Michael Powell: Keep Diversity Pipeline Filled

The cable industry has to maintain a steady pipeline of qualified people of color to ensure increased diversity within the employment ranks of cable companies, according to NCTA CEO Michael Powell.

Powell, speaking at the opening panel at the NAMIC Conference Tuesday, said overall the industry is outperforming most other industries when it comes to its diversity efforts. He added to remain vigilant, the industry needs to keep an eye on its diversity employment numbers and be prepared to react to any dips that may occur within those numbers, particularly among middle and upper management positions.

“If you want to smooth those dips you have to groom a steady pipeline of men and women to be ready when the opportunities come,” he said.

Powell, who was interviewed by NAMIC President Eglon Simons during the session, also said the industry remains a leader in communications technology, particularly with regard providing high speed internet access. As the industry continues to provide quality service to its consumers, he warned cable will face distractors who will look to slow cable’s progress.

“We are the builders of that platform and infrastructure both as a source of pride and opportunity,” Powell said. “But it also raises anxiety in public policy circles. We’re being punished intuitively because of our success. The faster we get the more we lead … we will in the next five years be unequivocally seen as the single great provider of the fastest internet speeds in the country. We’re proud of that, but at the same time we’ll be identified as a gatekeeper and a monopolist, and you see that happening now.”    

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.