Diversity Scorecard Coming From NAMIC, WICT

The latest scorecard on ethnic and gender diversity at companies in the cable industry is coming this week (Sept. 29) as a centerpiece of the industry’s annual Diversity Week.

Every two years, the Women in Cable Telecommunications PAR (Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities and Resources for Work/Life Integration) initiative and the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) effort do surveys at about two dozen cable-TV providers and programmers. Surveys for the upcoming report were conducted beginning in January.

The surveys released in 2013 found the percentage of women as full-time employees was 34%, down from 39% in 2003 when WICT began its PAR research. The NAMIC AIM research found people of color comprised 38% of the surveyed groups, up 5 percentage points from 2011 – but at the executive or senior level of manager or executive, the percentage had declined to 15% from 19%.

The report from surveys in 2013 noted that people of color were promoted less frequently, and had a higher turnover rate (or left companies) more often than white employees – but concluded that robust hiring, if it continued on the pace seen in 2012 (when the surveys were done), would keep overall minority employment levels at around 25% over the next five years. The new results may shed light on whether that proved true.

The research will be announced and debated at the joint town hall session with industry leaders including National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell; Gail Greenfield, PhD, principal, Mercer; Suzanne Malveaux, anchor, CNN;  David Cohen, executive vice president, Comcast; Pat Esser, president, Cox Communications; Mary Meduski, executive vice president & chief financial officer, Suddenlink; Stacy Green, executive vice president, Global Human Resources and Facilities, A+E Networks, and Paul Richardson, senior vice president, HR, ESPN, and chief diversity officer, The Walt Disney Co.

NAMIC’s 29th annual conference will continue throughout the day and into Wednesday, focusing on the continued growth and importance of diversity in an ever changing television industry, NAMIC president Eglon Simons told Multichannel News. Keynote speakers for the conference include legendary television producer Norman Lear; heralded filmmaker Spike Lee and New York Times best-selling author Eddie Huang.

"A sea change is occurring in our industry with the emergence of unscripted content, OTT, TV everywhere and other distribution alternatives,” Simons said. “We are pleased to present a cross-generational roster of diversity champions who are at the forefront of this change, with sessions that will inspire our members and all of the diversity champions in attendance to keep fighting for diversity and seeking opportunities to educate and adapt to evolving business models.”

Spanish language broadcaster Univision will be feted during The Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual fundraising dinner on Wednesday as the organization’s “Diversity Champion.” Kaitz Foundation executive director David Porter says the program will emphasize and encourage individual action to help further foster diversity within companies.

“If everyone takes one action to have a positive effect on diversity, that collectively will make all the difference in the world,” Porter said. “Whether it’s choosing someone to mentor or taking someone out to lunch that is new to the company and is different in some way from you, one action really does make a difference.”

Kicking off the week on Monday will be WICT’s Leadership Conference, which will feature a lineup of industry leaders and shakers from opening keynote speaker Hoda Kotb, of NBC’s Today, to closing session speakers TV One chairman Alfred Liggins; TLC personality Stacy London; Suddenlink chief programming officer Kathy Payne; HGTV host Egypt Sherrod and FBI agent Joe Navarro.

Filmmaker Leslye Headland will be the featured guest at WICT’s sold-out Touchstones Luncheon, which also honors Woman of the Year Ellen East (Time Warner Cable) and two Women to Watch, Bernadette Aulestia (HBO) and Rachel Welch (Time Warner Cable).

“Our goal for the WICT Leadership Conference and all Diversity Week activities—as always—is to educate and increase the pipeline of women leaders in the cable industry,” WICT CEO Maria Brennan said. “Given the anticipated audience and the superlative program our conference committee has put forward, we believe we will achieve that goal.”

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.