Matthew M. Polka
Title: President & CEO, ACA
Years in Cable: 28
Education: BS, Journalism (News-Editorial), West Virginia University; JD, Duquesne University School of Law
One Word that Best Describes Me: Indefatigable! (Blame Ted Hearn who coined this about me many years ago!)
Title: President & CEO, NCTA
Years In Cable: 5
Education: Degree in Government, College of William and Mary; JD, Georgetown University Law Center.
A list of top people in cable wouldn’t be complete without the addition of these two. Polka is responsible for the daily operations and affairs of the 850-plus member non-profit ACA, dedicated to serving the interests on independent, small and medium-sized broadband, cable and phone businesses. He helps indies stay competitive as they navigate the legislative and regulatory framework. Meanwhile, NCTA chief Powell engages regularly in social media to keep the conversation current. Whether he’s simply wishing C-SPAN a happy birthday or reposting thought-provoking articles on how the FCC’s privacy rules affect consumers, Powell maintains an on-going dialogue.
What does the future look like for skinny bundles and flexible packaging? Inevitable. At ACA we have said for years that the “big bundle” will not last forever because our customers will demand better, and that’s what is happening today.
Virtual reality is: For me, undefined. I don’t see yet the application for our industry. Plus, the wearable technology just seems bulky and clunky. But I’m a lawyer and a lobbyist! What do I know?
Last show I watched not on my network(s): I’m not a programmer, but I will say that I’m a Dick Wolf fan. My wife and I love the “Chicago” Series – Fire, P.D., Med, and, soon, Justice!
What was your first job? First paying job was when I was in high school standing kettles for The Salvation Army during the Christmas season; first REAL job out of college was as a reporter for the national boating magazine, SOUNDINGS, based in Essex, CT.
Favorite charity event you work with: Industry: Cable TV Pioneers, Christians in Communications; Home: St. James Fellowship in Pittsburgh, ministering to residents, family members and caregivers of those who suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
“Star Trek” celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. So if Mr. Spock’s motto is “Live Long and Prosper,” mine is… Do the Right Thing, Every day!
If this election year was a reality TV series, it would be called… Off Script and Out of Bounds!
What was the last costume that you wore and why? Squanto, the Native-American man from the Patuxet Tribe who helped the Pilgrims survive their first winter in the New World. We were telling kids at church the story of how God puts people in the right place at the right time just when they are needed most!
What should cable do to improve its image? I literally think about this question every day, because in advocacy our industry is maligned so often because of our “sins” of the past, which are so far behind us. My answer: Be in lockstep with our customers. If it’s good for them and it is something they want, whatever that is, then I want our ACA Members to be right there with them. Remember Rule No. 1: The Customer is Always Right. And don’t forget Rule No. 2 either: Remember Rule No. 1!
My favorite hashtag is: #WeAreAmericanCable!
Best way to spend a Saturday night: Family, dinner, movie, together.
Name of my favorite Spotify playlist: Although this is not really all that old, I guess I’m “old school” primarily using iTunes! I do love soundtracks from superhero movies!
New favorite binge: “Justified” (FX-Amazon Prime), “Daredevil” (Netflix), “Bosch” (Amazon Prime), and “House of Cards” (Netflix)
My cable industry mentor and why: Ben Hooks, Buford Media. Character, integrity, business acumen, humor, putting others first. I’m sorry, Leo Duroscher, but “Nice Guys CAN Finish First!”
Hoverboard, driverless car or drone: Driverless car. Would love it so I can do emails, etc., and not feel guilty about typing and driving!
I watch the majority of programming on this device: iPad, hands down.
Favorite Podcast: Used to love to listen to the CarTalk guys (RIP Tom Magliozzi), but now I listen to DKPittsburghSports.com about my Pittsburgh Penguins and Pirates, mostly.
My favorite newfound hobby: Not new, but reinvigorated, all things hockey! Let’s Go Pens! I’m a huge Penguins fan. And sorry Caps, DC and Ovi, but Crosby IS better!
My personal theme song is: “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns
The technology that will most benefit cable over the next year is: APPS! With cable’s broadband connection, we give consumers choice and access to the content they want!
Favorite vacation spot: My whole family loves New York City. We can explore, explore, explore, and never get tired of it. (#2, the beach, any beach)
My typical breakfast is: Coffee. I only eat breakfast (usually) when I’m on the road for business.
My Starbucks order: Simple… “May I please have a medium, dark roast coffee?” Not “grande.” “Medium. No ice, no frills, no whipped cream, no sugar.” Candidly, I have no idea what any of the other drinks there are anyway. Just clueless.