Co-Founder, and former President
2002 Cable Hall of Fame
We had prepared a map on which 526 pins located each of the nation’s cable systems. As we carried this six foot exhibit into the (Senate Communications Committee) hearing room, we brushed against the doorway and most of the country’s cable systems wound up on the floor…we scurried about the hearing room for a frantic half-hour picking pins off the floor in a mad scramble to resurrect the cable industry.
In 1963, Aaron was one of three founders of Comcast Corporation, which is today the nation’s largest cable operating company. Using his background in economics (he holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania) he handled all of Comcast’s acquisitions and operations and focused his energies on regulatory and legislative issues affecting the cable industry. He is credited with paving the way for the 1984 Cable Act.
A member of the Cable Television Pioneers, Aaron also served on the board of NCTA for nearly 20 years, served as NCTA’s chairman in 1977-78, and has received numerous industry awards, including the NCTA Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership in 1987.
In the early 1990’s Aaron created the Dan Aaron Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Dan Aaron passed away in February of 2003, at the age of 77 from long-term effects of Parkinson’s disease.
Former Chairman and CEO, Western Communications, 2002 Cable Hall of Fame
They (customers) thought literally it was a miracle that we could deliver eight channels. I remember we charged $5 a month, mainly because we didn't know what else to charge. As people would come in to pay their bills each month, they would lay that $5 down on the counter and they'd say, 'That's the best $5 I spend every month.'
Elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously, Allen began his career in the cable industry in 1958 as general manager of the cable system in Winona, MN, one of the first cable systems in the state. He became a well-known figure in the cable industry, building two of the nation's first broadband cable systems in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He served for 21 years as chairman and CEO of Western Communications, Inc. and is known in the cable industry for advocating on behalf of the cable customer and delivering excellent service in his cable systems.
Before entering the cable television industry, Allen served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II and attended St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota. Allen joined the staff of radio station KWNO in Winona in 1952 as a radio time salesman, Two years later, he was appointed General Manager of the station and held this position until 1958.
Allen was the founder and served as the first president of the North Central Cable Television Association, and served as chairman of both NCTA and C-SPAN. He received numerous industry awards and honors, including the California Cable Television Association Award in 1982, NCTA's President's Award in 1985 and 1992 and the Cable Television Business Magazine Executive of the Year Award in 1984 and 1990.
Chairman and CEO, CommScope, Inc., 2002 Cable Hall of Fame
I've got in my home a wooden pole, cut in a three-inch section, hanging in my room with a little plaque of the first legislation the cable industry ever got -- the pole attachment bill. That broke the cable industry open.
Frank M. Drendel has served as chairman and chief executive officer of North Carolina-based CommScope, Inc. since 1997, following the company's spin-off from General Instrument Corporation. Drendel served as president and chairman of CommScope, Inc. of North Carolina from 1986 to 1997 and chief executive officer of CommScope, Inc. of North Carolina since 1976.
Drendel served on the Board of Directors of General Instrument Corporation of Delaware, Inc. (a subsidiary of General Instrument Corporation), and its predecessors from 1987 to 1992 and was a director of General Instrument Corporation from 1992 until the company's spin-off in 1997 and from 1997 until its merger with Motorola in 2000.
In addition to serving as a director on Nextel's Board, Drendel is a member of the board of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA). An active member of several NCTA committees, Drendel has been a recipient of various NCTA awards including the Challenger Award, the Associates Award and the President's Award.
In 1999, Drendel was presented with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian award given by the state of North Carolina.
Drendel graduated in 1970 from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Marketing.
Co-Founder, Pennsylvania Cable Network, 2002 Cable Hall of Fame
One trick I got from John Walson. We used to wind our coils with some pretty crude stuff. He took a washing machine, the old wringer/dryers, and he put the wire in there and turned on the washing machine wringer. That's how we used to wrap the coils.
An early cable system builder, Joseph Gans became an active participant in the cable industry in Pennsylvania and was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Education Communications System. He attended the now legendary meeting at the Necho-Allen Hotel, in Pottsville, Penn., where the National Community Television Council, the forerunner of the NCTA, was created. He is one of the few cable operators who has remained active in the cable industry since then.
In 1974, he was also the co-founder of the Pennsylvania Cable Network that serves 2.5 million subscribers. Gans is a member of the Cable Television Pioneers, Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE), National Research and Development Committee and the National Copyrights Committee. He is past president of both the Pennsylvania Cable Television Association and the Society of Cable Television Engineers. He is a member and past director of NCTA and serves on the board of The Cable Center. Gans has been much honored by the cable industry as well as by many of the charitable causes he supports. A few of his many honors include NCTA's President Award in 1985, Pennsylvania Cable Television Association's Community Services Award in 1986 and the American Cancer Society's Excalibur Award in 1992. Last year, he shared the Pennsylvania Cable and Telecommunications Association's Cable Operator of the Year award with his wife, Irene.
