New York -- Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Charles
Dolan used the bully pulpit of the Walter Kaitz Foundation Fund-Raising Dinner here last
week to attack restrictions on operators' abilities to program their systems.
More than 1,700 people attended the 15th annual affair at
the New York Hilton. The dinner is designed to promote minority hiring at cable companies.
While Dolan spoke about government and cable-network
practices that could discourage "the next generation of entrepreneurs," the man
who introduced him called on cable companies to expand their hiring practices to be more
inclusive of minorities.
"I challenge you tonight to take positive
action," Tele-Communications Inc. president and chief operating officer Leo J.
Hindery Jr. said, adding that companies should offer job fairs, training and competency
programs to bring more minorities into the industry.
In his speech, Dolan criticized must-carry rules that
translate into "must-buy," forcing basic-cable customers to pay for unwanted
broadcast signals. He also chastised networks for imposing practices on operators that
essentially force subscribers to pay for services that they do not want.
The four-hour affair, which was produced by MTV Networks,
also included a 35-minute concert by Natalie Cole.