Interview Date: Tuesday July 30, 2019
Interview Location: Chicago, Ill
Interviewer: Lela Cocoros
Collection: Hauser Oral History Project
LELA COCOROS: Hello, I’m Lela Cocoros for the Cable Center. It’s July 30th, 2019, and we are in Chicago at The Independent Show. This is the oral history of Michael Grebb, who is Publisher of Cablefax at Access Intelligence, and this is part of the Hauser Oral History Program. So Mike, welcome.
MICHAEL GREBB: Well, great to be here, thanks.
COCOROS: So let’s just get started by talking a little bit about your early life and where you’re from, and your background and education.
GREBB: Sure. I grew up mostly in Williamsburg Virginia, so Colonial Williamsburg is my hometown. And there’s actually a part of town that’s not colonial that I lived in. It’s a relatively small town but also very touristy, so it was a strange sort of mix, especially in the summer because Busch Gardens is there, and Colonial Williamsburg. So it was an interesting place to grow up, definitely, but also a small-town feel. And then I went to Ohio University for college, and it’s one of the top 10 journalism schools so I went there for journalism.
COCOROS: So, did you always want to be a journalist?
GREBB: Well, I always wanted to be a writer. I think the earliest — when I was maybe in fourth grade or fifth grade I had teachers start to tell me that that that’s — “Oh, wow your writing is really” —
COCOROS: You had a talent for writing.
GREBB: Yeah, “Your writing’s really ahead of everyone else” and stuff, so I started getting on this writing track. I’ve always been a really curious person so it seemed like one of those professions where there are a lot of jobs out there in that profession, you get to write all the time, so that was why I sort of gravitated toward that.
COCOROS: So, from there, what was your first job in the journalism space?
GREBB: Yeah, it’s interesting. I got out of college, it was ’93 because I had an internship and I had to go back and finish up a quarter there, they were on a quarter system there. So I had to go back and finish up a quarter in the spring and then — so I guess in the spring of ’93. My girlfriend, who is now my wife, was already in D.C. She already had a job there and so I moved to D.C. and we both had an interest in politics and stuff, so I figured that’d be a good place to be a journalist. But it was in the middle of a really bad recession. Not quite as bad as in 2008, horrible thing that happened, but it was pretty bad and there weren’t a lot of jobs and so I ended up — I had had a summer job at the Improv Comedy Club. Not doing comedy but just seating people and that sort of thing as a summer job and so I called the general manager there who I knew and just said, “Do you have any type of pseudo full time work?” And I ended up going there and working there during the day just doing graphic design for them and stuff, but it gave me a chance to get my sea legs in Washington, get an apartment and everything. And then over the next 10 months or so I was applying everywhere. The first place that came back was Warren Publishing. That was just the first interview I got, and so I went in and interviewed with Dan Warren over there, and Mike Feazel and got the job. And he — the job market was so bad, he showed me a huge stack — Dan just did this to mess with me. I came in there and he had a huge stack of resumes. Like 200 resumes. “So, Mike, these are all the resumes I got, why are you the guy we should hire?” And they gave me a writing test and it was the first — it was an interesting experience. This was the first time I realized that if you do a little extra sometimes, you can really put yourself ahead, and it was a really good life lesson in the sense that I went back and Mike — they basically sat me down, they just wanted to see if I could write, and write quickly, so they gave me an hour and a half or something to write something. And I sat down with Mike Feazel and he just told me about he was — he had just adopted a child from China. That child’s now out of college. That’s how long ago this was. So I interviewed him about that, had nothing to do with cable or anything like that, and I went back to write it and it just occurred to me that I should get a little more information. So back then there was no internet, really, so I just opened up the phone book and found the Association of Adoption or whatever in D.C., and I just called the number and the person who answered the phone gave me a few stats, gave me a couple quotes, and I put that into the story. And Dan told me later that that’s the reason I got the job because —
COCOROS: Very impressive.
GREBB: No one else did that. Everyone else just wrote it up based on their interview with Mike. So sometimes, I don’t know — you do a little extra it can — And that is really —
COCOROS: That’s a good lesson.
