The strains of the first lines of "Amazing Grace" greeted a crowd of cable
and broadcast executives in New York Monday night courtesy of Oprah Winfrey.
It was her way of saying how blessed her career had been.
She was among 11 broadcast and cable luminaries inducted into the
Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Monday night at a dinner at the
Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.
DJ Don Imus was a no-show, as promised -- an absence that actually drew more
than a smattering of applause when it was announced at the dinner.
The 627 who did attend were taken through speeches at turns funny,
touching and admonishing.
Inductee Eddy Hartenstein, chairman of DirecTV Inc., said Monty Python's "'and now
for something completely different' catch phrase has become something of our
mantra," referring both to his company's offering of an alternative mulitchannel
service and to the fact that he was being welcomed by a roomful of broadcasting
and cable executives.
He contrasted that to cable's big bash, the Walter Kaitz Foundation Fund-Raising Dinner, also in New York,
which he said he "couldn't get into without a busboy's uniform."
Oprah followed her musical rendition with thanks to a number of former and
current bosses in the audience, including her first boss, Harold Crump, station
manager of then WLAC-TV Nashville, Tenn. (now WTVF).
She marveled at how far she had come from the small Mississippi town where
she was born and lived, at least for the first few years, without a TV or indoor
And when she did get a TV, she said, nobody on it looked like her.
"They looked like Buckwheat, and nobody wants to look like Buckwheat," she added.
Veteran CBS journalist Bob Schieffer said he has never been prouder of his
profession than he was after Sept. 11, although he added that journalists, like
others, have simply gone out and done what they were supposed to do.
Paxson Communications Corp. chairman Bud Paxson shared the credit with God
and his colleagues, with even a little left over for Broadcasting &
He said that as a sophomore in high school, he "stole" his first copy of B&C off
the desk of the station where he was working to look for that first big
In the intervening 52 years, he added, he doesn't think he has missed an
Saying that the late Lew Wasserman of MCA "believed it with all of his
heart," Motion Picture Aasociation of America president Jack Valenti called on companies to reassemble the civic
trust that has been shattered by corporate leaders who, "through trickery and
treachery get something for nothing."
Also in the Hall of Fame class of 2002 were:
- Frasier's Kelsey Grammer ("I have been given many blessings beyond my
wildest dreams and this is one of them.")
- Advance/Newhouse chairman and customer-service guru Bob Miron (he thanked
his bosses for the freedom to serve through Cable in the Classroom and other
- Lifetime Television's Carole Black (she urged the audience to use their power "to
make a positive difference")
- The Washington Post's late chairman, Katharine Graham (her son, Post
chairman Donald Graham, credited the Post's station holdings with keeping the
paper afloat in the 1950s and said his mother was "everything they say about
her and more") and
- The late Liberty Media Corp. chief Peter Barton (saluted extensively by his
former boss and former New York Gov. Hugh Carey).
Proceeds from the dinner went to the International Radio & Television Society (represented at the dinner by Walter
Cronkite) and the Broadcasters Foundation (represented at the dinner by