Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011 - 20

MSO LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Michael Willner
Insight
If we had to use one word to describe Insight CEO Michael
Willner, it would be " communicator. " Whether it is his
outreach to consumers, his internal communications with
employees or representing the industry on the Hill, Willner is
a man who makes his words count. That public communications
degree from Boston University College has served him
well. " I've always had a serious interest in communicating
effectively, both written and verbally, " says Willner. It's for
this and many other qualities that we bestow our Lifetime
Achievement Award upon Willner this year.
Willner has been a leader in the blogosphere with his Michael's
Insight blog (www.michaelsinsight.com), a missive to
customers that he's quick to note he personally writes. " It's
deinitely very much my work, " he says. " Nobody else knows
exactly what I think about things. When we're talking about
issues that confront the industry, I want this to be a forum
where I can state my point-of-view clearly so that people can
be incented to talk about the issues. "
While his blog and commercial appearances get a lot of
attention, Willner hasn't lost sight of the importance of communicating
with Insight's employees as well. Internal communications
efforts include video conferences, newsletters,
emails, etc. " We communicate with employees at multiple
levels any which way we can, " Willner says. " They are the
people that customers see and interact with on a daily basis,
and they really represent the company in a way that nobody
in management can represent. "
Willner's emphasis on communications carries over to
Insight's launch last year of 24-hour news and information
channel cn/2 in Kentucky. While it's primarily weather now,
the MSO is expanding into other programming blocks.
Again, Willner's at the forefront with his launch coming a
year before an FCC media landscape report that calls for
more cable local news channels. " I think the cable industry
does a much better job at that than we get credit for, " Willner
says. " Most of it's in large markets right now, but a lot of
it is starting to move into places where a particular operator
has a signiicant presence in a jurisdiction, like the state of
Kentucky. "
With Bright House chairman Bob Miron and Insight coWillner
passes the
Cable Center chmn's
gavel to Suddenlink
and Cequel III CEO
Jerry Kent at this year's
Hall of Fame celebration.
Willner remains on
the Center's executive
committee.
founder Sid Knafel as mentors, Willner's biggest turning point
in his career came with the creation of Insight in 1985. " I had
an excellent relationship with Bob, who had just bought us
four years earlier, but I had the entrepreneurial bug, " he recalls.
" From my point of view, I probably could have worked
for Newhouse for my entire career and it would have been a
good and rewarding career. But I had an entrepreneurial spirit
and I wanted to roll the dice. I was young enough and childless
and had few enough responsibilities that I felt compelled
to stay the course. I could have gone in one of two different
directions and chose this one. "
With Insight's future uncertain at our press time (bids were
said to be in for it from Mediacom and WideOpenWest),
Willner remains focused on business as usual. Insight's top
priority right now? " Serve the customer, " Willner says without
hesitation. " And do so in ways that break through what I think
is a historical, self-imposed limitation on the part of the cable
industry to be much better than we ever thought we can be.
I don't think Insight is the only company that's striving to accomplish
that now. " ■
- Amy Maclean
20
cablefaxmag.com
July 2011
CableFAX: The Magazine
http://www.michaelsinsight.com http://www.cablefaxmag.com

Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011

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