Sachs, Willner: Time to Diversify


New York -- The cable industry must continue to take more steps to get a
better handle on how to expand ethnic rolls in senior management.

This week's National Association of Minorities in Communications conference
opened here Monday morning on that note -- a point trumpeted by Robert Sachs,
president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and

Before the week is over, the boards of both organizations will have a lot to
exchange intimately about the subject when, for the first time, a joint
breakfast meet will take place.

'Underrepresentation of minorities and women on boards and in senior
management is where we must focus our efforts,' Sachs said in his keynote
address. 'In this respect, unfortunately, the cable industry is not unlike the
rest of corporate America. But I, for one, sense a growing desire within the
industry to change this.'

Panelists on the CEO roundtable following Sachs' commentary echoed the call,
adding that diversity among the industry's executive core on all sides --
operators, programmers, technology and other vendors -- works both socially and

Actions or inaction to the contrary imperil the industry, warned Insight
Communications Co. Inc. CEO Michael Willner.

'The face of New York, California and south Florida will be the face of
America,' he said, in reference to studies concluding that by 2050, one-half of
the U.S. population will be multicultural.

'We'd better develop on that fact or we'll be out of business,' Willner
added. 'Out of survival for itself and doing the right thing, cable will lead
the other media and telecommunications industries in diversity. The pace of
change is frustrating, but the awareness is there.'

New Liberate Technologies CEO Coleman Sisson requested that NAMIC send a
representative to his company's management to speak up on diversity initiatives.
A total of 30 percent of the interactive-TV-software company's employees are
Asian, while 10 percent are African-American and Latino.

NAMIC's recent employment report 'got our attention ... it shows how bad
you've done' in senior-management diversity, he added. 'I want to know how we
can do a better job.'