Anaheim, Calif. -- Irritated by a lack of minority
representation among top cable executives, two minority-empowerment groups last week
called for an "aggressive" industry commitment toward increased hiring of
Both the National Association of Minorities in
Communications and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts admonished the industry
for its lack of hiring minority executives after CableFax's recent "Top
100 Cable Executives" report yielded only four minorities.
"We see the list as indicative of the failure of the
industry to bring people of color into the senior positions that are considered
influential," said Joe Lawson, president of NAMIC and vice president of marketing at
MSO Bresnan Communications.
"Instead of only focusing on digital must-carry
issues, the cable industry should mandate itself to provide diversity must-carry
goals," said Felix Sanchez, president of the NHFA, an organization cofounded by actor
Lawson said the organizations are calling for the industry
to "take aggressive actions to change the current situation."
Douglas Holloway, executive vice president of distribution
and affiliate relations for USA Networks Inc., suggested that companies tie individual or
group financial-compensation goals to the recruitment of minorities.
Holloway, who was speaking as part of a NAMIC breakfast
panel at the Western Show here last Thursday, added, however, that the industry --
including his own company -- has failed miserably to promote qualified people of color to
He questioned why more of the Walter Kaitz
Foundation's fellows haven't been placed in decision-making and influential
positions within MSO and programming companies. Despite the high educational and
work-experience criteria that fellows have to meet to get accepted into the program,
Holloway said, they've nevertheless continued to hit a "cement" ceiling
"If I came through the Kaitz program, I would not have
survived the process, and most [current executives] would not have survived the
process," Holloway said. "There is something diabolically wrong [within the
industry], and I challenge [cable companies] to take stock and look at what you're
doing inside your own companies."