The importance of regional operators and programmers often is ignored when lists of cable’s powerful are compiled. This second annual list of 35 executives in 33 slots constitutes our attempt to rectify that oversight.
1. Randy Freer
President, Fox Regional Cable Sports Networks:
Freer is a hybrid in that he’s a regional player who also has national responsibility, for Fox College Sports. Yet his main gig is Fox Sports Net, the regional powerhouse composed of 19 networks that collectively own the telecast rights to more than half of all MLB, NBA and NHL teams.
2. Jon Litner (left)
President, Comcast Sports Group
Litner augmented an already heavy portfolio by gaining three non-sports networks: NECN and The Comcast Nets in Philadelphia and DC. The former Punt, Pass & Kick winner also hired 3 top-flight pros to help oversee his 45mln-home group: former CNN chief Princell Hair as SVP of News Ops; former Raycom Sports and Carat Media head Ray Warren as Chief Revenue Officer; and philly.com head Eric Grilly as Chief Digital Officer.
3. Tracy Dolgin
CEO, YES Network
COO, YES Network
No surprise why Dolgin and Hopkins are enjoying this winter. Even in a down year in ’08 Yankees fans made YES the top-watched regional net. Again. With a new stadium and a largely rebuilt team viewers flocked to YES in record numbers in ’09, too, allowing it to post ratings like a 7 for a May game vs the Red Sox. Beyond that were YES’ national distribution, VOD plays and broadband deal.
4. Mark Silverman
Pres, Big Ten Network
Is Silverman’s really a two-year-old network? The thing has 75mln HHs already, carries 95% of its 350 live events yearly in HD, is a prolific VOD provider to Comcast and TW Cable and will be profitable in ’09-’10. Of course Big Ten had 30mln subs within 30 days of birth back in ’07, so….
5. Steve Raab
Raab and SNY could have folded the tent in the middle of ’09 (the injury-riddled Mets were out of contention early). Instead, the Mets’ collapse made Raab’s Big East deal for 125 football and basketball games look that much more prescient. Another plus was the continued growth of sny.tv, particularly its off-beat show The Nooner.
6. Steven White
President, West Division, Comcast
A mid-November promotion vaulted the former SVP of the CA Region to become Brad Dusto’s replacement. Steve’s new gig has him leading 20K employees serving some 6mln subs in 11 states.
7. Howard Szarfarc
EVP, Operations, NYC, Time Warner Cable
Szarfarc spearheaded the migration to an all-digital platform in the ferociously competitive NYC market, where 90%+ subs are digital customers. With everything he does, Howard, a library advocate, finds time to be a literacy mentor in a company – supported program.
8. Terry O’Connell
EVP, Ops, Midwest Region, Time Warner Cable
Known for his steady hand and commitment to his employees and 3mln subs, O’Connell is a CTAM Tami winner and is active with WICT and NCTA.
9. Amy Smith
SVP, Freedom Region, Comcast
Composed of metro Philadelphia and NJ, the newly formed Freedom Region is Comcast’s largest. Known for her can-do attitude, Smith leads 7K+ employees who serve 2.5mln subs.
10. Patrick Knorr
COO, Sunflower Broadband
We could swear that sparks fly out of Knorr’s head when he talks about technology. As one cable exec says of him, "He plays the technology chess game several moves ahead of everyone else."
11. Barry Rosenblum
EVP, Ops, Texas Region, Time Warner Cable
A 21-year cable vet, Rosenblum not only runs a 2mln-sub system in Texas but the former NYC chief continues to oversee NY1 News, the award-winning 24/7 station.
12. Fred Lutz
VP/GM, SoCAL Region, Charter
Known for an energetic and motivating style, Fred successfully consolidated Charter’s L.A. market under a common leadership team.
13. Stephen Pagano
EVP, Ops, West Region, Time Warner Cable
After nearly 30 years with TW Cable, you’d think Pagano would be mellowing. Not a chance. The competitive West region has stirred him and he’s responded by restructuring operations to enhance the customer experience for his 2.5mln subs.
14. Carol Hevey
EVP, Ops, Carolina Region, TW Cable
What a fabulous story. The 20+year cable veteran started at TW Cable as a secretary. Now she serves 2mln subs and oversees 5K employees.
15. Mike Bair
Pres,, MSG Media
If you get a chance to speak with this media professional do it. You’ll find he’s one of the most knowledgeable and likeable execs in the business. He’s so humble you’d never know he runs Madison Square Garden’s TV networks, radio nets and a slew of other high-profile properties.
16. Josh Jamison
Pres, East Operating Group, Charter
Well known for his up-beat personality and obsession with the NY Mets (which requires said personality), Jamison integrated a huge part of another division into his group while continuing to meet revenue goals.