GREBB: Yeah, and that’s the only reason that I’m in cable today. I mean, it was just the first thing that came back and I ended up liking it, and I was the managing editor at, like, 22 years old, they put me in charge of the Cable Regulation Monitor that was there, and I also contributed to Comm Daily. But it was a great experience, a lot of autonomy, and Mike Feazel and Dan Warren both were huge mentors to me, and I did that for two or three years.
COCOROS: So that really just got you started in the industry, and you found the industry interesting enough to continue with it.
GREBB: Yeah. And it really was the people, too. I mean, it was Rob Stoddard, it was just all the people that I met in Washington. Even the K Street lawyers were good folks. It was very wonky stuff that I was doing back then. It was like, we were doing —
COCOROS: Oh, I remember those days. (laughs) I was working for —
GREBB: TCI, right?
COCOROS: — TCI, but I was working for the head of government affairs, so I was very much involved with the Washington — And of course, certainly in those days, that was right after the ’92 Act.
GREBB: Yeah, it was a crazy time.
COCOROS: It was.
GREBB: And the ’92 Act was driving everyone insane, and so there was a lot to report about, definitely.
COCOROS: So you got a chance to really meet a lot of the players who were key to that whole era, which really shaped the industry.
GREBB: Yeah, and Decker Anstrom as well, who had to come in after the ’92 Act passed to clean things up and improve relations in Washington, and he did a great job at that for those years.
COCOROS: Yes, he did. Yes, he did. So from there where did you go?
GREBB: So I went — I was at Comm Daily for two or three years, and then I went to Telecommunications Reports, which was similar type of writing about cable. So I did that for a few years, then I went to Cablevision Magazine, which was really interesting because that really allowed me to write features.
COCOROS: Longer features?
GREBB: Longer features, yeah, and I really enjoyed that. I had a column where I got to spout off about things, and it was just a good experience overall. I left — at the same time I was doing — around this time, late ’90s, the internet was blowing up. All kind of craziness with the dot-com thing, and there were like five pet sets and all that. And I was doing some freelancing on the side for Wired magazine and Business 2.0 magazine, and a few of these big, thick magazines that just needed copy. They were just getting freelance from everyone, and we were allowed to do that at Telecommunications Reports and also at Cablevision. And I was doing so much of it that I eventually just decided to freelance fulltime. And I did that from about 2000 until I got the Cablefax job. And essentially it was an interesting time. Of course then 9/11 happened, the economy went really badly, so the freelance stuff wasn’t as lucrative in the later part of that, but then it was starting to come back and I was actually really still enjoying it. And then Cablefax called me because John Ourand was leaving, he went to Sports Business Daily, which he’s still at, and loving it, obviously. But yeah I got John’s job when they called me, and I’ve been there since 2006.
COCOROS: Yeah, and you’ve moved up the ladder to Publisher, which is a different hat to wear.
GREBB: Right, yeah, well, I started as Executive Editor, so I was essentially in charge of all the editorial, and then for — they made me Associate Publisher, which is kind of a half step between — where you start to take on a little bit more of those publisher responsibilities, revenue. And then I became the full publisher, I guess three years ago? Something like that. So yeah, it’s very different. I’m dealing with spreadsheets now, and budgets, and it’s a different job but it’s still enjoyable and I still have my hands a little bit in on the editorial side.
COCOROS: So from a publisher — we had Amy Maclean here too, yesterday, which was a really interesting discussion, and I asked her this question from the editorial side. Now I’m going to ask you the question wearing the publisher’s hat. What is the role in — from your perspective, of a trade publication within the industry it covers, and how does that work when you’re covering the industry and you’re also part of the industry?
