When the MFM convenes in Las Vegas next week, we will be recognizing 13 individual for their extraordinary contributions to the association and the media industry. They are Neil Johnston, Cox Media; J. Michael Hines, Dow Lohnes; Larry Marcus, Marcus Strategies; Bonnie Krabbenhoft, Scripps Networks; Scott Jenkins, ESPN; Eugene Levin, Entercom Communications; Jennifer Crabtree, Local TV LLC; John Sanders, Bond & Pecaro; Robert Vonick, Walt Disney Co.; Gary Hoipkemier, Schurz Communications; Craig Martell, Oracle; Francois McGillicuddy; and Demeta Peterbark, BET Networks.
Next week, when members of Media Financial Management Association (MFM) and our BCCA subsidiary gather for Media Finance Focus 2012, we’ll also recognize 13 current and former members of the Association for their outstanding leadership. These are people who have made contributions that have benefitted the industry as well as their employers and our organization.
While many of their peers will be on hand to join us in honoring these noteworthy individuals, I also want to invite you, as co-beneficiaries of their contributions, to join me in recognizing their work.
Distinguished CFO Award — Neil Johnston, Cox Media Group
This honor is reserved for top financial executives whose contributions to MFM, BCCA and the media industry rise above and beyond the call of duty. This year’s recipient was recently named EVP of strategy and digital innovation at Cox Media Group, a testament to his exemplary leadership role within the Cox organization while serving as its EVP and CFO and prior to that, as Cox Radio’s CFO.
MFM is proud to recognize Johnston for his key role in the organization’s transformation from media-based operating silos to market-based operations providing cross platform marketing solutions to advertisers. As someone whose earlier career included serving as VP of development for Cox Broadcasting and controller of Cox Radio, he also illustrates the types of career opportunities that can be achieved by individuals who begin their careers in finance and accounting.
Johnston has also been a great contributor to MFM. He chaired three of our annual CFO Summits. Thanks to his role in developing an agenda packed with timely presentations, attendance increased with each Summit. More important, each of the attendees found the Summit helpful to their senior financial management role.
Jack Zwaska Career Achievement Award — J. Michael Hines, Dow Lohnes PLLC
The award is given in honor of Jack Zwaska, an MFM board member who also served as executive director of the Television Music License Committee for 18 years. This honor is reserved for those who help grow MFM and BCCA. Hines’ work has helped many MFM and BCCA media companies — and many other media organizations — save money and improve their financial value. Hines has been an attorney with the Dow Lohnes for his entire career, recently cutting back his responsibilities from partner of the firm to being of counsel.
With a long list of accomplishments related to tax and corporate law spanning more than 40 years, Hines’ work has greatly benefitted the MFM and BCCA members. Numbering among these is his work on like-kind exchanges, which have to do with how companies are taxed when they swap media assets.
He has also been instrumental in championing the media industry’s positions concerning Section 199 of the Tax Code, which provides tax benefits for publications, films and TV programs produced in the U.S. Hines also coordinated TV industry tax-executive efforts concerning the FCC requirement to give up some of their frequency to Nextel in return for new digital equipment that allowed them to do a lot more with the reduced spectrum.
Hines’ contributions to MFM and the whole industry go well beyond his advocacy among regulators. He has contributed articles to MFM’s The Financial Manager magazine and written chapters for our Understanding Broadcast and Cable Finance Handbook and for NAB’s Legal Guide to Broadcast Law and Regulation and speaks on these issues at our annual conferences.
Chairman’s Award in Honor of Edward H. Deichman — Larry Marcus, Marcus Strategies
The MFM Board renamed this award, which pays tribute to those who have made a lasting contribution to the growth and expansion of MFM with their support and leadership, to bear the name of Ed Deichman, a two-time chairman of MFM who died last year.
Marcus, who co-founded the TV station group River City Broadcasting, today serves as principal of the consultancy Marcus Strategies, managing partner of Marcus Investments and CEO of Peak Media Holdings, a passive investor in TV stations.
