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Cable Hall of Fame Comes Back for a Gala N.Y. Night

New York City
The Cable Hall of Fame gala will be held Sept. 15 in New York. (Image credit: iStock/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Six cable industry veterans are set to be recognized September 15 when The Cable Center’s 2022 Cable Hall of Fame returns as a live, red-carpet event at New York’s Ziegfeld Ballroom. 

It’s the first time the celebration will be staged in person since 2019, as the 2020-21 event was held virtually. 

The honorees profiled on the following pages were selected for their groundbreaking leadership and entrepreneurship. They include cable operators, technologists, programmers and public policy advocates. 

“Our 2022 Cable Hall of Fame class represents the ‘best of the best’ of our industry,” Michael Willner, chairman of The Cable Center board of directors and CEO of Penthera Partners, said. “We are also thrilled to welcome everyone back to the red carpet for our Cable Hall of Fame celebration this fall in New York.”

2022 Bresnan award winners Pat Esser and Bill Daniels

Patrick Esser (l.) and Bill Daniels (Image credit: The Cable Center)

The six new Hall of Famers will be honored alongside a pair of former cable executives — the late Bill Daniels and recently retired Cox Communications CEO Patrick Esser — as the 2021 and 2022 recipients, respectively, of the Bresnan Ethics in Business Award

Daniels, who died in 2000, was a pioneering cable operator who later became one of the industry’s most influential cable brokers, facilitating many industry-shaping deals. He was also an active philanthropist and a substantial donor to the University of Denver’s business school, now the Daniels College of Business. He spent his final years laying plans for the Daniels Fund, now one of the largest foundations in the Rocky Mountain region. 

Esser retired in 2021 after 15 years as CEO of Cox Communications and 42 years with the Atlanta-based operator. During his tenure as CEO, Cox earned many accolades for celebrating its diverse people, suppliers, communities, products and the characteristics that make each one unique.

The Bresnan Award recognizes the late William J. Bresnan, founder of Bresnan Communications and a longtime chairman of The Cable Center. 

“Bill and Pat’s commitment to the creation and growth of the cable industry, as well as their history of supporting innumerable philanthropic endeavors is truly inspirational,” The Cable Center president and CEO Diane Christman said in a press release. “We are delighted to honor them with the Bresnan Award.”

Once again, the honoree profiles were reported and written by Erica Stull for The Cable Center. For more on the Hall of Fame gala, go to cablehalloffame.com

Patrica Jo Boyers

(Image credit: The Cable Center)

Patricia Jo Boyers 
President/CEO & Co-Founder, Boycom Cablevision
Chairman of the Board of Directors, ACA Connects 

Patty Boyers has always been the kind of person who sees what needs to be done, and does it. Raised on a row-crop farm in Southeastern Missouri, she grew up accustomed to hard work and self-reliance. Her parents, she said, “knew how to do so much with so little, they could do anything with nothing at all.” She still uses her mother’s hoe and her father’s sharpening file in her large home garden. Boyers was studying journalism at the University of Missouri when her father fell ill, requiring multiple bypass surgeries. She returned home to the farm to help out.

Boyers was in love with a local plumber who “had big dreams about not being a plumber.” Steve Boyers had a small trencher and loved machinery — the bigger the better. The couple married and got into cable construction and custom road boring. They worked together — he as an equipment operator, she as a swamper and bookkeeper for Boyers Communications, contracting with telecom companies. 

In the early 1990s, the Boyerses decided they wanted cable TV at home. The nearest cable operator wasn’t interested in crossing a national forest and dealing with the U.S. Forestry Service, which would have been necessary to deliver service to their area. The couple counted up neighbors, figured there were enough to support a small operation and Boycom Cablevision was born. The process of obtaining that U.S. Forestry permit launched Boyers’s interest in the legislative process. “We learned real quick that you have to be politically active if you’re ever going to get a bureaucracy to do anything,” she said.

Boyers doesn’t see herself as a visionary entrepreneur, but as a practical one who turns big ideas into reality. “I have learned that the harder you work, the luckier you seem,” she said. 

Kevin Casey

(Image credit: The Cable Center)

Kevin Casey
President, Northeast Division
Comcast Cable 

Kevin Casey recalls the early days of the modern internet as “one of the most fun and entrepreneurial periods of my life.” Running engineering for Continental Cable at the time and representing the company with CableLabs, he was well-positioned to help nurture the commercial deployment of the internet as it moved beyond academia and the Department of Defense’s research agency. That work would help revolutionize an industry, and, Casey said, “our industry has changed the world.”

Today, as president of Comcast’s Northeast Division, Casey is at the forefront of broadband development, leading an operation serving millions of customers across 14 Northeastern states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The journey began in Long Island, New York. Casey had decided to become a U.S. Secret Service agent, inspired by a football coach who had served there. While in college, Casey got a summer job with the local cable company, climbing poles and running cable. “It gave me the bug,” he said. He later joined Cablevision Systems full-time to build one of the country’s first urban cable systems, in Boston.