GREBB: Right, right. It is an interesting position to be in because on one hand, we definitely strive to cover the industry objectively, the good and the bad, and I think we do that. But we’re also — we are — I don’t want to say, we’re not necessarily a cheerleader for the industry, but I think if the industry’s doing something wrong it’s more of tough love approach. I think clearly we just have a love for the industry and for the people in it, and a lot of the people in it are my friends. So it — but you want to, at the same time — we’ve had many articles that have appeared when somebody has a bad quarter or something like that, I mean people aren’t happy about it, they let us know, but you have to cover what’s happening. Amy does a great job at that. I try to stay a little bit above the — out of that as much as I can. But yeah, we have relationships with people. When you’re a trade publication, you have relationships that are editorial, are advertising and sponsorship, and also you want access to people and you want to keep access to people, and so it’s a tough balance. You just want to be fair. I think as long as you’re fair, everybody — we all tend to get along pretty well. (laughter) And we try to be fair.
COCOROS: Well, yeah. And I think you guys do a great job. We were talking about Cablefax being the go-to daily that you’ve got to read and get a handle on what’s going on.
GREBB: Yeah. And we also, obviously, we have awards and we make no secret of wanting to celebrate people in the industry. We have a lot of different awards programs and power lists and things like that, like the Cablefax 100, so we’re definitely there. I mean, I don’t think we make a secret that we see a bright future for the industry, we like the people in it. We think it probably doesn’t get as much credit as it should for — it really is the industry that created — it didn’t technically create the internet but without broadband the internet would just simply not be anything remotely what it is today.
COCOROS: Right, it certainly made it ubiquitous with consumers and businesses. So as a publisher, you were talking about being more on the business side. Is that something you wanted to do, or just evolved to that?
GREBB: I think it evolved to that. I think after a few years, you want to do new things, and I made it known to them that if they wanted to put me in those kinds of roles that I’d be willing to learn and to do it, and so they were happy to do that. They’ve been really supportive. It is a long learning curve, I think. I never went to business school. I don’t have that background. I don’t have a selling background. So you have to work different muscles. But I like that. I think it’s interesting. I still have days when I wish all I was doing was editorial. I won’t lie. But there are other days when I’m kind of glad I’m not doing editorial. (laughter) Like when Amy is pulling her hair out because her 50 things got announced in one day. And I remember those days.
COCOROS: (laughs) So — and then you moved to L.A. a few years ago, right? So tell me a little bit about that.
GREBB: Yeah, so my wife and I had always talked a little bit about wanting to move out there. She works for Reuters, which is a news agency, and so they have bureaus everywhere. And she — they often move people around. It’s one of the cool things about working there, is that you can — if you want to live in Paris or something, you can figure out a way to get there because they have offices everywhere. But we had talked about maybe wanting to try the west coast for awhile. And something opened up in L.A. that was a completely different beat for her. It was more the entertainment, kind of the stuff I do. And I just said to them, “Well, I would love to be able to move out there and keep this job. There’s a lot of television stuff out there, a lot of executives out there.” And they were completely supportive and said “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.” So now it’s good because I’m out there, in L.A. We have a reporter in New York, which is great for some of the financial stuff, and a lot of the networks are there as well, executives. And then we have Amy and Sarah down in the D.C. area to cover all the fun regulation stuff that we still — it’s still a pretty big part of what we cover.
COCOROS: Absolutely. That’s — (laughs) It doesn’t go away. (laughter)
GREBB: It never really does, it’s amazing.
COCOROS: Yeah. So what are you most proud of in your career?
GREBB: I don’t know. There have been a few cool scoops here and there, but what I really remember is just — What I’m most proud of, I think, is just the — This is going to sound cheesy, but probably just the relationships that I’ve been able to forge with people. And like I said, a lot of my best friends are people that I see at these shows when I come to the Independent Show, or go to, whatever — the INTX or the Cable Show is not around anymore, but that used to be a big place to get together with people. But there are — I’m in New York all the time for things like Diversity Week and stuff, I see people there, I’m travelling all the time to different things and it’s just great to see people. There are a lot of people also who are in L.A. There’s the whole cable thing going on out there.
COCOROS: Yeah, yeah, and I keep seeing you on red carpets (laughs) at events and I’m thinking, “Oh, well he’s at the Oscars” and he’s — (laughter)
GREBB: Yeah, we — well, between my — because my wife covers movies and TV and then I cover TV, so between the two of us —
COCOROS: You get a lot of invitations. (laughs)
GREBB: Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that we can go to. And we end up — it’s so funny, we just tell people, like, we barely go out on the weekends ever because we’re just so tired from — There’s usually three, three or four things during the week.
