NCC’s Olson to Retire

Tom Olson will end a five-year run leading National Cable Communications at year-end, when he will retire as the ad rep's CEO.

Olson, 55 -- who joined NCC in January 1999 after a 23-year career with broadcast rep Katz Media Group -- will be succeeded by chief operating officer Greg Schaefer. The board of directors for NCC -- owned by Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications Inc. -- has appointed Schaefer, 50, president, effective Jan. 1.

Under Olson’s leadership, NCC said, it has registered dramatic rises in revenues, with sales increasing at an annual average clip of 30% between 1998 and the current year. During that span, the rep firm added, the medium’s share of national spot spending has nearly doubled.

Much of those gains can be attributed to the rapid rise of interconnects, as advertisers can now purchase ads across 73 of the nation’s top 100 markets, up from 10 in January 2000. NCC estimated that 95 of the top 100 markets will be interconnected by the end of next year.

In addition, Olson has championed the use of electronics to simplify the buying procedure. Launched late in 2001, NCC’s "eBusiness" application allows agencies to transact their spot-cable business online. At this juncture, NCC processes 96% of its orders electronically.

"NCC has been a marvelous experience," Olson said in a prepared statement. "With the trust and support of owner MSOs Comcast, Cox and Time Warner, along with a strong affiliate base, I was given the opportunity to build a team that is the envy of our competitors."

He added, "But I'm more excited about the future of NCC and spot cable than I was five years ago. As the media world continues its rapid evolution, cable is the medium best positioned to prosper from the continuing audience migration to cable, and new technologies will bring advertisers even closer to their consumers. Under Greg Schaefer's leadership, NCC will continue to set the standard."

Schaefer joined NCC last November following more than 25 years of management experience in broadcast advertising sales on the station front, as well as the representation side. He currently oversees NCC's spot-sales division, as well as its technology and operations divisions.

Schaefer was previously with CBS in New York, where he spent seven years in a variety of capacities, most recently as vice president and station manager of WCBS-TV. Before that, he was president of Viacom Station Sales, where he oversaw the sales and marketing efforts of 35 owned-and-operated stations.