New York Marriott Marquis
New York, NY 10036
Business Attire Recommended
Pre-Dinner Reception – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner & Ceremony – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Post- Dinner Reception – 9:00 – 10:30 p.m.
The New York Marriott Marquis is the host hotel for all official Diversity Week events. Whether you’re attending one event during Diversity Week or multiple events and need accommodations, you can make a reservation through the Diversity Week room block.
Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis under the group code “Diversity Week”. Please use the provided link or call 1-877-303-0104.
Diversity through the Decades
By the time he was recognized as the first-ever Kaitz Dinner honoree, Thomas Wheeler had represented a growing cable industry in Washington D.C. as President of the National Cable Television Association. He was also the President and CEO of NABU Network, and served on advisory boards of organizations including the Capitol Children’s Museum and Westmoreland Children’s Center. Wheeler’s recognition ignited a 35-year progression in which industry figures with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and betterment received deserved honors.
Remember when? In 1984, the irrepressible cable programming wunderkind Ted Turner launched his answer to MTV. The Cable Music Channel was short-lived, but wound up influencing the development of MTV’s sibling VH1. Turner would go on to create enduring entertainment channels including Turner Classic Movies and TNT.
The irrepressible Betsy Magness worked side-by-side with her husband Bob to build the family’s first cable system, in Memphis, Texas in 1956. The Magness family would go on to astounding achievements in the cable industry, signified by the creation of the industry giant Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI). The former TCI President and CEO John Malone saluted Betsy Magness at the second Kaitz Dinner as an influential figure in the industry, and an unyielding champion of opportunity for all.
Remember when? Alarmed at the proliferation of C-band satellite dishes in American backyards, in 1985 HBO began preparing to scramble its satellite signal, setting off a wave of like-minded efforts to protect cable’s intellectual property and usher in a new era of programming investment.
He was a consummate dealmaker with a huge heart, a trusted advisor, a rough-hewed American legend. Bill Daniels, the Chairman of Daniels & Associates and a founder of the Walter Kaitz Foundation, was recognized as the Kaitz Dinner’s honoree in 1986 in recognition not just of his innumerable business achievements but for his remarkable record as a humanitarian – and as a friend to many.
Remember when? In 1986, a mid-sized but growing cable company called Comcast doubled in size by adding 1.2 million cable customers with the purchase of 26 percent interest in Westinghouse Broadcasting’s Group W Cable. Today Comcast is the largest U.S. cable company.
Beyond his astonishing impact on the television and media businesses, beyond his accomplishments as the America’s Cup-winning yachtsman known as “Captain Courageous,” R.E. “Ted” Turner was known in the cable industry as a steadfast believer in human potential and the importance of opportunity for all. His recognition as the Kaitz Dinner honoree of 1987 came two years after Turner founded the Better World Society, dedicated to improving understanding of environmental stewardship.
Remember when? An inflection point on the U.S. television scene occurred in 1987 when cable television penetration surpassed 50 percent of U.S. homes. For an industry that had survived epic challenges from broadcast television and telephone companies, it was a remarkable achievement.
He was a refugee from Nazi Germany whose improbable tale was the stuff of industry legend. The late Ralph Baruch, who was honored at the 1988 Kaitz Dinner, emigrated to the U.S. in 1940, taking on a succession of jobs in radio and television sales before becoming a vice president for CBS’s cable TV and syndication division. When an FCC rulemaking forced CBS to spin off the unit, Baruch was named to run the new enterprise. He would go on to transform Viacom to a media powerhouse, with extensive cable operations and programming holdings. Baruch exemplified the values of opportunity and perseverance that continue to undergird the mission of the Walter Kaitz Foundation.
Remember when? In May 1988, the cable industry-backed research and development agency Cable Television Laboratories was incorporated, with a mission of helping its operator-members devise critical technology solutions. CableLabs would go on to develop groundbreaking technologies including the DOCSIS specifications for high-speed Internet delivery, ushering in the broadband age.
J. Richard Munro, the 1989 Kaitz Dinner honoree, began his media industry career in the circulation department of the publisher Time Inc. and never looked back. Named Chairman and CEO of Time in 1987, he orchestrated a seminal transaction – the merger of Time and Warner Communications, creating a company that would help set the cable industry agenda for years to come. His contributions to non-profit organizations including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation were extensive – as was his commitment to social equality and education opportunities over a lifetime.
Remember when? The world was on the verge of adopting a new global standard for high-resolution television by 1989 when a cable industry movement led by longtime executive John Sie convinced standards-setters to reconsider their commitment to Japan’s MUSE system. The result: a new, efficient digital video standard that ushered in a new era of television everywhere.
He was a Philadelphia belt salesman who caught a glimpse of possibility in cable television – and changed the world. The 1989 Kaitz Dinner honoree Ralph Roberts parlayed the 1963 purchase of a small cable system in Tupelo, Miss., into Comcast, the largest cable company in the nation. Throughout the odyssey the affable, soft-spoken Roberts was revered for his business grace and unwavering commitment to equal opportunity across his company and his country.
Remember when? The pay-cable programming environment shifted in 1990 when an offshoot of Tele-Communications Inc. launched Encore, a new movie-centric premium service that initially was sold for $1 per month to subscribers. Encore would go on to be the foundation for Starz Media, the Lionsgate-owned premium service that remains a force in the market today.
- Comcast NBCUniversal