Retired Bright House Networks Chairman Robert Miron recently was honored as the inaugural recipient of the “Bresnan Ethics in Business Award,” named for the late William J. Bresnan, founder and chairman of Bresnan Communications and long-time chairman of the board of The Cable Center.
Aside from his former leadership position at Bright House, Miron has contributed his talents and experiences to many industry organizations, including the NCTA, C-SPAN, Cable in the Classroom, CableLabs, the Walter Kaitz Foundation and Discovery Communications. He currently serves on The Cable Center’s Honorary Board of Directors, and he was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2001.
Miron, who began his career at Advance/Newhouse right after college, shared some of his thoughts about ethics in the cable business with CT Reports Editor Linda Hardesty.
Hardesty: What ethical challenges have you had to face? Are there any stories that particularly resonate with you to this day?
Miron: I guess I remember a day where a man, John Wynne, who was running The Weather Channel at Landmark Communications, said, ‘You have a contract for free service, but we can’t make it this way. We’re going to go under. Would you tear up the contract and agree to pay us a fee?’ I trusted him, and it was important that the Weather Channel continue, so I agreed to do that.
Hardesty: What do you think are the ethical challenges operators face today?
Miron: Operators and programmers who continually fight over fees all need to recognize that, for an industry to be successful, both sides have to be able to live. Those negotiations can get pretty heated and difficult. There needs to be some good sense displayed.
Hardesty: You were a friend of Bill Bresnan. How did he exemplify ethics?
Miron: He was always a gentleman, always treated you with respect. He, like me, had a strong passion for customer service, taking care of the customer. He stuck his neck out to help the Cable Center survive. For me to receive the award, it means a lot.
Hardesty: Customer service has been a sore spot for some cable companies. How can they improve the customer experience?
Miron: We do deal with a huge amount of people and take a huge amount of phone calls. And it’s not easy. But you develop a culture, and that starts at the top. And it does cost a little money. As competition continues to grow, poor experiences by the customer will eventually hurt you.
Miron will accept his Bresnan Ethics in Business Award at the Cable Center’s “Cable Hall of Fame Celebration,” slated for June 14 as part of The Cable Show 2011 in Chicago.