The cable industry’s diversity efforts continue to stagnate despite some notable strides and much well-intentioned hand wringing, said panelists Mon at the opening general session of NAMIC’s annual conference in NYC. "This industry deserves only a `B’ for its diversity efforts," said NAMIC chmn Manish Jha, who also chairs Mobile ESPN. "There’s far too much wheel spinning and not enough momentum." Rainbow Media Holdings pres/CEO and honorary NAMIC co-chmn Josh Sapan expressed frustration that some of Rainbow’s past efforts to increase racial diversity "just didn’t work" despite much success attracting women and gay/lesbian workers. He called for "more vigilance" going forward. Insight pres/COO Dinni Jain said cable’s growth in recent years has made it particularly hard to stay focused on diversity, noting that "one of the big obstacles we have is [financial] success" that can push diversity efforts to the back burner. "Quite frankly, we’re not very good at this," he said. In fact, NAMIC’s just-released diversity study found a significant decline in the number of CEOs signing off on exec compensation tied to diversity goals. Luke Visconti-partner and co-founder of DiversityInc, which compiled stats for NAMIC’s study-said CEOs need to get tough. "You set goals, and you accomplish them-and you fire people who don’t achieve those goals," he said to applause. "You bet it’s a numbers game. You go out, and you accomplish your numbers." Much of the panel focused on the business case for diversity, with wide agreement that changing demographics make diverse hiring a competitive necessity. "We have to stay passionate about this," said Court TV chmn Henry Schleiff. Johnathan Rodgers, pres/CEO of TV One, said commitments also must go beyond bottom-line justifications. "Sometimes you just have to do something because it’s the right thing to do," he said.

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