COCOROS: What a tough job.
GREBB: Yeah, I know, it’s really tough, just like coal mining, it really is.
GREBB: It’s not hard at all. But it’s — it can be — you do — it is fun, it’s very fun. I mean, right now, TCA is going on, which is the Television Critics Association tour, which is just two and a half weeks of —
COCOROS: I’ve done that. (laughs)
GREBB: Yeah, it’s just — it’s, on one hand you can’t complain about it because it’s two and a half weeks of parties. But it’s all day long press conferences every single day, through the weekends. But you’ve got press conferences with big celebrities and big producers and writers and stuff.
COCOROS: I’ve worked the other side of that and it’s a big — it’s a lot to put together.
GREBB: Well, I’m always amazed that they can get everyone there. I can’t imagine behind the scenes what it’s like to try to get these panels together, make sure everyone gets to the hotel to do — you know, on time and all that stuff and then the running around all day doing interviews because they do a lot of press interviews all day. It’s almost like a mega junket.
COCOROS: Yeah, it is. It’s just everybody in one place and I would imagine the TCA has changed a little bit. Back when I was involved in it, it was before the internet had really taken off, so it’s — and social media and all of that, so now it must be just a complete zoo.
GREBB: It’s insane. Yeah, it’s crazy because — well, those two things alone have been a big change. And the streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu, of course, is there —
COCOROS: Right. You have to add them to the mix, right.
GREBB: Yeah, Amazon. They all took — Netflix last time, not this time, I think it was last year, they took a full day. Full day, and they did a great job, to be honest with you. And Hulu took a half day this year. Well, we have two a year. But the one that’s going on right now, Hulu is there for half a day, Amazon’s there for half a day. So they’re out there getting their shows — they’re competing with everyone else, and it’s just another reminder that who knows what’s going to happen with linear TV versus streaming. And if it all goes towards streaming, that creates all kinds of other issues for people.
COCOROS: Right. Complications, yes, absolutely. Maybe we can get into that in a little bit. Who are the people in the industry who have influenced you the most?
GREBB: Oh, man. I just think about some of those early people I met. People — it’s kind of random, but just everyone from Rob Stoddard, who I mentioned. Paul Glist was one of the early lawyers that taught — he would walk me through stuff for 45 minutes on the phone, pole attachments or something crazy, and was very patient. Some of these people who were very patient when I didn’t know what I was doing. Mike Feazel was a huge mentor to me, I mean he really was, and he was so incredibly patient when I just had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t know the industry. Because it’s a hard industry to understand at the beginning. And then I think as I started covering things, your boss John Malone was amazing to watch, just the way he would move the chess pieces around and how smart he was with everything. The guy has an incredible brain. Still does, obviously. And some of the — trying to think who else — Even people in Washington, like [Victoria] “Torie” Clark, who — just watching her work her PR magic, I guess, and she had a very political mind — or still, she’s still around too. (laughs) I just haven’t talked to her in a while.
COCOROS: Well, yeah. She hasn’t been in the industry for a while, but yeah, she was always very helpful to me as well. So yeah, she’s great. OK. So let’s talk a little bit about where the industry — where you think the industry is headed and the legacy that the industry — or basically, what the industry has done to impact our society.
GREBB: Yeah. Well, as I said earlier — I don’t think that the cable industry gets really the credit that it probably deserves for laying the groundwork for everything that we see today. And maybe some people, with what’s going on with people criticizing social media and stuff, maybe cable should be getting the blame as well (laughs) because they did kind of create the situation. And plus this —
COCOROS: For better or for worse.