17. Rebecca Schulte
SVP/GM, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic
In just 2 years Schulte’s raised the quality of SportsNet’s coverage and the quantity, carrying 500+ live sporting events yearly to 5mln homes in the suburban DC area.
18. Jim Samaha
SVP, Central PA Region, Comcast
Jim’s grown his recently formed region of 700K business and residential subs by focusing on digital voice. In ’10 his charge will be to augment the sub base and drive revenue via a series of offensive moves against the competition.
19. Jim Liberatore
President, SportsTime Ohio
STO was a small regional running and re-running Indians’ games before Jim arrived. He’s remade it into a 24/7 operation, diversified the content and launched HD in April ’08.
20. Bill Goetz
EVP, Operations, NE/National Region, Time Warner Cable
With nearly 30 years in cable Bill has ample experience in attracting and assembling regional teams. A consummate dealmaker, Bill’s decisions reverberate from coast to coast.
21. Fred Graffam
SVP, Beltway Region, Comcast
Nearly everyone in local cable knows this popular industry veteran. Fred was charged with leading this new-formed region. Among his first moves was meeting 6K+ employees across 4 states and D.C. to ensure they had the tools to succeed.
22. Steve Hackley
SVP, Greater Boston Region, Comcast
Steve’s Boston region serves 2mln subs in New England, but he’s also playing a national role, being one of Comcast’s leaders in customer service. Steve piloted and led the launch of the Comcast Customer Guarantee, a company strategic initiative. And his team launched a partnership with the Boston Red Sox, which introduced exclusive On Demand programming.
23. Doug Guthrie
SVP, Western New England Region, Comcast
Guthrie’s 2K employees serve nearly 1mln subs in 4 states. Under Doug’s leadership, WNE is ranked #1 year-to-date among all Comcast regions.
24. Jacqueline Vines
SVP/GM, Cox Louisiana
Well-known throughout cable, Jacqui was tapped to run Cox’s newly reorganized Louisiana region, the MSO’s third largest. The Betsy Magness alum has a state-wide profile, serving on state and local board, and she still had time to adopt 3 young children.
25. Peter Marsh
VP, Business Services, Greater Boston Region, Comcast
A terrific skier, 25-year veteran Marsh has assembled a top-notch sales team that consistently leads the Business Services organization company-wide in sales and productivity. Peter’s customers have selected Comcast as the top business telecom provider in his New Hampshire service footprint two years in a row.
26. Elaine Barden
Regional VP, Marketing, CA Region
The marketer’s marketer, Barden’s oversight includes a $2bln revenue base, more than 2.4mln subs and a 250-person sales and marketing team.
27. Robert Fouss
Division VP, Ad Sales, Suddenlink Media
A pioneer of cable advertising, Fouss’ team will hit and exceed budget this year, despite the sluggish economy. We’re not surprised. In his 25 years in the business, Fouss, who’s also a licensed auctioneer, has missed budget just once.
28. J.D. Myers II
VP, Cox Business, N VA
J.D.’s suburban D.C. unit enjoyed the highest year-over-year revenue growth of all Cox Business markets and appears headed to having the top budgeted revenue growth for ’09. More than that, in two years he’s led the unit from last place to first among the 14 Cox Business markets nationwide.
29. Christine Pantoya
VP, Sales & Marketing, Cox, N VA
A former wireless employee Pantoya has aligned Cox’s vision, strengthened its brand and bolstered its reputation in the ultra-competitive suburban D.C. market. Her collaboration with Cox Media resulted in a 100% increase in cross-channel response rate in a single quarter.
30. Steve Friedman
COO, Wave Broadband
President, Harron Comm
A quiet but effective leader Bruder’s mantra is community connection. Indie ops often look to Friedman to set the bar on a range of issues. While Friedman and Bruder are key systems players, their influence is enhanced as ACA’s chairman and vice chairman, respectively.
31. Bill Severn
COO, NPG Cable
An indie cable stalwart, Bill leads NPG Cable, which won our ’09 Independent Operator of the Year Award. Severn literally re-built a string of small, acquired systems by deploying advanced services.
32. Jim Gleason
President & CEO, NewWave Communications
One of the leaders of independent cable, Jim prides himself on providing MSO-style services in a much smaller system setting (117K subs in parts of 6 states). NewWave was a co-winner of CableFAX’s ’09 Independent Customer Service Award.
33. Kathryn Falk
VP, Public & Govt Aff, Cox, N VA
Kathy has repositioned public and government affairs to drive revenue for Cox Business, Cox Media and Cox residential via strategic partnerships. A fixture on the D.C. Circuit, the Besty Magness and CTAM U alum also is well-known due to her hosting a public affairs spot on Cox’s local access channel.