President and CEO, Rogers Communications Inc., 2002 Cable Hall of Fame
I think the cable business and the broadcasting business are very much like what we're talking about, the band business. Finding needs, making people happy, making them laugh, entertaining them.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1933, Edward S. "Ted" Rogers has carried the Rogers' name into the new millennium with the same spirit of inventiveness and passion handed down from his father - one of the great and celebrated inventors of his time.
Even in his early teenage years, Ted Rogers was already demonstrating a strong entrepreneurial spirit: while studying at Upper Canada College Preparatory School in the early 50's, the young Rogers climbed onto the roof of his dormitory, constructed a primitive television antenna and aimed it towards Buffalo, NY. He then charged his classmates admission to come into his room and watch television.
In the 1960's during his employment with the Toronto law firm Torys LLP, Rogers first began Rogers Radio Broadcasting Limited, buying Canada's pioneer FM radio station - CHFI-FM - in Toronto. That division has expanded today to include 43 radio stations, an electronic home shopping channel, 2 multi-cultural television stations, ownership in 6 cable programming services, 21 consumer magazines and 45 trade and professional publications as well as ownership of two time baseball World Series winners The Toronto Blue Jays as well as their home stadium The Rogers Centre.
By the early 1970's, he had founded Rogers Cable TV Limited and spent the next decade expanding his company's capabilities and customer base. Through a series of acquisitions over the next decade, Rogers formed Canada's largest and most powerful cable telecommunications operations. Its hybrid fiber-coax network is ideally suited to delivering interactive products and services that require significant bandwidth, such as its high-speed Internet access service. Rogers Cable also owns and operates 274 Rogers Video stores.
In the mid-80's his company Rogers Wireless Communications Inc., entered the cellular phone business and today has more than 5.5 million wireless subscribers, is Canada's largest national wireless company and is the country's only carrier operating on the world standard GSM/GPRS technology platform.
Ted Rogers serves as a board member of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. and The Cable Center. Among his many leadership and civic awards are his Order of Canada Award in 1990, his induction into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998.
Chairman and CEO, UnitedGlobalCom, Inc., 2002 Cable Hall of Fame
We thought thirty-five channels was an unlimited, boundless number of channels and would never fill them all up. Of course, in a matter of a few years going on into the early 80's and a little later, it turned out that thirty-five really wasn’t enough.
Gene Schneider, together with his late brother, Richard, was an original partner with Bill Daniels in the company that built a cable system in Casper, Wyoming, in 1953. It was the first cable system in the country to use microwave to import broadcast signals from a distant city (in this case Denver). Schneider bought out Daniels in 1960 as well as other original investors and continued to expand the company. In 1966, GenCoE was formed with Ben Conroy, Jack Crosby, Glenn Flinn and others. In the late 60's, GenCoE merged with Livingston Oil Company (LVO) and in 1970, the cable company became independent through an IPO and was named LVO Cable; in 1974 it became United Cable Television Corporation (United).
In 1989, United was merged with United Artists to form what became the third largest cable operator in the industry. Also in 1989, United International Holdings, Inc. (now Liberty Global Inc) was formed to take over most of the overseas holdings of United Cable and Schneider became Founder, Chairman and/or CEO until June 2005. Liberty Global owns interests in broadband distribution and content companies operating outside the continental United States, principally in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, Liberty Global is the largest broadband cable operator outside the U.S. in terms of subscribers with nearly 15 million revenue generating units. Schneider continues as a board member and founder.
Schneider is a member of the Cable Television Pioneers, was a board member of NCTA for 20 years and is a member of the board of The Cable Center. He has also served on the board of directors for a number of charitable organizations.
Former SVP & GM, HBO-Atlanta, Co-Founder, CTAM, 2002 Cable Hall of Fame
I think that's one of the things that makes this industry truly great the camaraderie that it has. It's like no other that I've certainly come into contact with. Through those two organizations (CTAM and WICT) there have been bonds built between people that have served them very, very well in their business careers.
During 23 years as an executive with HBO, Sermersheim built and maintained a highly respected affiliate relations, sales and marketing team in the Southeast. She began in cable as Marketing Director for Telesis, a Midwestern MSO. Throughout her career on both the operating and programming side of cable, she has given extremely active service to numerous industry organizations and activities. She is credited with founding WICT and serving as its first president and was also a co-founder of CTAM. While serving for years an officer or director of both organizations, she was instrumental in developing many of their programs and activities. Sermersheim is widely recognized as a strong role model for women and a champion of cable television marketing.
Sermersheim is currently Secretary and a member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the Cable Center. She has received numerous industry awards during her career including the NCTA Vanguard Award in 1980, WICT's Woman of the Decade Award, the President's Award from CTAM in 1982 and it's One of a Kind Award in 1996. WICT has also honored her for her leadership and dedication to the organization by naming an award in her honor which recognizes past WICT national board members who have shown continued support and leadership to the organization, and by naming her it's 1999 Annual Gala Honoree.