Readers Weigh In


The following are reader responses to the June 28, 2004 Opinion column in Multichannel News.

NCTA Staffers Differ on Sachs

To the Editor:

Writing on behalf of ourselves and the departments and organizations we head within the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), we'd like to comment on Robert Sachs' relationship with the NCTA staff, and offer a view that contrasts sharply with how that relationship was characterized in your recent Opinion column.

Robert has gone to great lengths to foster a strong team spirit at NCTA. Time and again, he has reached out to each of us, showing sensitivity to personal and family needs. He consistently has recognized extraordinary accomplishments of staff members as well as the contributions of long-term NCTA employees. He has worked to preserve and extend our employee health care benefits in an era of rising costs. He has sought ways to enhance our professional development. And he has supported and encouraged us to participate in community and industry volunteer activities.

Robert repeatedly has demonstrated his respect and caring for others. From New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, he chose to return to Washington to be with us, rather than travel home to join family in Boston. He freely has offered counsel and support for us on family, personal, and career issues. And he has joined us in supporting activities about which many of us feel passionately, as he did recently on a rainy Saturday by running with NCTA employees in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure here in Washington.

More importantly, Robert has modeled the highest standards of performance and motivated us to set similar standards for ourselves and our departments. We've all grown professionally and feel privileged to have worked with such a smart, incredibly dedicated leader during a highly eventful period in cable's history.

Dan Brenner Senior Vice President, Law & Regulatory Policy

Steve Berry Senior Vice President, Government Relations

William Check Vice President, Science & Technology

Jadz Janucik Senior Vice President, Association Affairs

Jill Luckett Vice President, Program Network Policy

Peggy O'Brien Executive Director, Cable in the Classroom

Debbie A. Smith Executive Director, Walter Kaitz Foundation

Rob Stoddard Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs

Barbara York Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Industry Affairs and Administration

Eleanor Winter Vice President, Special Projects, National Cable & Telecommunications Association Washington D.C.

Sachs' Record Includes Solid Accomplishments

To the Editor:

Amid all of the gossip and intrigue that always accompany a change in trade association leadership, we should not lose sight of the solid record of accomplishment by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association during Robert Sachs' nearly five years at the helm.

In so many ways, cable is in a great position in Washington, D.C. Our regulatory burdens have been steadily decreasing. Major campaigns by opponents to regulate the way we price and package our cable services, to expand our must-carry obligations or to impose old monopoly-era regulations on our new broadband services have been successfully fended off. And in areas such as programming content and equal employment opportunity, we have shown public officials that we are a responsible and responsive industry prepared to “do the right thing,” thereby deflating calls for regulation.

These things didn't happen by accident. They required a unified industry — large and small cable operators working together; operators and programmers reading from the same script. In an era when the potential for conflict between and among the companies is greater than ever, Robert Sachs worked exceedingly hard to keep the industry focused on our common goals. We were all well-served by those efforts.

It hasn't been easy. And it won't be easy for Robert's successor. But the next person to take the job will inherit an industry that is poised for continued success in Washington. As Robert helps us with the transition, he has a great deal to be proud of, and I am glad to have had the chance to work with him.

David L. Cohen Executive Vice President Comcast Corporation

Sachs Descriptions Don't Fit the Profile

To the Editor:

For the record, the skewed descriptions I'm hearing of National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Robert Sachs don't fit the Robert Sachs I know, and with whom I've worked closely these past few years.

In my experience, Robert is a consummate professional who's passionate in looking after our industry's interests in Washington D.C. As such, he's done a yeoman's job in managing a powerful group of people who head companies with diverse goals and objectives. I can speak personally to say he maintains frequent and productive contact with virtually every individual on the 32-member NCTA Board of Directors, a daunting task in and of itself, in forging consensus on each major policy issue we've faced. He's solidified the NCTA's standing on Capitol Hill, and at the Federal Communications Commission, by maintaining an outstanding staff of professionals and behaving honorably in the ambiguous environment of Washington.

The industry's record of success in public policy these past five years speaks volumes about Robert's contribution to our industry. Our companies are growing, thriving, and delivering more value to customers and shareholders because of the regulatory environment created through his fine work and that of the NCTA staff.

Carl Vogel President and CEO Charter Communications Inc.