GREBB: Yeah, for better or for worse. I mean, there’s good stuff and bad stuff on the internet, right. But the fact that we have — I mean, you know, Netflix certainly should be thanking the cable industry because they would not exist without broadband. Amazon, etc. So in a way it’s funny because the cable industry created such a huge broadband pipe that now it’s a threat in some ways. They’re looking at competition. I think for the operators, they’re pretty safe as far as I’m concerned, because they own the wires in the ground. I think the biggest problem for them will be if they went completely broadband, which some have started to do, to just get rid of the linear product because it can be a pain, because you have to pay all these license fees —
COCOROS: And negotiate all the deals —
GREBB: Yeah. If you — and with all the major studios and everything, if everyone’s doing a streaming company, and everybody’s allowing you to just buy stuff over the top and use your broadband connection, and if more and more operators decide to just be broadband only, I do have a little bit of worry, being somebody who came in at a time post ’92 Act, that we’ll get back to that situation. Because it’s such an important — it’s almost like water or electricity at this point in terms of peoples’ lives, and so I could see them coming back and trying to regulate those wires, and I think it’s easier for them to do that if there’s no linear TV. If it’s just a pipe they can look at it more like a utility. And so I think that is a risk for the industry, that the industry’s well aware of, that that’s a risk. And I think in some ways that might be some of the reason that many operators probably will not get rid of their linear deals anytime soon. On the programmer’s side I think that — there is a lot of consolidation happening, obviously, with content. The streaming companies will probably be OK, the big ones. Disney’s going to be fine, Warner Media is going to be fine. Netflix is still going to be around forever. And these — there are going to be a few big ones, but I think there’s even more consolidation that’s going to happen and eventually you’re going to end up with probably no more than five of them. And I think what that means for small, independent networks and niche content, I think it is a dangerous time for them because they’re already having trouble getting carriage on operators.
COCOROS: Right. You’ve got to get in front of those eyeballs even if you’re not a linear channel, you need to get that audience built.
GREBB: Right. And I wonder sometimes if some of the niche networks that are technically networks right now, whether they just go more of a production studio route at some point and just provide certain niche content to the larger companies, and that’s a different business, completely different business.
COCOROS: What do you think about just navigating all of this as a consumer? I mean, in trying to find what you’re looking for. That’s what always questioned — I always question that. If this continues to proliferate and everybody — like the studios now, Disney’s going to have their own streaming service. And how many of these can you, not just afford, but just be able to juggle and balance and try to figure out what you’re going to watch when?
GREBB: Well it’s — I find it almost hilarious, in a way, that we are getting into a place where — everyone always wanted everything to be unbundled, and “I want my choice” and everything. So we’re getting to that — we’re getting into that environment. We’re really going to have that almost fully realized in the next two to three years.
COCOROS: It’s like an embarrassment of riches, right?
GREBB: Yeah. But then you have to make that choice, which used to be made for you, because you just got a big, expanded, basic bundle, right? And I think people will feel – will continue to feel more empowered by that, but I think they’re going to end up spending as much, if not more, than what they used to spend on a cable package, and a video package. But maybe they’ll feel better because they’ve a choice, because they’ve chosen.
COCOROS: Right. Because they’ve made the choice.
GREBB: They’ve made the choice that they’ll feel empowered. But I think it is — and you look at what Apple TV is doing, with wanting to bring everything together, and there are other services that are doing that, bringing — you know, so that you can just — And X1 does that —
COCOROS: X1 does that, that you can get Netflix and —
GREBB: And you just say what show you want to watch, and they show you where it’s available and you can go there. I think that’s the direction we’re going, and the question is, is it going to be Comcast doing that, or is it going to be Apple TV doing that, or both to some degree for different audiences? And probably it’s going to be a little mix of both and I think everybody’s going to end up being OK, but I think some of — definitely there’s going to be continued disruption on the content side, and there’s no doubt that some of the content companies that are out there now are going to go away or be bought by somebody else or fused into something else.
COCOROS: Well, I agree with you. It’s going to be interesting to watch. I still read everything and just try to keep up with it because I find it really fascinating, just seeing where it’s going to head is going to be interesting.
GREBB: Yeah, but I would just reiterate, I think it’s good to own the wire. As long as you’re not regulated like a utility it’s good to own the wire. (laughter) Even when you’re regulated like a utility at least you get a rate of return and everything and you can still make money, but —
COCOROS: Guaranteed rate of return, right?
