At Memorial Service, Britt Is Remembered As Mentor, Friend

About 800 friends and colleagues packed the LeFrak Theater at New York’s American Museum of Natural History June 25 to pay tribute to Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt. Britt, 65, died June 18 after a battle with melanoma. And though a who’s-who list of top media executives attended — from Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, to Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge, to NCTA president and CEO Michael Powell — the most lasting impression was made by Britt’s wife of 38 years, Barbara.

Many industry friends offered kind remembrances. Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus, who took the reins after Britt retired this past Dec. 31, spoke of his mentor’s intellectual curiosity and how much he had learned from his friend about living a full life. Marcus was followed by former Time Warner Inc. co-CEO and current Time Warner Cable director Nick Nicholas, who spoke of working alongside Britt for almost 40 years. Manhattan Theatre Club executive producer Barry Grove added that Britt helped save the non-profit after the financial crisis of 2008-09 by suggesting it do PSAs on television after it lost one of its major underwriters.

Personal tributes were offered by long-time friend and former Advance/ Newhouse Communications CEO Bob Miron and former Time Warner Cable EVP of investments David O’Hayre, one of Britt’s best friends, who ended his talk simply: “Glenn, your buddy misses you.”

But by far the most poignant comments came when Barbara Britt took the podium and told of their 38 years together. The avid travelers — the Britts have a home in Hawaii and took trips throughout Europe and beyond — shared many adventures over the years and planned for many more as they grew old together . “That wasn’t meant to be,” she said.

Britt was diagnosed with melanoma a few months before his retirement. Barbara Britt’s advice to those in attendance: Take that trip you always wanted to take, have that adventure and seize the day; there may not be another.

The service concluded with an audio recording of Britt’s niece, Grace Little, performing the traditional Hawaiian song “Aloha Oe,” which ends with the words, “Until we meet again.”

For RFD-TV, the AT&T/DirecTV Deal Is No ‘Hee-Haw’-ing Matter

All-American Cowgirl Chicks. National Tractor Pulling. Best of America by Horseback. In a cable world of rampant homogenization of programming, these shows — and many more — are decidedly country, and part of the territory of RFD-TV, a network finding itself, perhaps surprisingly, in the middle of a Washington merger battle.

The rural-targeted network has been richly cited on the Federal Communications Comission’s docket on the proposed AT&T/DirecTV deal. Comcast dropped RFD-TV from some systems last August, reasoning that it was a more urban-clustered company, and AT&T does not carry it at all — both sore spots with RFD and with some legislators.

At last week’s AT&T/DirecTV hearing, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) tried to make sure the combined company would carry it. Direc TV president Mike White joked that he would convince AT&T president Randall Stephenson of its value.

The joke was lost on RFD, which placed a tool to let fans contact the FCC about these carriage issues prominently on its site.

A spot check of the newly opened FCC docket found that the vast majority of commenters may indeed be fans of Cumberland Highlanders and The Marty Stuart Show. “Please do not let the merger … go through if it means they will drop RFD-TV,” one read. “RFD-TV carries wholesome programing that we watch without having to censor things when the grandchildren are here.”

—John Eggerton