Will she or won’t she? That was the question on everyone’s mind when Judy McGrath took the stage Wed night in NY to accept Kaitz’s Diversity Champion award for MTV Networks. The tension didn’t last long, with the crowd of about 1300 bursting into applause and whooping when McGrath gave Tom Freston credit for leading MTVN’s diversity charge. “I want to publicly honor the man who inspired us in that direction… Making MTV Networks into a diverse company was truly Tom’s vision,” she said of the recently ousted Viacom CEO. The other Kaitz Dinner highlight (besides the $1.5mln the event raised for diversity initiatives) was an eloquent and moving speech by Alfonso Rosales, a recent grad of the Emma Bowen Foundation’s minority internship program. He’s now a production coordinator at The Weather Channel. Following Rosales’ talk, perceptive dinner co-chair and Cox pres/CEO Pat Esser said, “Wow, and I have to follow him.” — Classy move by Kyle McSlarrow, Rodgers and Esser to honor NCTA vet Michelle Ray, Kaitz’s interim director. Ray “jumped into the breech,” as McSlarrow said, and produced what many felt was the best Kaitz dinner in years: no speeches before dinner and an efficient program after the meal. Trade hacks have benefited from Ray’s help for 16 years; we add our kudos.

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