Gerald Dash, whose long cable
career began with early franchising efforts and selling HBO subscriptions, died
on Aug. 30 at his home in Tucson, Ariz., of a terminal illness, family
members said. He was 68.
Inducted into the Cable
Television Pioneers in 2005, when he was a senior VP of training at RCH Cable
Outsourcing Services, Dash began his cable career selling door to door. "That
was the real key to me," he recalled in 2005, adding: "There's never been a
dull day, even though sales people have never really been recognized."
"He was a true cable pioneer in every sense and lived, ate and
breathed cable," Michael Snyder, a former co-worker, said. "I am only one of
dozens of cable industry folks that has Gerry to thank for his knowledge and
support as a friend and colleague."
Dash worked at many cable
companies over the years, large and small, and also for a wireless cable
company, Peoples Choice TV, and a big phone company, Bell Atlantic. Most
recently he worked for Comcast. Other employers were RCN, Multivision,
TelePrompTer and UA Columbia.
His family said "Mr. Cable
Guy" would be a fitting epitaph.
Born in Bayside, N.Y., in
1940, he served in the U.S. Army as a photographer, in Korea, and then, aided
by the G.I. Bill, obtained bachelors and masters degrees from the University of
Bridgeport (Conn.) while also supporting his wife and young daughter. He began
his television career at station WGBH in Boston.
In an undated oral history interview
for The Cable Center, he said he obtained a job with TelePrompTer as director
of pay-TV sales after that cable operator signed an affiliation deal with HBO. "I
was at TelePrompTer for about a year and half, and I did about ninety launches
across the United States for them," he said. "We sold about 250,000 HBO
customers out of a million mature customers."
According to a remembrance
from family members, "Gerry liked a challenge. A project fitting his
intelligence. The small, up and coming start up, or new project. Ironic, that
he worked last for Comcast, the largest and most established. His specialty has
always been sales. You will find no one on the planet that knows more about
selling and marketing cable television.
"He could be as talkative as
anyone you have ever met. With tremendous enthusiasm. And an encyclopedic
knowledge of figures, numbers and projections.
"Minutes later he could be
introspective and quiet. Asking you question after question about what you do.
Inquisitive to no end. And always thoughtful and kind. Even as a manager, he
treated everyone as a peer.
"Gerry read every publication
the industry printed. He would gloat about knowing what the next trend was
going to be, even before people half his age did. "
He also was a music
fan, especially jazz, loved Westerns and other movies and golf.
Family members, including his
wife, Virginia, and daughter, Heather Barger, and her husband, David Barger, planned a small private memorial