Veteran Journalist Kerver Dies

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Tom Kerver, the longtime business editor at Cablevision magazine and a well-known cable-industry pundit, died in his sleep on April 7 at a family home on South Padre Island, Texas, family members said. He was 69.

Kerver, a self-styled curmudgeon who held strong opinions that often made their way into print, wrote many cover stories for Cablevision over the years and covered all of the principal business stories in the industry during his career. He was well known to most if not all of the industry’s key business figures.

Kerver began his cable-TV journalism career at Cardiff Publishing’s Cable Television Business in 1982 and joined Cablevision in 1990, which, until it ceased publishing in December 2001, was a sister magazine to Multichannel News. He later wrote a weekly commentary page for the daily fax Multichannel Newsday.

Senior executives at MCN parent Reed Business Information who worked with Kerver from his beginnings at Cablevision recalled him fondly last week.

“Right from the start, Tom established himself as an independent thinker clearly proud of his journalistic integrity,” said Bill McGorry, who oversaw the magazine group that included Cablevision. “He viewed himself as something of 'a conscience for the cable television industry’ and as such, frequently took the leadership of the industry to task for perceived missteps. I know, because I fielded many of those phone calls.”

Larry Oliver, the former Cablevision publisher, said: “Tom was one of a kind, and I was always impressed by his ability to challenge the giants of the cable industry when he didn’t agree with them. He was also very dedicated to his trade. He would call me and tell me about a conference or show he was speaking at that we normally didn’t go to just so we could get copies of Cablevision to where he was speaking.”

Friends also remembered him as a vivid storyteller who truly enjoyed a great meal, and one former colleague, Ann Carlsen, CEO of Carlsen Resources Inc., recalled a memorable rendition of the “Cream of Wheat dance” on a Cardiff conference-room table.

Said Brian Deevy, the CEO of Daniels & Associates and a longtime source and friend: “He certainly was a strong, opinionated guy. When he took a stand, he took a stand.”

Earlier in his career, Kerver was communications director for the Colorado Bankers Association.

He served in the U.S. military for some 20 years, culminating in a five-year stint as a public-affairs executive at the Department of Defense.

He had three master’s degrees, including one in journalism and public relations from the University of Wisconsin, according to RBI personnel records. He also taught journalism at Colorado State University.

Kerver is survived by his wife, Nancy; two sons, Kenneth and Stephan; and two daughters, Suzanne and Sarah.

Late last week, indications were that a funeral mass would be celebrated today (April 12) at a Roman Catholic church in the South Padre Island area, but arrangements were still being made. Family and friends also had begun planning a memorial service to be held in Denver sometime in the next two to three weeks.