Much in the same way that MFM was fortunate to have Ed Deichman at the helm to help guide us through the most recent economic downturn, Larry Marcus played that role during the 1990s recession, the first period when TV stations were negatively impacted by a financial crisis.
Marcus served as president of MFM, then known as the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association (BCFM), in the 1992-93 fiscal year following several years as a member of the organization’s executive committee. During this time, Marcus helped to start the metamorphosis of BCFM out of the downward spiral in membership and conference attendance resulting from cutbacks in company spending.
Marcus led the drive to survey members on what they needed most from the association and to align its programs accordingly. By 1995, the association’s membership climbed north of its earlier peak of 1,100 and it had acquired the “never assume” discipline toward its budgeting forecasts that has helped it to weather the several economic downturns that have occurred since.
Peter F. Szabo Career Achievement Award — Bonnie Krabbenhoft, Scripps Networks
Named in honor of the founder of Szabo Associates and one of the most ardent supporters of BCCA, the media industry’s credit reporting association, the Peter F. Szabo Career Achievement Award honors a past or current BCCA member whose efforts have contributed to the growth of the association and the industries it serves.
This year’s honoree, Bonnie Krabbenhoft, manager of credit collections and accounts receivable for Scripps Networks, has spent more than 25 years in the credit and collections field, including 15 years at Scripps and 10 years before that at TAK Communications. Always there to give us her perspective and knowledge, she participates in BCCA’s distance learning seminars and panel sessions and is an active member of the BCCA committee.
Most recently, Krabbenhoft has helped BCCA craft the Electronic Media Credit Application, which includes not only a new application for advertising sales, but also a database that will be a repository of media industry credit applications. EMCAPP will be rolled out to all BCCA members this fall.
BCCA Member Contributor Award — Scott Jenkins, ESPN
Scott Jenkins, director of customer marketing and sales within ESPN’s Controller’s Department, will receive the BCCA Member Contributor Award. This award recognizes BCCA members who have contributed significantly to the organization and the media credit and collection industry. Jenkins served as the BCCA representative to the MFM board for several years and has worked tirelessly on sessions for the annual conference and on BCCA seminars. Most recently, he has played a major role in supporting the EMCAPP initiative. In addition to identifying the questions and issues that needed to be considered as part of advancing EMCAPP, he brought in experts who helped us to address these areas.
Working Capital Award Winners
MFM and BCCA’s Working Capital Awards recognize members who have made significant contributions to help the association achieve its goals.
This year’s honorees:
- Eugene Levin, principal accounting officer, treasurer and controller, Entercom Communications, and executive director of the Radio Music Licensing Committee
- Jennifer Crabtree, regional controller, Local TV
- John Sanders, principal, Bond & Pecaro
- Robert Vonick, VP and senior tax counsel, The Walt Disney Co.
Rainmaker Award Winners
These annual awards recognize MFM and BCCA members whose efforts and contributions have helped the association grow.
- Gary Hoipkemier, SVP, CFO, treasurer and secretary for Shurz Communications
- Craig Martell, senior director of business development, American Enterprise Applications Division, Oracle
- François McGillicuddy, VP of finance and business operations, Speed
- Demeta Peterbark, senior manager of credit and collections, BET Networks
More information about our entire roster of 2012 awards recipients may be found in the current issue of The Financial Manager. I encourage you to check it out. Their stories are told by Janet Stilson, a longtime industry journalist and the magazine’s editor. She passes along some of their insights on the guiding principles and life lessons that truly make them remarkable individuals as well as leaders in our industry.
Please join me in congratulating them on their awards and, more importantly, on their noteworthy contributions to the our industry.
Mary M. Collins is president and CEO of the Media Financial Management Association and its BCCA subsidiary. Her column appears in TVNewsCheck every other week.You can read her earlier columns here.