Title: President/CEO, NCTA
Years in Cable: 3
Education: College of William & Mary; JD, Georgetown University Law Center
Title: President/CEO, American Cable Association
Years in Cable: 26
Education: BS, Journalism, West Virginia University (1982); J., Duquesne University School of Law (1986)
Best Advice: Stand Firm. Position Yourself. Face Your Battles! (2 Chron. 20:15-17)
These two well-respected policy wonks may steer their own separate ships and sail different courses, but they both serve cable’s interests—and they are both having a very busy 2014. Not only is a Communications Act rewrite in the works but there’s the update of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, a new open Internet proceeding and a little something called the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger review. Retransmission consent reform has made some real headway. That’s welcomed news for Polka, who has been fighting for change for more than a decade. It’s also notable for Powell, who took NCTA off the sidelines recently and said it’s time to look at updates to retrans. Both are viewed as inspirational leaders by their members—an attribute that’s especially important given the ongoing frictions between operators and programmers at NCTA and the never-ending need to stand up for the small guy at ACA.
I watch the majority of programming on this device: iPad
The biggest innovation in cable over the last year: Continued explosion of video over any device.
TV show I’d most like to have a cameo in: “Downton Abbey” (I’m hooked!)
John, Paul, George or Ringo? Paul, but Ringo is a close second.
Cable exec I’d most like to see twerking: On advice of counsel, I take the fifth.
Cable exec I’d least like to see twerking: That would be me. It would not be pretty.
I wish Congress would just… Shhh, they’re starting to do it…don’t distract them…retrans reform and a Comm Act update are no longer just a dream!
Frank Underwood or Nick Brody? I don’t know Nick Brody, so I say Frank Underwood, but I’d say him anyway. Everyone in D.C. secretly wishes they were like him. Things would move at least!
Twitter or Instagram? Twitter — @MATTatACA, although my daughters say they have no idea what I’m tweeting about!
My favorite newfound hobby: eBooks. I’m starting to really like it not carrying regular books on the planes.
One thing I would do all the time if I could: Take photographs. It’s like an obsession.
Favorite Cable Show memory: 2009 in D.C., poetically enough, when I became a Cable Pioneer. It is such an honor.
Justin Bieber or Miley? I’m proud to say not a darn one of them.
My ideal celebrity partner on Dancing with the Stars: Dana Delany. Wow.
Oscars or Grammys? Oscars. I’m Mr. Movie Buff.
Favorite Restaurant: Two or three tiny little places at home in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh that no one has ever heard about, which is just the way I like it – DeNunzio’s, Luciano’s and Rene’s.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with the three lovely red-heads in my family.
Beach or mountains? Beach, definitely.
Alec Baldwin… NY or LA? Always a New Yorker, a la Glengarry Glen Ross.
Who’s on deck for the next celebrity meltdown? It’s got to be a young guy, like a Zac Efron, or someone like that. But I do believe that the continuing, but sad, Bieber meltdown is far from over.
Who’s on tap for the next big comeback? Jan Tremelev??? …er…sorry…I meant John Travolta…ooops.
Desert island album: Electric Light Orchestra, Out of the Blue – I know it sounds weird, but ELO was the band of my youth. Pretty good musician too, that Jeff Lynne.
Favorite TV show as a kid: “Batman” with Adam West. We’d stop playing baseball to come in to watch the show then resume afterwards.
The last time I had a good laugh: Watching on YouTube, “Scenes From a Hat” from “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” I love that show, both the old and the new one!
Dish I can make and that would impress a celebrity chef: Sadly, none…L
My favorite business/motivational book: The Bible and Clutch by Paul Sullivan
The biggest innovation in cable over the last year is: Innovation itself. It’s unstoppable and so hard to keep up on, but so good for business and consumers.
If someone forced me to cut the cord and only watch 3 over-the-top shows, they would be: “Downton Abbey,” “House of Cards” and “Justified” – More than Frank Underwood, I’d rather be Raylan Givens. Now, he’s a bad @$$!