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Comcast Hires More Adlink Execs

Comcast Corp.'s cable ad-sales operation seems to be transforming into "Adlink East." MSO president of ad sales Charlie Thurston — who had been president and CEO of Los Angeles interconnect Adlink until earlier this year — has evidently hired two more executives from his former team at that interconnect.

That was the buzz at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Local Cable Sales Management Conference last week in Salt Lake City, where executives said Hank Oster and Paul Woidke were the latest Adlink defections.

A Comcast spokeswoman said last Thursday that Oster will join Comcast as a New York-based senior vice president and managing director of sales, but could not confirm whether Woidke is also coming on board.

Earlier this month, Comcast said it would operate its ad-sales unit from New York, to be closer to media buyers. That announcement was made in conjunction with the hiring of former Adlink senior vice president of marketing and communications Vicki Lins.

When Oster, Adlink's former executive vice president and general manager, quit last March, there was considerable speculation that he would reunite with Thurston.

Woidke was promoted to senior vice president and chief technology officer for the interconnect in 2000, after serving as its vice president and director of operations.

His expertise would come in handy as Comcast aims to increase the number of its major-market interconnects, currently at 16. That total figures to grow should Comcast consummate its merger with AT&T Broadband.

Although Adlink's talent base continues to shrink, most cable-industry sources offered a positive interpretation: New president Bob McCauley will be able to bring in his own executive team. He may well have sent out feelers to MSO and interconnect sales executives during his stay in Salt Lake City.