As you’ve already read in his letter on page 8, Rex Porter is departing as editor-in-chief this month. He’s provided technical expertise, common sense and good humor to Communications Technology, CT’s Pipeline and CableFAX Daily, for more than seven years. And he’s done the same, and more, for our industry for nearly 40 years.
Rex is an original investor in Communications Technology, a founder and charter member of SCTE and has served as an NCTA associate director. Additionally, he is a cable pioneer and SCTE Hall of Fame and Circle of Eagles member. An Air Force veteran, Rex became a partner in a number of cable systems and helped found Capscan Cable, CablePrep and Power Guard, among others.
I can’t begin to guess how many hundreds of times I’ve walked down to Rex’s office or picked up the phone to ask, "Hey, Rex. Have you got a few minutes?" He always cleared some time, even when our discussions went way beyond a few minutes. Whether I needed an answer to a tricky engineering concept, or advice on how we might approach a story in a way that most benefited our readers, Rex had answers—or like all great editors—knew who to ask if he didn’t.
I’ll miss him, but I also know that he’s not leaving broadband behind. Rex has it in his blood, and always will be active in cable. Because he’s promised to continue to write for the industry, the engineering community can always count on "TV Rex’s" steady voice, as well as straight-shooting approach to the issues that affect you every day.
Rex is a highly quotable man, and so in closing, I’m taking this opportunity to offer up a few of his recent witticisms.
* On wasting bandwidth: "Our customers complain that there are too many cable channels, and too few worth watching. Customers claim they watch few of the channels and detest the time they spend searching for their favorites. How did we ever come to think we must fill up the spectrum with programs, many of which few watch? Will we finally have The Ox Cart Axle Channel?"
* On the high cost of programming: "If nonbroadcast programmers are going to use the HFC net to make fortunes with advertising, why should the operator pay them anything? Seems to me that the programmer should be paying the operator for advertising time. I never have seen a commercial on HBO or Showtime other than spot promotions on their own programs. And I think this is what we had in mind when we signed on to provide outlets for today’s multitude of programmers. But I don’t think we intended they should compete with the broadcasters for commercials and then charge us for carriage to customers."
* On tough times: "My warning to system owners and CEOs: There is a big difference in guarding against hard times and planning on them. When you plan on them, you usually get them!"
* On sticking the tough times out: "I want to be involved in the industry when we decide to win. We have the technology and engineering expertise. We only lack the financial support and futuristic mindset of corporate executives to attain the promise of a true Information Superhighway!"
Laura Hamilton is editorial director, broadband, at Communications Technology. Reach her at [email protected].