Matt Polka
Title: President/CEO, American Cable Association
Number of Years in Cable: 25
Education: BS, Journalism, West Virginia University; JD, Duquesne University School of Law
Best Advice in 7 Words or Less: Treat others as you would be treated.
 
Michael Powell
Title: President/CEO, NCTA
Number of Years in Cable: 2
Education: Degree in government,College of William and Mary; JD, Georgetown University Law Center

Why Them? Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t. But the cable interests always benefit having these two policy wonks in their respective corners, watching the regulatory ebb and flow around critical issues and advocating for the industry. Polka is the respected voice of the independent cable community. Powell is an articulate lobbyist who brings deep institutional knowledge from his years as chairman of the FCC under President George W. Bush. For 2013, ACA’s Polka predicts more blackouts, higher retransmission consent and programming fees this year. Powell, on the other hand, has said he expects no great change. One thing’s for sure: Retransmission will likely remain a major issue, and we can expect healthy debates as these two defenders fight for their causes and keep the industry informed about Washington.

Polka
 
Apple or Samsung? Apple
 
Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Beatles
 
Appetizer or dessert? Appetizer
 
Film fest or music festival? Film fest
 
The other subject I wish I’d picked for my college major: Music/Theater or Astronomy
 
I wish Congress would just… end retransmission consent.
 
Favorite airport? DCA, Reagan Washington National… I’m there enough!
 
Favorite vacation spot? For my family, New York City and the Theater, Disney World in Orlando, and any beach!
 
This is the hobby I’ve been itching to try, but haven’t found time: Becoming a pilot
 
The movie that should never be remade? Field of Dreams… The scene at the end, “Hey Dad? Want to have a catch?” Brings me to tears every time!
 
I watch the majority of programming on this device: TV, but iPad is closing rapidly, and has about caught up, if not surpassed.
 
Netflix or Hulu? Netflix, although I watch the most on Amazon Prime.
 
My peers would be surprised to learn that I…used to sing in a competitive, barbershop quartet, was a firefighter, and rode on in a boat race and wrote a feature story about the real African Queen!
 
Most embarrassing moment? Vail 1997, giving a speech as the new head of ACA (then SCBA), and hyperventilating because of the altitude and the fact that I’m a near sea-level guy. But I took a drink of water and finished strong!
 
Cable exec I wish had done a Harlem Shake video? None of them. To see me a do a Harlem Shake? Wouldn’t be pretty.
 
The biggest lesson I learned from my kid(s): As I watched them both deal with two different, but difficult transitional years, I realized again how important it is to never give up, never surrender, always work hard, get up every day with a good attitude, show up ready for work every day, and FINISH STRONG!
 
Dish I can make and that would impress a celebrity chef: “Dunk” eggs and toast. Simple, yet delicious!
 
Favorite decade? ‘80s (college, law school, marriage) and a little of the ‘90s (kids born!)
 
Celebrity, sports figure or politician I’d most want to have dinner with? Hugh
 
Jackman, Billy Beane (Oakland A’s), and Rep. John Dingell
 
Celebrity, sports figure or politician I’d most NOT want to have dinner with? I’ll keep that one to myself, because I won’t be having dinner with them anyway!
 
Who is on deck for the next celebrity meltdown? The Kardashian Family…please???? Talk about over-exposure.
 
My new year’s resolution for 2014 will be… continuing my quest to reach my perfect weight.
 
The one thing I’d do differently if I could go back to high school: No, no, no, never going back. Once was enough!
 
On a Saturday afternoon, you can find me... listening to “Car Talk” on NPR while doing chores, errands, jobs around the house, etc. I love those Click and Clack!
 
Favorite business and/or motivational book? Business: CLUTCH: Excel Under Pressure by Paul Sullivan; Motivational: The Good Book – In truth, that’s the only book that is necessary!
 
The biggest innovation in cable over the last year: All the new disruptive technologies (Aero, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.), that are changing the broadcast and programming carriage game and taking away the grip of leverage held by the programming media conglomerates.
 
If I could tell my 21-year-old self something today, it would be… life is not the straight path you thought it would be, but don’t worry because the Good Lord as part of His plan for you puts all of those left, right and U turns in there for good reasons—faith, growth and experience, just to name three. 
 
My favorite Cable Show memory: Playing catch on the show floor with my buddy, Rhod Shaw, and former Dodger and Pirates shortstop Maury Wills.
 
I consider this person my mentor, and here’s why: There are so many I have been blessed to work with, but Ben Hooks of Buford Media has truly been a friend and mentor. Ben is the perfect blend of faith, leadership, heart, business sense, vision, sincerity, friendliness and intelligence. You are blessed if Ben is in your corner!
 
The best piece of business advice I’ve gotten this year: Change is all around us, but no matter what don’t worry, because good things come when you keep showing up for work every day ready as ever to take on the challenge. 
 
The TV show title that most resembles my life is… “Scandal”…nahhhh; “24”…maybe in my mind (saving the world for cable!); that leaves… “The Office.” That seems right.
 
 
Powell
Apple or Samsung? Apple
 
Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Rolling Stones
 
On a Saturday afternoon, you can find me… finding stuff to take to the dump.
 
My new year’s resolution for 2014 will be… make it to 2015.
 
Appetizer or dessert? Appetizer
 
Film fest or music festival? Music
 
The other subject I wish I’d picked for my college major: Computer Science
 
My favorite Cable Show memory? Tumbling across the floor when I was FCC Chairman.
 
I wish Congress would just… continue to consider the views of cable.  
 
Favorite vacation spot? Cape Cod
 
Most embarrassing moment? Tumbling across the floor at the Cable Show.
 
Favorite airport? National
 
The movie that should never be remade? Footloose (oops, too late)
 
I watch the majority of programming on this device: TV screen
 
Netflix or Hulu? Both
 
Celebrity, sports figure or politician I’d most want to have dinner with? Cast of “Duck Dynasty”
 
If I could tell my 21-year-old self something today, it would be… happiness is ground in who you are, not what you do.
 
The biggest lesson I learned from my kid(s) this year was… driving is overrated. Walk more.
 
Dish I can make and that would impress a celebrity chef: Smoke Pulled Pork BBQ
 
Favorite business and/or motivational book? Thinking Fast and Slow
 
The biggest innovation in cable over the last year: Cable on portable devices. ?

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