Bonnie Hammer and James Dolan Top List of NCTA's 2010 Vanguard Winners

Nine Cable Industry Leaders to be Honored at The Cable Show 2010

Mar 25, 2010, 13:42 ET from The Cable Show 2010

WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Bonnie Hammer, President, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions, and James L. Dolan, President and CEO, Cablevision Systems Corporation and Executive Chairman, Madison Square Garden, are the 2010 recipients of the cable industry's top honor, the Vanguard Award for "Distinguished Leadership," the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said today.  

Dolan and Hammer top the list of nine Vanguard Award winners who will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the cable industry.  The 2010 Vanguard Awards will be presented on Thursday, May 13, 2010, at a luncheon and awards ceremony during The Cable Show 2010, NCTA's 59th Annual Convention & International Exposition, May 11-13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Inaugurated in 1965, the Vanguard Awards are presented annually to individuals who excel in both business and personal commitment to their colleagues, and whose accomplishments merit the recognition of the entire cable industry.  

The Vanguard Awards will be presented by Johnathan Rogers, Chair of the NCTA Vanguard Awards Committee, and President and CEO, TV One.

A complete list of 2010 Vanguard Award honorees, along with a description of each award, follows.

Distinguished Leadership

Each year, two awards are presented, one to a man and one to a woman, who have consistently demonstrated the highest level of cable industry leadership. This year's recipients are:

Bonnie Hammer, President, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions.  Throughout her career, Hammer has proven herself to be one of the cable industry's most successful programming executives, now overseeing the most profitable division of NBC Universal.  Under Hammer's oversight, USA Network constantly delivers the biggest audiences in cable – led by a remarkable string of top-rated Emmy and Golden Globe-honored original hits.  Hammer has also turned SyFy into an industry leader in quality original programming and a global brand, extending the network's reach to over 60 territories worldwide.  Hammer spearheaded USA's "Erase the Hate" campaign – which earned a National Emmy Governor's Award – and led to USA's groundbreaking "Characters Welcome" branding initiative.  In 2008, Hammer was the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's Entertainment Industry Award, and is now on the ADL's National Entertainment Advisory Council.  Among many other honors, Hammer is the a former recipient of NATPE's Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award and has been inducted into Broadcasting & Cable's Hall of Fame.

James L. Dolan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cablevision Systems Corporation and Executive Chairman, Madison Square Garden.  A true veteran of the cable industry, Mr. Dolan literally grew up immersed in the cable industry – working at Cablevision from a young age and in all facets of the business.  Mr. Dolan was named Cablevision President and CEO in 1995, after serving previously as Rainbow Media's chief executive.  His proven leadership has resulted in a significant record of achievement that includes the creation of a groundbreaking suite of Optimum-branded digital services that boast industry-leading penetration rates in one of the most competitive markets in the nation.  During his 15-year tenure, Mr. Dolan has overseen the consolidation of Cablevision's cable system properties to concentrate solely on the New York metropolitan area, while leading the company's acquisition and development of unique entertainment properties.  These include Rainbow Media's popular national networks – AMC, IFC, WE tv and Sundance Channel.  Mr. Dolan has also led the expansion of the Madison Square Garden properties, which today operate as a standalone company that he continues to oversee.  Those assets consist of the arena complex; professional sports teams, the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty; sports and entertainment networks MSG, MSG Plus and Fuse; and performance venues such as The Chicago Theatre, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre.  

Young Leadership

The growth of cable is in large part due to the energy, vitality and creativity of the many young people working within the industry, and the Young Leadership Award recognizes those individuals who have already made a mark on the industry and its constituents.  This year's honoree is:

Peter Stern, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Time Warner Cable.  Stern is responsible for developing strategies critical to Time Warner Cable's long-term growth, including assessment, analysis and planning, new produce ideas and adopting new initiatives into the company's overall strategic plan.  Stern has also made significant contributions to the cable industry as an active participant in several CableLabs initiatives, including serving as co-chair of the Broadband Business Committee, playing a key role in the industry's IP video distribution plans, and helping set technical standards for "TV Everywhere."  Among many other industry commitments, Stern serves on the board and the executive committee of the Cable Center and chairs its programs committee.


Cable's creative programming services make the industry a leader in the home entertainment and news and information business.  This award recognizes innovation, leadership and individual achievement of NCTA's programmer members.  This year's honoree is:

Josh Sapan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rainbow Media Holdings.  Through strong leadership and business acumen, Sapan is credited with building Rainbow Media into the respected programming powerhouse it is today – recently selected by Fast Company as the only cable programming group to be included in the "Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Film and Television."  Rainbow's impressive portfolio, including AMC, WE tv, IFC and the Sundance Channel were developed and nurtured under Sapan's guidance.  Most recently, Sapan is credited as the architect behind Rainbow's original, scripted programming strategy, which resulted in a number of popular, award-winning series including AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" – among others.

