By Amy Helmes
Special to Television Week
Honored with this year’s NCTA Vanguard Award for young leadership, Steve Miron downplayed his achievements as president of Advance/Newhouse Communications and his 15-plus years in the cable industry. He didn’t seem completely comfortable being singled out for distinction and said he preferred instead to view the award as a recognition of the entire company.
After all, for Mr. Miron, that company isn’t just like family-it is family.
As the son of veteran cable industry executive Robert Miron,the Advance/Newhouse chairman and CEO who twice served as president of the NCTA, Steve Miron began his involvement in the cable business at the bottom. “When I was in high school, I’d come in after school and work on the phones or clean converters,” he said. “In the summers I was working on construction crews.”
With the exception of a brief stint at Xerox after college,
Mr. Miron has remained in the family trade, including positions at MetroVision, Vision Cable Communications, NewChannels and Time Warner Cable, Syracuse, N.Y.
In 2002, when Advance/Newhouse restructured its partnership with Time Warner, Steve Miron signed on as president, marking his first real opportunity to work directly with his father as well as his sister, Nomi Bergman, Advance/Newhouse’s executive VP of strategy and development. Some might find it a strain to work so closely with immediate family, but Mr. Miron said such an arrangement has its advantages.
“We tend to know each other’s thoughts without really speaking,” he said. “Then, of course, we do whatever my sister’s thinking.”
Being known as the boss’ son has never been an impediment to Mr. Miron, who has risen through the ranks on his own merits. “I think in the industry my father has always had a very good reputation and that’s been helpful to me, but as the years went on, it became much more about what I contributed than who my father was,” he said.
Ann Carlsen, founder and CEO of Carlsen Resources, an executive search firm in the telecommunications industry, gave Mr. Miron high marks as an employer. “The people who work for him trust and respect him. He tells them the truth and involves them in the vision of the company,” Ms. Carlsen said. “He also has an honest commitment to diversity that’s reflected in the fact that he has one of the most diverse organizations in the cable industry.”
Advance/Newhouse’s cable division, Bright House Networks, offers 300 channels, movies-on-demand, high-definition TV services and high-speed Internet access to more than 2 million customers in Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan. Mr. Miron said the Syracuse-based company has no immediate plans for further acquisitions. Instead, catering to current markets with exemplary service remains the primary business objective.
“We provide customers with products they choose, so a big piece of being successful is keeping them coming back,” he said.
Mr. Miron said another way he strives to give his company an edge is by building strong connections at the local level. His involvement in charitable causes such as the Syracuse Jewish Community Center and the Emma Bowen Foundation puts that philosophy into practice.
“We think our local presence is one of the things that helps distinguish us from our competition,” he said. “Our divisions work very hard at being involved in their communities, and we hope to do it for a long time.”
Just the Facts
Title: President, Advance/Newhouse Communications
How long in current position: Three years
Year of birth: 1966
Place of birth: St. Louis
Who knew? In his twice–weekly pickup basketball game, Mr. Miron said, he boasts a strong 3-point shot and an ability to set illegal screens.