GREBB: Yeah, but that’s not what this industry’s about. It’s not the DNA of this industry. So I don’t think they would enjoy that situation. (laughs)
COCOROS: No, I would agree with you. So you’re also, in your spare time, a musician, right?
GREBB: Yes, yes, I claim to be.
COCOROS: Are you able to continue to do your music while you’re doing all these other things?
GREBB: Yeah, I mean, it’s not easy. Yeah, I’m working a lot and doing a lot of travel and stuff, but yeah, I try to. I continue to have a home studio and I still write stuff, and I still record it. In fact, I’m pretty close to actually releasing some new stuff, but it’s just always a slow-going thing. I mean, I can’t spend all my time doing it, so it just takes a long time to get everything produced. And every few years I release a few things, whatever, just to my friends, basically, it’s not like I have any kind of actual distribution. Other than the internet. It’s nice to have social media for that. Easy to just share stuff with people you know.
COCOROS: So is there any other — anything else you want to add, or —
GREBB: Oh, I don’t know. I just — I think that — it’s just an amazing industry, it’s just been so fun to be a part of it. I think if I hadn’t had those great early experiences at Warren Publishing, I don’t know if I would’ve stayed with it. And that was — it was just the people I met and the things I got to do. I mean, I was going around the Cable Show back then, and the Western Show, which was a lot of fun, just —
COCOROS: Oh that was a lot of fun, yeah.
GREBB: — it was just a great time to — and all the people I met on those trips — it was really what — You know, I think if I could say anything, and not to end on a negative note, I think that some of the comradery that existed back then has gone away, just because the industry has really evolved into more of a corporate —
COCOROS: It’s more mature.
GREBB: It’s more mature. There are more publicly traded companies, there’s larger companies, they are more corporate in how they think about things. There are people competing against each other that didn’t really used to compete, so some of that sharing of information has gone away. And that’s been a little sad to see, but I think that some of it’s been necessary just because of how things have evolved. And, really, we’ve even talked about it in the context of Cablefax, and just the word “cable.” Obviously we don’t fax it anymore, there’s that part of it, but also just the word “cable.” What does cable mean and what do we cover, and so we talk about that a lot. And we’re covering all the streaming services and everything, and we even cover the broadcast side to some degree now, so it’s not really just cable.
COCOROS: Yeah, I think a lot of organizations struggle with that, that have “cable” in their title, and certainly a lot of the — I mean, virtually all of the providers, and MVPDs, have brand names now. Xfinity and Spectrum, and Optimum, and all of that, so it’s definitely an issue, I think, that from a branding standpoint everybody’s — but nobody really knows what to call it.
GREBB: It’s a weird — it is a strange dichotomy because on one hand, people understand that, and understand that cable isn’t the thing it used to be because it’s not siloed the way it used to be siloed. It’s a content industry, really, and it’s a content distribution industry, but at the same time, people have — especially people who’ve been around a while, like me and you, (laughs) you know, a little bit of a nostalgia for it — and don’t want to stop using — and have a pride about cable, you know?
COCOROS: I don’t want to have cable be a negative connotation. Yeah.
GREBB: And — look, that is how the ’92 Act happened, I mean, let’s just be honest about that. There was a period of huge growth in the ’80s leading up to that and there was not as much attention paid to customer service because people were just trying to get the wires out there. There’s a whole reason that it happened that way, but that’s how the ’92 Act happened, and I think since then — that really taught the industry a big lesson that it has taken to heart ever since then. And not that it’s perfect now but it has — the improvements are there.
COCOROS: No, but that really was a wakeup call. I think every cable company really started to step up with customer service initiatives and paying more attention to that, and also competition and marketing.
GREBB: Yeah. Just a shout out to Comcast — what they’re doing with Xfinity is incredible.
COCOROS: I totally agree.
GREBB: It’s incredible and it looks like it’s going down the route where other people are just going to start — I think Cox is already licensing, but others —
COCOROS: Cox is licensing it because I moved from Denver to Scottsdale and so we had Xfinity and we were sweating whether or not Cox was going to be able to deliver, and now because they’ve licensed the X1 technology it was a seamless transition, which for us was great.
