Insight Communications CEO Michael Willner has been at
the forefront of practically every major cable industry issue in the past 37
years, whether it be in Washington - he has testified before Congress and the
Senate on issues ranging from must-carry to retransmission consent and
everything in between - or in the trenches building out networks and providing
service to his nearly 700,000 cable customers. With the sale of Insight to Time
Warner Cable slated for completion by the first half of next year, Wilner spoke
with Multichannel News briefly on Friday about his legacy in the cable
industry and his plans for the future. An edited transcript follows.
MCN: What's next in store for you?
Michael Willner: I haven't really decided. One
thing, though, doing nothing is not an option. I'm not ready to do nothing. I
really haven't thought about it yet.
MCN: You have been a driving force in the industry for
so long in Washington and Insight was the first MSO to step up to the plate and
provide more financial reporting transparency in the wake of the Adelphia
scandal. A lot of people have said it would be a shame if you decided to take a
MW: I haven't thought about it. This deal came together fairly quickly. In
2007 when we went out and tried to review our alternatives at the time and that
deal didn't happen, I had given it more thought earlier in the process. This
time around I think we were more open to going with the flow psychologically.
Therefore it was process, we went through it and if it ended in a conclusion
that we would do a deal we would, and if it didn't we would get on with running
the company. That was our attitude. That was certainly my attitude.
MCN: So is anything is on the table? There are a lot
of former cable CEOs floating around out there and a lot of money looking for a
place to go. Is there any chance that you could hook up with another private
equity company and start this all over again?
MW: I don't know. I kind of think after doing what
I've been doing for one company for 26 years and for two companies my entire
career that maybe something a little different might be more interesting, other
than just going out and acquiring and operating cable networks.