NCTA’s annual Vanguard Awards are given to cable and telecommunications leaders who demonstrate outstanding accomplishments in both business and in the commitment to their peers that are worthy of recognition from the industry. We spoke with honoree Kathy Zachem, Senior Vice President, Regulatory and State Legislative Affairs, Comcast Corporation, on receiving this year’s Vanguard for Government & Community Relations. She and the other award recipients will receive their awards at a ceremony during the INTX: The Internet & Television Expo on May 18 in Boston.

What does receiving this award mean to you?

Receiving the Vanguard Award for Government and Community Relations is quite an honor not only because it is given by our industry, but because I join a group of industry advocates which I hold in the highest regard, and none in that group more so than my fellow Comcast recipients–David Cohen, D’Arcy Rudnay, Joe Waz and Sheila Willard. While they have different styles, they each take on public advocacy in an ethical, intelligent and thoughtful manner, following a great deal of real, “roll-up the sleeves” hard work. I have learned a great deal from them and so many others in the industry who advocate on a daily basis and I am proud to be part of that group.

What does the future of TV look like?

The future of TV looks so very exciting. Choices galore–whether it is the number of networks available on our systems, increased on demand platforms, content-on-the-go, new offerings focused on the next generation of viewers, state-of-the-art platforms–the list goes on and on and changes daily. “TV” is defined very differently now than it was even 5 years ago–it includes the TV in the family room, the laptop on the couch, the phone-on-the-go, and the watch on the wrist, and the exciting part is it will continue to evolve in ways we haven’t envisioned.

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry in 2016?

While regulatory issues should not in my view be front burner concerns for our companies, we find ourselves in that very situation. It will be important for all in the industry to focus on some of the more pressing regulatory issues–DSTAC/Set Top boxes, Privacy and other key issues–and do all that is needed to ensure that policymakers pause to carefully consider the facts, the marketplace developments and the law before regulating.

What’s your favorite Cable Show/INTX memory?

Without a doubt my favorite memory was walking to the edge of the exhibit floor in Chicago and seeing the Cable Show’s first rendition of Imagine Park–I think it was called “The Park” back then. The park-like setting was clearly a unique setting that drew people’s attention but it was the continuous demonstrations and discussions centering on innovation in the cable industry that was the home run. It still continues to this day and is my favorite part of the show but it was that first time in Chicago that sticks with me.

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