Our six choices for newsmakers to watch in 2006 have two things in common: They control the bottom line and they are all white males. If we were grading the diversity of our list, we’d have to assign ourselves a solid D. The stark message of our list led us to ask a former NAMIC president and a multicultural marketer how they would grade the cable industry’s diversity efforts in 2005. For all the progress cable companies made with diversity in 2005, the absence of senior executives of color and women remains glaring, according to former NAMIC president Clayton Banks, who gave cable a B-/C+ for its diversity efforts. "There’s still a vacuum in corporate boardrooms," says Banks, who runs new-media vendor Ember Media. "You don’t see Asians, or African-Americans, or Latinos, running areas where you control profit and loss, such as finance, programming and marketing. A lot of them get pushed into multicultural projects, or get small areas to run." Banks credits Time Warner Cable, Viacom, Scripps Networks and Comcast for embracing or expanding formal diversity initiatives this year. However, he says, there is more cable operators can do "to find qualified people of color [to run] divisions and [control] company resources." Cable’s diversity on the content side earns a D from Wanla Cheng, president of Asia Link Consulting, a multicultural research and marketing firm whose client roster includes Bank of America, Verizon and Johnson & Johnson. "Yes, there’s BET and a handful of dedicated channels reaching specific ethnic audiences," Cheng says. "Yes, there’s more and varied faces on other networks, and diversity is getting better behind the camera. But it’s not even close to being reflective of our society." —Simon Applebaum

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Wireless veteran Stephen Stokols joined DISH as evp, Boost Mobile . Stokols, who most recently served as founder/CEO of wireless venture FreedomPop , will report to DISH group

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