Science & Technology

This award honors individuals who have played a significant role in product improvement as well as in the design and development of engineering techniques.  This year's honoree is:

Marwan Fawaz, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Charter Communications, Inc.  A seasoned technology expert with over two decades of experience in the cable industry, Fawaz joined Charter four years ago.  His impact with the company was immediate, as he implemented strategies to reclaim valuable bandwidth to enable the operator to offer HD and expand its video-on-demand library.  Under Fawaz's leadership, Charter continues to expand its network and technology platform while supporting the rollout of new services – enabling the launch of DOCSIS 3.0 and Switched Digital Video in several markets – as well as enhancing Charter's high-speed Internet offering.   In addition to his long-time activities supporting a number of industry and professional associations, Fawaz was named the 2008 "Mentor of the Year," by the Rocky Mountain chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications.

Cable Operations Management

This award recognizes the efforts of cable's system managers, who work under intensely competitive conditions in today's dynamic telecommunications environment, and are critical to the cable industry's success at the local level. This year's recipient is:

Cathy Avgiris, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Communication and Data Services, Comcast Corporation.  As the person behind Comcast Digital Voice®, Avgiris is credited with propelling the company's legacy circuit-switched phone business (inherited from AT&T Broadband) into the nation's third-largest residential phone service provider, with over 7.6 million customers.   More than simply an astute operational leader, Avgiris has led the reinvention of traditional phone and wireless services, with the introduction of converged products like Comcast High-Speed 2go wireless data service and SmartZone Communications Center.  Avgiris is actively engaged in mentoring women, both within and outside of Comcast and currently participates on the Board of WE tv's Advisory Council – WE Empowers Women.  Named one of the "Top 15 Women in Business" by PINK Magazine, she has been honored with WICT's Liberty Award and as one of CableWorld's "Most Powerful Women in Cable" and Multichannel News' "Wonder Women."

Government & Community Relations

This award recognizes individuals who have had a significant impact on promoting a positive public image and advocating public policy positions for the cable industry at the national, state and/or local levels.  This year's honoree is:

Alexandra (Sandy) Wilson, Vice President, Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Cox Enterprises, Inc.  A member of the Cox team since 1994, Wilson is head of the company's Washington DC Public Policy Office.  In her role, Wilson is responsible for developing and implementing public policy strategies for Cox businesses and representing the company before the federal government.  Prior to Cox, Wilson served as Chief of the Cable Services Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission, where she oversaw implementation of the 1992 Cable Act.  Wilson has been an active member of the Federal Communications Bar Association since 1984, and has served in many of the organization's leadership positions, including as President in 2004.


This award honors an individual who has been instrumental in the development of marketing approaches that significantly enhance cable's public image and increase customers.  This year's honoree is:

David Zagin, Executive Vice President, Distribution, A&E Television Networks.  A veteran of over 20 years in the cable industry, Zagin oversees all affiliate sales revenue and distribution for AETN's 10 U.S. cable networks.  In addition, he is responsible for AETN's new media and business development for Video On Demand, broadband, interactivity, gaming and mobile distribution.  Since joining AETN in 1999, Zagin has spearheaded the distribution and growth of the company's domestic cable networks – and under his leadership, A&E and The History Channel now reach more than 95 million households.  Zagin serves on the AETN executive operating committee as well as the boards of CTAM and WICT.

Associates & Affiliates

This award recognizes the important contributions of equipment manufacturers and service suppliers to cable industry innovation, growth and progress. This year's honoree is:

Howard Symons, Partner, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.  Symons chairs the venerable law firm's Communications practice, and is a 30-year telecommunications industry veteran, which includes service as Senior Counsel to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications in the U.S. House of Representatives during the formulation of landmark telecommunications policies.   As a subsequent representative of cable industry interests before Congress, regulatory bodies and the courts, Symons has been an invaluable asset to NCTA and the entire telecommunications industry.

Attending the Awards Ceremony

Reservations are required to attend the Vanguard Awards and Luncheon at The Cable Show 2010. For more information, contact Tobi Brown at NCTA Industry Affairs, 202/222-2430.   For additional, up-to-the-minute information, or to register for The Cable Show 2010, visit the official web site (

  • Media Attendance:  The Vanguard Awards event is open to the media at no cost, but reservations are mandatory. Reporters and editors may make reservations by contacting Riva Litman at The Fratelli Group, at 202/822-9491 or, no later than May 6, 2010.
  • Photo Editors: To obtain photos of the Vanguard winners, please contact Pam Ford at  

NCTA is the principal trade association for the U.S. cable industry, representing cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks. The cable industry is the nation's largest broadband provider of high-speed Internet access, serving more than 40 million customers, after investing more than $145 billion to build two-way digital networks with fiber optic technology. Cable companies also provide state-of-the-art digital telephone service to more than 20 million American consumers.

SOURCE The Cable Show 2010