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Goodbye, Cablevision

Last Tuesday (June 22), the Cablevision signs were covered or removed. Those removed were replaced with signs of the new ownership. After decades, Cablevision became Altice USA.

Cablevision Systems, whose brand once seemed to be everywhere, is now beginning to disappear. I noticed the changing of the signs, and that digital advertising proclaimed that “Cablevision is now Altice USA.” It’s a subtle change. My neighbors in Northport, N.Y., at first didn’t realize that Cablevision had new owners, or that the name had changed. Once I mentioned this, they remarked that they could never remember a time when there was no Cablevision. No Cablevision?

What seemed a simple rebranding procedure had the biggest impact on those of us who had once worked for this company. The ranks of “former” Cablevision employees grew on Tuesday, when many became new members of Altice USA, and simultaneously became Cablevision “formers.” From now on, there would no longer be any Cablevision employee. I would not have foreseen this.

In a Facebook post, one of my fellow “former” colleagues likened this change of signage to the historic lowering of the Union Jack over Hong Kong when the British colony became part of modern-day China. This prompted others on Facebook to share how sad it was to see the brand disappear.

There have been many similar examples in the cable TV industry. Yet, I believe that Cablevision’s situation is unique in its impact, especially among those of us who spent some, or all, of our career there.

Cablevision was more than a company. It was a place of personal growth, professional development, a lot of fun, and a contribution to the community. Its employees, in tandem with the company’s outreach service programs, made a remarkable impact in the communities they served, especially on Long Island, where the company was headquartered.

Other “formers” commented on Facebook that Cablevision is where we “got our start” in business, or “grew up” or developed “lifelong friendships and business relationships.” Many of those who “got their start” at the company have since gone on to have successful careers and become leaders in the industry.

My own pride in being a Cablevision “former” stems from the kind of company it was. It was a team of dedicated, loyal co-workers and managers, who operated more as a family, led by the gracious encouragement of the Dolans. This team did great things together, had great fun together and built a great legacy together.

I know all the “formers” wish Altice USA the best in the future, as we also look back fondly on what was the great Cablevision era. Goodbye Cablevision. And, thank you.

Joe Schramm, managing partner of New York-based Schramm Marketing Group, was a Cablevision employee from 1979 to 1988.