Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011 - 26

INDEPENDENT SYSTEM EXECUTIVE
OF THE YEAR
Brian Lynch
President/CEO, Antietam Cable
Life can be fi ckle. You think you've had enough of something,
so you leave. Later you realize it's part of you, and
you return for more.
That's the case with our Independent System Executive of
the Year. After 30 years in cable, including 17 with Comcast,
the last 7 as Area VP for Greater Baltimore, Lynch took a hiatus
in '09. " I traveled a lot, played a lot of golf, " Lynch notes
perfunctorily, before slipping in, " And I spent the summer
touring with my son's rock band, carting cases. " Hold on. So
our system exec of the year might also be the world's oldest
roadie? Finally, we get a reaction, as Lynch chuckles. " Yes,
and I also had the shortest hair. It was my job to make sure
the nice-looking women got backstage. " Glad we asked.
But how did Lynch go from headends to deadheads and
back? Toward the end of his time off Lynch was preparing
to fi ll a vital community need. Having traveled often to West
Lafayette, Indiana, to visit a daughter at Purdue University,
Lynch noticed the town lacked a " place where you could get a
burger and a beer and watch sports. " Lynch and a friend were
ready to fi ll that void with a brewery when someone told him
about the opening at Antietam, a mid-size system in Maryland,
75 miles from Baltimore. He waited one week before calling.
" They told me the job was open for four more hours. I literally
put together my resume on the spot. " He got the job.
But going from Comcast in Baltimore, serving 435K
customers, overseeing 1K employees to not even onetenth
of that at Antietam? " I could
make a decision in Baltimore at 8 on a Monday morning
and 30 days later know whether it was a good one
or not. Here, I can make a decision at 8am and by 4pm
I know how stupid it was. " Seriously, he loves it. " It's
great. This is traditional cable. The GM is autonomous;
he's literally making all the decisions, with all the risks
and rewards associated with that. There's no regionalization,
no consolidation. All the services we provide, we
provide ourselves. "
And the decisions he's made have worked; and how.
Arriving 19 months ago, Lynch inherited a solid, conservatively-run
business. " It was well-run, " he says, but he felt
there was room for growth. So he increased investments in
marketing, engaged employees to be " brand ambassadors "
and pushed community involvement with some " fairly overt "
activities at food banks, animal shelters and Toys for Tots.
Like many systems in '08-'09, Antietam had been burning
video subs at a high rate. In '10, Lynch's fi rst year, Antietam
reduced video sub losses by 90% year over year. Lynch and
his team also grew net subs by 2.5% and pushed digital
subs from less than 30% of their base to more than 40% in
10 months. " There's no magic here... we've become a fairly
effective marketing machine, " he says. Indeed, Antietam
exceeded budget last year and is on target to grow at an
even higher rate in 2011. " And Antietam did all this in a very
tough economy, " says NCTC VP Dan Mulvenon.
But citizens of West Lafayette, fear not. Lynch says the
brewery " is still one of my long-term plans. " ■
- Seth Arenstein
FAST FACTS
■ Antietam Cable is based in Washington County, in the western part of Maryland, and serves
about 40K customers. " We're not big, but we're loveable, " Lynch jokes.
■ Verizon and DBS compete directly with Antietam on video, voice and Internet.
■ A traditional triple play provider, Antietam has begun offering phone in the business class
services arena and is active in point-to-point fiber services.
26
cablefaxmag.com
July 2011
CableFAX: The Magazine
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011

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