A veteran in the music and television industry, Baker oversees Centric, the 24-hour entertainment network targeting 25-54-year-old African Americans, but he also leads BET Event Productions, which produces numerous festivals throughout the world. What does he look for in job applicants? “Great energy, enthusiasm, organization, innovative thinking, humility and a smile,” he says, noting that cable needs to go outside subgroups and hire the most qualified candidates when filling positions. When it comes to branding, he believes in providing experiences. “We brought our BET brand to life off the screen with the BET Experience Festival in the Los Angeles metropolitan area,” he says.
What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?
Diversity is about open mindedness. We must be willing to go outside our race/sex or subgroup and include or hire the best person for the job/task/opportunity.
How can the cable industry do better at being inclusive?
Look at the market you serve (or would like to serve) and have people in your staff reflect that market or target group. We need to start using our own employees and colleagues as resources. In my experience, you can often find information, passion and innovative creativity in the person sitting next to you.
What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?
Bringing our BET brand to life off the screen with the BET Experience Festival in Los Angeles metropolitan area. We were excited to bring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, but the true honor came from implementing fun ways to engage the community in the BET brand.
Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?
Viacom’s Tom Dooley and Philippe Dauman are my strongest mentors. Their genuine interest in my professional and personal well-being is clear. Their advice is always spot on and their delivery is respectful.
What qualities do you look for when making a new hire?
There are so many things that I look for when making a new hire, including: great energy, enthusiasm, organization, innovative thinking humility and a smile. It’s also important they have a history of doing more than what’s required.
Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eye on.
Consumers want experiences – interactive mobile apps, social media integrated into broadcast, etc. So, an emerging trend in cable we should be focusing on is how to turn (reasonably priced) event content into portable content on multiple platforms.