As The Independent Show begins in Orlando (July 27-30), CableFAX: The Magazinehas named WOW! its Independent Operator of the Year and Insight its top MSO. Excerpts from profiles of WOW!, Insight and other indie and MSO winners appear below. [Find the magazine at:http://www.cable360.net/features360/cfaxmag/30873.html] www.cable360.net/features360/cfaxmag/30873.html]
Independent Operator of the Year: While it competes with Comcast and Time Warner Cable in 4 markets, WOW!'s customer base has risen 34% since '02, when pres/CEO Colleen Abdoulah joined. The growth stems from being “obsessively focused on the employee and customer experience,” she says. Abdoulah says when employees are empowered, superior service results. The market agrees–WOW! received a 98% satisfaction rating from customers.
Indie Marketer of the Year: Jerry McKenna gets the nod because he championed Cable One's successful forays into digital cable, broadband and phone and gained oversight of its newly combined sales and marketing force.
Indie System Exec of the Year: BendBroadband pres/CEO Amy Tykeson says the cable business is all about flexibility; she should know. Tykeson is a terrific hybrid. Firmly ensconced in the independent camp, Tykeson's knowledge and speaking ability have put her in the national spotlight.
Indie Strategic Thinker of the Year: Don't play chess with Patrick Knorr. The GM of Sunflower Broadband usually thinks 3-4 moves ahead of everyone else, ACA vp/COO Rob Schema says. The result: a tech profile that big MSOs envy.
Indie Community Service: We had a tie here as we honored Advanced Cable of FL and Massillon Cable of OH, 2 indie ops whose dedication to community service has not only been effective, but consistent. Both stage annual events raising money and awareness for local causes.
Indie Lifetime Achievement Award: True, Steve Weed looks too young to merit a lifetime achievement nod, but looks deceive. The Wave Broadband CEO is a Cable Pioneer who helped guide ACA through the '96 Telecom Act and he continues driving cable technology.
MSO of the Year: Insight's '07 record numbers for basic subs, telephone, Internet and cash flow were award winning. But how Insight achieved them–making radical changes and focusing rigorously on the basics, including basic subs–is the real story.
MSO Sales Team of the Year: It would have been a sexier story to write that the Charter Business team performs magic every day as it sells voice, video and high-speed access to business customers. The reality is that the unit's award-winning growth is linked to focus, on many levels.
MSO Comeback Executive of the Year: “It's been Rocco Commisso's year,” a cable exec says. We wouldn't disagree. With Sinclair behind him, the Mediacom chief has seen basic subs grow, rises in revenue and cash flow and shares soar 20% in Q1.
MSO Tech Innovator of the Year: VP Pragash Pillai helped develop Bresnan's “fast follower” tech strategy. It has worked. The MSO is pushing several analog plants into the digital era.
MSO Best Community Service (System): Cox's well-deserved reputation for community service is clearly demonstrated on the system level by Cox AZ and its statewide TV channel Cox 7. The 2 emphasize coverage of issues related to youth and education.
MSO Lifetime Achievement Award: OK, we're biased, but wasn't it great seeing Ralph Roberts walking the Cable Show floor in New Orleans, nattily dressed, with a smile a mile wide? But Comcast's patriarch wasn't just schmoozing. Ralph's still a guiding light at Comcast, and the company's conscience.