GREBB: That’s great. And I think more — I have a feeling that more of the larger operators are going to adopt X1 at some point.
COCOROS: It’s really a fantastic product. So, Mike, tell me a little bit more about Cablefax and its expanding role in the industry in terms of all of its portfolio of events and special issues and that type of thing.
GREBB: Right. Well when I first got to Cablefax about 13 years ago we primarily — we did have some of the magazines, like the Cablefax 100, some of those periodic magazines, but we really didn’t have a lot of the community stuff that we do today. We really were more news-driven. It was really all about the daily, every day. And it still is, that’s still the center of our universe today, but now I think we’ve evolved our mission and now definitely consider our mission to hold this community together because it’s harder to do that when you no longer have a cable show. People — we talked about the word “cable” and what that means, and who is in this industry and we’re not sure anymore, it includes a lot of different people. So we’re still trying to keep that cohesiveness together. Part of how we do that is with the awards program. So we recognize great work. We have the Cablefax 100 still which is a recognition of the most powerful executives. We have the most powerful women [issue]. We have our diversity issue which really highlights the most influential multi-ethnic executives in the business, and it’s been great to see that list grow and grow and grow because the industry’s doing so much better than it ever has in that area. And so those type of things. And the events that we have around them sometimes I think are great ways to just bring people together, and we consider that part of our mission. I mean, it’s not just that we’re covering the news. It goes back to when you asked about being part of the industry but also covering it. I think that is the “being part of the industry” part when you’re trying to bring the community together and really make sure that everybody appreciates each other and kind of this interest — it’s a very unique thing. The cable industry is a completely unique industry. It’s not like this in the pharmaceutical industry or the oil industry and some of these other places. It really is more of the comradery and stuff which is still there despite all of the consolidation and the disruption that’s happened. I really still see the same people everywhere, a lot of the same people. They’ve just bounced around different places, and so it’s always been a really tight-knit community and I still feel that. And we feel like we’re — part of our mission is to try to keep that going.
COCOROS: So this is kind of your giving back to the community by recognizing it and recognizing the people in it.
GREBB: Yeah. I think we definitely try to do that. Like I said, I think it’s just part of our mission to make sure that, despite what we end up calling the industry in the future, or who it’s including, or what companies it includes, that there’s some cohesiveness that keeps some — where you have some memory of how things were 30 or 40 years ago. That’s an undercurrent that you want to keep within the industry that cohesiveness.
COCOROS: Well, the business of the cable industry, or the broadband industry, is to connect people, right? That’s their business. And so we need to connect with each other. We have to stay connected with each other because it’s — it is a close-knit industry and that’s very special.
GREBB: Yeah. And I think we all get busy and people aren’t travelling as much, there’s too many things to go to, you can’t go to as many things anymore. And so there is a risk that we lose that. And so we really don’t want to lose that and we’re trying to keep that going. So that’s part of the fact that there are ways that we can bring people together. Whether it’s through awards, or the Cablefax Leaders’ Retreat where that’s a much more intimate type of thing where we’re inviting people to really talk about industry issues, but in a collegial way that’s off the record in a safe environment. (laughs) Because it’s hard now. People are worried about being quoted all the time. People are worried about — I mean, these are all publicly traded companies now. It wasn’t always like that. In the past there were smaller companies, many of them were private. It was just easier to share information and to talk to the press and things like that. So I think it’s a different environment.
COCOROS: It’s a more complex world.
GREBB: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. But hopefully we’re keeping it together.
COCOROS: Absolutely. Well that’s — we love staying connected. That’s the thing about this industry, we really do love to get together. So Cablefax has enabled us to have more opportunities to do that.
GREBB: Yeah. Well, we won’t take full credit but we hope we’re a small part of it. It’s definitely a great, great industry. Great people.
COCOROS: Well, thank you, Mike, and we appreciate your time. I know it’s crazy at shows all the time, conferences, so we really appreciate your coming and sharing your story.
GREBB: Well, yeah. Thanks a lot for having me. Really honored to do this, so thank you.
END OF INTERVIEW