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.
- Comcast NBCUniversal
- Discovery, Inc.
- Disney & ESPN Media Networks
- Fox Networks Group
- CBS Corporation & Showtime Networks Inc.
- Mediacom Communications Corporation
- AccuWeather Network
- Ion Media
- MLB Network
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.
In WWII, Sidney Topol served as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps. It was a fitting role. The magnanimous Bostonian would go on to build the company Scientific-Atlanta Inc. into a technology powerhouse that almost single-handedly brought the cable industry into the satellite communications era. Topol, honored at the 1991 Kaitz Dinner, was a thoughtful leader in business and academia who cared deeply about his industry and his country – and the opportunities both provided.
Remember when? In 1991 Time Warner Cable wowed the world with plans to upgrade its Brooklyn/Queens, N.Y. cable system to accommodate a then-unheard of 150 channels. The move tipped off an explosion in channel capacities and capabilities as cable’s digital age began to unfold.
The 1992 Kaitz Dinner shined the spotlight on an extraordinary group of people: The Walter Kaitz Fellows. Since the 1983 inception of the organization’s Fellows program, more than 150 individuals began careers with companies involved in the exploding cable television industry. From marketing to operations to on-air technicians, the Kaitz Fellows made a deep imprint not only on the way their employers achieved objectives, but the human character of the industry itself.
Remember when? It was the press conference heard ‘round the world. When John Malone talked about a looming world of 500 TV channels in November 1992, he presaged a new age of media possibility made possible by the transformation to digital signal delivery.
Few figures in the modern cable era have etched a deeper imprint on the culture and public persona of the industry than Amos Hostetter, The Kaitz Dinner’s 1993 honoree. The founder and Chairman of Continental Cablevision distinguished himself by setting audaciously high standards – and surpassing them routinely. Hostetter’s determination to foster opportunity for all was exemplified by the Barr Foundation, a charitable giving organization Hostetter and his wife created to invest in human, natural and creative potential.
Remember when? In August of 1993, Continental Cablevision formed an alliance with a little-known computer networking company to test out a new idea: the possibility that cable television systems could be used to connect personal computers to the Internet. It was one of several trials that would lead to the revolution in digital communications known as “broadband.”
He was a Philadelphia kid with parents from Russia and Romania who joined Time Inc.’s HBO in 1970 after a decade in corporate law. From that point on, few individuals made a deeper impression on the media industry. Gerald Levin's faith in the twin pillars of technology and content led to bold initiatives in satellite-delivered television, interactive media and the pairing of Time with Warner Bros. Throughout, the longtime philanthropist has been dedicated to making the world a better place.
Remember when? In 1994, Time Warner Cable launched a 4,000-home trial deployment of interactive communications capability. The company’s Full Service Network would ignite interest and development in a range of advanced video and media services that live on today.
With a steady hand, John Goddard guided Viacom’s cable division to become one of the most respected U.S. cable companies over a 25-year career with the company. Goddard, named President and CEO of Viacom Cable in 1980, has been a longtime supporter of industry philanthropic causes through leadership positions with C-SPAN, The Walter Kaitz Foundation and the Cable in the Classroom initiative.
Remember when? The industry-backed “On Time Guarantee” program initiated by NCTA in 1995 reflected major improvements cable companies were making in cornerstone customer care practices and their corresponding impact on consumer perceptions of the industry at large.
He grew up in Hickory, Mississippi, the ninth of 10 children to a dad who was a farmer and a mom who taught school. Today, he remains an intrepid entrepreneur with vision and the drive to achieve it. Robert L. Johnson, the co-founder and former Chairman/CEO of BET, combines a keen instinct for business with a palpable love of people. His philanthropic work is prolific, including formation of the Liberia Enterprise Development Fund and support for the charitable organization Malaria No More.
Remember when? In 1996, the cable company Tele-Communications Inc. inaugurated a breakthrough video platform, Headend in the Sky, that solved essential issues tied to delivery of digital TV networks to non-metro markets.
It’s difficult to name an individual who had a more prolific influence on the modern-day telecommunications industry. The late James Robbins, who was President and CEO of Cox Communications from 1985-2005, was recognized for his willingness to invest in network quality and customer service as springboards to new businesses. His long record of philanthropic support typified an abiding “people-first” philosophy that made Robbins a revered industry figure.
