Editorial: Who Shall Lead?

RELATED: Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Class of 2009

Our annual Hall of Fame celebration is a time of great pride, not only for our brand but for the television and content delivery business as a whole. Every fall for nearly 20 years, Broadcasting & Cable has taken a pause to honor and celebrate an elite group of thought-leaders and difference-makers who have led the charge in this constantly evolving business we all love. 

This year on Oct. 20, as we fete our star-studded class of 2009 at a gala at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, that is no different. In Richard Beaven, LindaBell Blue, Patrick Esser, Jorge Ramos, Abbe Raven, Johnathan Rodgers, Bob Ross, Jack Sander, David Verklin, Tony Vinciquerra and Jeff Zucker, this year we bring to the forefront a cadre of industry stars who have made great wavesin the often-rough seas of the media business.

One day later, we will continue the parade of industry bigs, as we holdour 2009 OnScreen Media Summit in Manhattan's Edison Ballroom. News Corp.'s Chase Carey, Warner Bros.' Barry Meyer and GroupM's Rino Scanzoni are just a few of the heavy hitters who will come together to speak about where the business is going in 2010 and beyond.

Less than a month later on Nov. 17, at a breakfast event in Los Angeles, we will present NBC's Marc Graboff, Warner Bros.' Bruce Rosenblum, CBS' Nancy Tellem, and producer and WGA West president John Wells to discuss how viable free online streaming is, and what other issues will drive the TV world's business models.

You'll have to excuse us for the Hollywood-like rash of name-dropping and event self-promotion, but we do so with a purpose. Honestly. And it is simply this: The business is holding out for some heroes.

It could be argued that there has never been a more challenging time in the content delivery business. It could also be argued that there has never been a time of greater opportunity for those with the brains—and brawn—to capitalize.

And while another run of consolidation may be about to hit the media business as the credit markets unlock and the ad market shows some signs of optimism, the future will not be about companies; it will be about people. Specifically, leaders.

Managing a company to maximize profitability during boom times is no easy task, a talent that rightfully goes well-rewarded. But leading an entity out of the fire when times are tough is the mark of a true star. And as a media business, we need our stars to shine brightest now more than ever.

We are faced with business models crumbling before our eyes. From the network television model under fire to the journalism business under siege across the board like never before, evolving technologies and the country's economic collapse have left the industry in a shambles in many ways.

And now, as we hope the worst is behind us, it is up to our industry leaders to pick themselves—and their companies—up by the proverbial bootstraps and get us out of this mess. By doing so, they will carry an entire industry along with them.

Things will never go back to the way they were before; that much is certain. Content delivery is changing almost daily. So the leaders who are willing to abandon all inertia—certainly no easy task when the old way of doing things bequeathed many years of sunshine—will emerge victorious in this new-media world order.

This week in New York and next month in Los Angeles, we are proud to assemble a veritable who's who of the business. And we are listening. And hoping.