such as international education and training, but we’re taking one step at a time.

MCN: What is the one program, event or strategy that you think will have the greatest impact?

LS: I think we’ll see the greatest growth in the delivery of customized professional development programs, with a very compelling cost-benefit ratio. We’re exploring delivering degree and non-degree programs in novel ways to meet the needs of our industry.

MCN: What has the Hall of Fame meant to the Cable Center?

LS: The Center has a very strong tie to cable’s pioneers and the Hall of Fame is our signature event and our opportunity to host the industry.

The stories of these individuals are truly inspirational and each one has made a significant contribution to the industry.

It’s a great opportunity to celebrate those contributions. And the proceeds go towards programs that are not sufficiently endowed, like the library.

MCN: What is your long-term vision for the Center?

LS: I see the Center cooperating with the industry and non-profit organizations for a common purpose and expanding our educational priorities using innovative technologies that exist in cable today.

There has been a lot of change at the Center in the past year, but we need to adapt to a different mode of operation that is more technologically adept and innovative, just like the industry we serve.