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ACA Salutes Rich Fickle's Appointment As NCTC's New President/CEO

The American Cable Association congratulated veteran cable and media executive Rich Fickle on his June 14 appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), an organization with which ACA has enjoyed long and productive ties in advancing the cause of the independent cable community and the millions of consumers it serves.

ACA is especially pleased with this announcement because so many ACA members worked closely with Fickle in the complex yet thoroughly successful rollout of the Headend in the Sky (HITS) service while he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of HITS and Interactive TV for AT&T Broadband.

"ACA members gained enormous respect for Rich's talent and ability in helping smaller and mid-size cable operators integrate the HITS platform, creating badly needed digital programming capacity to meet the competitive challenge posed by all-digital satellite TV providers. Going forward, ACA members know they can rely on Rich's expertise once again as TV Everywhere and related VOD issues move to the forefront of crucial business issues associated with the growth of Internet-based video competition," said ACA Chairman Steve Friedman, who is Chief Operating Officer of Wave Broadband in Kirkland, Wash.

ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said he's eager to begin working with Fickle once again following his early July start date at NCTC, renewing a relationship that stems from close contact during the HITS program.

"Rich Fickle's selection is great news for ACA. I'm confident that Rich's arrival at NCTC will strengthen the bonds between our two organizations, especially in crafting creative solutions that result in a constructive dialogue between cable programming suppliers and ACA members responsible for providing essential services to hometown America," Polka said.

Fickle is a 30-year industry veteran who has worked extensively with a broad array of cable operators, programmers, studios and technology providers.  He joined Ascent Media in 2001, and served in several executive leadership positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Cable/Telco VOD and TVE Services for Deluxe Entertainment, which acquired Ascent in January 2011. 

Previously, he was Senior Vice President/General Manager of HITS and Interactive TV for AT&T Broadband, with significant focus on the independent cable operators who became loyal customers of the service.  Under Fickle's leadership, HITS' services were deployed by a majority of the industry's cable operators and programmers. The HITS platform required developing new distribution solutions involving a number of suppliers working together.

"I am thrilled to join NCTC and continue my relationship with the members and staff," Fickle said in a statement. "NCTC plays a critical role for many members and I am excited to be part of helping build even more value for the industry in the years to come. I believe there are many opportunities for NCTC to work collaboratively with suppliers and members helping to drive value for all companies as we all face key challenges in the industry."

Fickle, who has an MBA in Finance from the University of Colorado, and a BS in accounting from the University of Denver, officially starts in his new role on July 5. Fickle replaces Jeff Abbas, who served as NCTC's President and CEO from 2005 until his resignation in March, 2011.

NCTC board chair Edward T. Holleran, Jr., president and COO of Atlantic Broadband, Inc., said, "With Rich Fickle's appointment, NCTC is re-energized and ready to tackle the exciting challenges ahead. Rich is a respected and knowledgeable cable industry leader who has the vision and collaborative skills to move NCTC forward and deliver greater value for our members.  His long-standing dedication to the interests of smaller cable operators makes him the ideal person for this challenging position.

Interim CEO Tom Gleason, one of NCTC's founding members, stated: "We have been fortunate to benefit from two strong leaders during NCTC's 27 years. We are confident Rich will lead the NCTC and our members through the many purchasing and business changes and challenges facing independent operators today. We are excited for members to meet Rich at the upcoming Independent Show in San Francisco on July 24-27, 2011."

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