He got a business science degree in electronic technology while also working and learning the cable industry. Cablevision led to Continental and then to MediaOne, where he moved into operations. He was executive VP of operations for AT&T Broadband before joining Comcast in 2002.

Chris Lammers

(Image credit: The Cable Center)

Chris Lammers 
COO Emeritus and Senior Executive Adviser
CableLabs 

Doctor, lawyer, CableLabs chief: Chris Lammers’s love of learning has led him to varied educational and career pursuits, culminating in 25 years with the industry’s innovation and research and development lab as chief operating officer.

Growing up in California’s San Fernando Valley, Lammers set his sights on medical school, but decided partway through his undergrad education that business was more appealing than a medical career. With a B.S. in psychology from Stanford University and extensive coursework in economics, he attended the University of Chicago’s JD-MBA program. “My objective was to use law school as the foundation for a career in business, gain experience across a number of different industries, find what I liked and what challenged me, and get into that business,” he said.   

Landing at law firm Cooper, White & Cooper in San Francisco, he became lead attorney for Western Communications, the cable division of the firm’s client, Chronicle Publishing Company. He was a junior partner at the law firm when Ed Allen, Western’s CEO, offered him a job. Lammers went on to become CEO.

He joined CableLabs as chief operating officer in 1997 — the year the organization introduced DOCSIS 1.0 and, with it, the dawn of the broadband revolution. Now “semi-retired”, he continues to handle special projects as COO emeritus, with primary focus on supporting SCTE and its integration into CableLabs.

Tina Perry

(Image credit: The Cable Center)

Tina Perry 
President
OWN TV Network & OTT Streaming 

Tina Perry was enthusiastic about the entertainment industry long before she knew it was a business she could be a part of. When she started college at Stanford, she said she had no idea how television was made; she just loved to consume it. 

Perry’s father owned Black barbershops in Oklahoma City, which inspired
her own entrepreneurial urge. She decided to pursue a career on the business side of entertainment and media. A mentor advised her that law school would be a good way to prepare. “Technically, the whole [entertainment] industry is a negotiation,” she was told. She attended law school at Harvard.

With no show business connections and college debt to pay off, Perry joined a
New York law firm immediately after graduation, working on IPOs and governance matters for corporate clients. She kept networking and educating herself on the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. 

Her patience was rewarded when she was hired to work in the legal department at VH1. She later transferred to MTV in Los Angeles.

Perry heard that Oprah Winfrey was hiring for a planned cable network, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. She joined OWN as VP of business and legal affairs in 2009. The network launched two years later. 

In 2019, Perry was named president of OWN, with responsibility for all operational and creative areas of the network, and now also oversees OWN’s digital division. 

John Porter

(Image credit: The Cable Center)

John Porter 
CEO
Telenet Group Holding 

A world traveler since childhood, John Porter has always had a spirit of adventure. His father was in advertising and moved the family to London in the early days of commercial television. Porter became interested in world history and geography as he grew up, and lived in the former Yugoslavia for two years before returning to the United States as a young adult.

After receiving a history degree from Kenyon College, Porter was living in New York with four roommates. Porter thought he saw potential in cable TV. He started knocking on cable company doors, and found a receptive ear at TelePrompTer, soon to become Group W Cable. His boss-to-be said, “if you speak Croatian, you’re smart enough to join our management development program.” 

He moved up quickly at Group W, Warner Cable and then Time Warner Cable. He was looking for an international opportunity when one arose to build a new cable company in Australia. He started AUSTAR, a Liberty Global company, and led it from 1995-2012, when it was acquired. Porter remembers the ’90s at AUSTAR as the most fun times of his career. 

In 2013, Porter became CEO of Telenet, Belgium’s leading telecom and entertainment provider. Under his leadership, Telenet has diversified its portfolio, built the largest 1 Gigabit-per-second broadband network in Europe, made moves in entertainment and is generally seen as a trailblazer in European telecom and entertainment. 

Michael Powell

(Image credit: The Cable Center)

The Hon. Michael K. Powell 
President & CEO, NCTA–The Internet & Television Association
Former Chairman, FCC

Michael Powell’s path toward positions at the top of the U.S. communications landscape led from Vietnam, where he was born while his father, future Secretary of State Colin Powell, was serving there. Powell grew up in the military and attended William & Mary on an ROTC scholarship. At 24, while on a training mission with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany, a catastrophic jeep accident set him in a new direction away from a planned military career.

Powell went to work at the Department of Defense, and to law school at Georgetown. He served as a clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and at a private law firm, and then joined the Department of Justice as chief of staff with the Antitrust Division.

He had a long-standing fascination with communications technology, and in 1997 President Bill Clinton nominated Powell for an open seat on the Federal Communications Commission. In 2001, President George W. Bush named him chairman.

At the FCC, Powell developed a special appreciation for the cable industry. Five years after he left the commission, NCTA approached him with its top job. As its leading spokesperson, Powell said, “There’s a great deal of integrity, a sense of history, and pragmatism in the industry that allows us to represent members in an honest, forthright way. … They’re also shockingly innovative.” ▪️