Remember when? By the end of 1997, more than 10 million U.S. homes were connected to cable using digital systems that provoked a massive investment in new channels, on-screen display techniques and advanced services like video-on-demand.
In addition to building his company, Cablevision Systems Corp., into an innovation powerhouse, Charles “Chuck” Dolan left a deep imprint on the broader media industry with bold ideas that changed the world. He was the creator of a concept for movies-on-television that would become Home Box Office. He was an adept reader of the consumer market, able to assemble and advance creative packages of channels and services that delighted customers. And he developed compelling original programming through his Rainbow Programming and MSG Network investments. Throughout his career, the soft-spoken leader inspired others with a faith in human potential and deep philanthropic support for health, education and the arts.
Remember when? 1998 was a signature year for the then-nascent interactive television sector. Two pioneering, cable-bred newcomers, Worldgate Communications and Wink Communications, helped make the business case for entirely new video applications.
He was a revered industry figure with a ready smile, inspiring ethical standards and an instinct for making smart business decisions. Over a 50-year career, William “Bill” Bresnan contributed mightily to cable’s ascension as a media industry power to be reckoned with. Bresnan built and ran his first cable system (in Rochester, Minn.) at the age of 25. He would go on to become CEO of the nation’s then-largest cable company, TelePrompTer Corp. and its successor Group W Cable. Bresnan later built his own cable company, Bresnan Communications, into a prominent MSO before selling the company to Cablevision Systems Corp. The Cable Center’s Bresnan Ethics in Business award is named after Bresnan, whose lifelong commitment to integrity was a signature characteristic.
Remember when? In 1999, a technology specification called Packetcable made its market debut. The CableLabs-authored spec ushered in a new era of cable-delivered telephone services.
As the cable industry developed into urban and suburban America, companies like John Rigas’s Adelphia Communications Inc. played essential roles in building out distribution networks, pole by pole and amplifier by amplifier, to make cable television a near-ubiquitous force in the modern media mix. Rigas’s career would be marred by missteps years later, but by the early 2000s he had built his Pennsylvania-based company into one of the largest and most influential providers in the game while exuding a personal warmth and generosity that helped innumerable others build careers and thrive in life.
Remember when? In 2000, the NCTA and the Consumer Electronics Association came to an agreement on digital TV compatibility, setting the stage for easier integration of technologies that would become essential in a changing consumer device landscape.
The son of legendary Comcast co-founder Ralph Roberts took the helm at Comcast as President in 1990. Brian Roberts would go on to propel the Philadelphia company to astounding success as the nation’s largest cable company and as a pioneering force in programming, technology, operations and innovation. Roberts has been a tireless advocate all along for giving back to the communities Comcast serves, through major philanthropic programs and internal initiatives like Comcast Cares Day, when more than 100,000 employees volunteer for community service work.
Remember when? By 2002, cable’s high-speed Internet business was off and running, accounting for 64% of the world’s residential broadband connections. Ever since, cable has been the runaway leader in broadband, overtaking competitors to command a leadership position in a critical category.
He was a cable guy through and through. After serving as on the senior staff of the Carter Administration, Decker Anstrom moved to the cable industry as EVP and later CEO of the National Cable Telecommunications Association. He then transitioned seamlessly to the world of programming as President of Landmark Communications, then the owner/operator of the iconic cable brand The Weather Channel. Anstrom’s easygoing demeanor and ready smile were hallmarks of a human touch that extended to community and civic support, reflected by his deep and ongoing commitments to organizations devoted to environmental health and global communications.
Remember when? With competition rising and the market changing, the cable industry came together in 2003 to support a nationwide branding campaign called OnlyCableCan, highlighting the wide range of technologies, services and products that set the industry apart.
The son of Walter Kaitz, a Russian immigrant who believed intensely in the universal promise of the human experience, Spencer Kaitz grew up in and around some of the seminal figures of the cable industry. After succeeding his father as President of the California Cable Telecommunications Association, he rose to become a much-respected figure whose patience, resolve and respect for intelligent policy formulation left a deep imprint on industry colleagues and government leaders alike. His dedication to inclusion and diversity was made manifest by his creation of The Walter Kaitz Foundation, which he oversaw from its 1981 origin until it was bequeathed in 2003 to the NCTA.
Remember when? 2004 was a breakthrough year for the cable industry and the digital video recorder, as major cable companies made enormous strides to integrate DVR functionality into cable set-top boxes.