Chaffin Leaves BET

Longtime Black Entertainment Television affiliate-sales executive Lee Chaffin is leaving the company next month to pursue other interests.

A 14-year BET veteran, Chaffin has served as senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing since 1999.

Over the years, he has provided strategic direction to a network of national and regional sales personnel, enabling them to meet system-distribution targets, individual subscriber goals and revenue forecasts, the network said.

"Distribution agreements with cable systems are the lifeblood of programmers like BET, and it’s the leadership of Lee and his team that has led to our network reaching an all-time distribution high of 78 million homes," BET president and chief operating officer Debra Lee said in a prepared statement.

"We are very grateful to Lee for his years of excellent service to BET and the cable industry, and we wish him well as he crafts a new chapter in his professional life," she added.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.