Phil Bedella, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, VP/GM
With a quarter-century of hard work and dedication in the Chicago media industry, Phil Bedella continues to be an industry and civic leader, overseeing the continued growth of this city’s acclaimed 24-hour sports television network, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and its 24/7 online counterpart, CSNChicago.com.
Bedella was instrumental in successfully launching Comcast SportsNet Chicago in October of 2004, which immediately delivered the most comprehensive local sports coverage this city has ever seen. Since its launch, Comcast SportsNet has provided in-depth game, pre-game and post-game coverage for the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, plus expanded Bears pre/post-game coverage. In addition, the network introduced “SportsNet Central,” the area’s most comprehensive nightly local sports news show and “SportsTalk Live,” a weeknight talk show discussing the day’s most pressing sports stories. In addition, Bedella oversaw the launch CSNChicago.com, the network’s online counterpart that provides Chicago sports fans with the most up-to-the-minute coverage of the city’s professional, collegiate and preps sports scene 24/7.
Bedella, one of the Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s very first hires in 2004, previously held the title of VP of Advertising and directed the network’s efforts to launch its sales department. His leadership and dedication helped the sales dept. account for consistent, annual revenue growth, placing Comcast SportsNet Chicago as one of the nation’s best-performing sales departments for a regional sports television network.
In 2008, Bedella was promoted to Vice President/Assistant General Manager at Comcast SportsNet Chicago, as he worked closely with late network President Jim Corno to assist with the overall management of the station and the continued goal of seeking out new business opportunities and revenue streams.
Prior to joining Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Bedella was hired as the Local Sales Manager at Fox Sports Net Chicago in 1999. Three years later in 2002, he was named Vice President/ General Sales Manager of the station.
Bedella began his career in the local sports business in 1989 as a sales associate for the Chicago Cubs. Under the tutelage of current Chicago Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough, Bedella spent seven years with the Cubs, holding a variety of key positions including Manager of Broadcasting & Special Events and Manager of Luxury Suites. He also played a major role in managing the annually-sold out Cubs Convention from 1994-96 and oversaw the development and launch of the Wrigley Field Tours.
Following his tenure with the Cubs, Bedella was hired as Sr. Account Executive at CBS Sports Marketing in 1996, which was part of a sales group that launched Chicago Bears radio sales for CBS Sports Radio. He was promoted to Manager of Sports Sales of that division in 1997.
A native of Chicago, IL, Bedella continues to be an active member of the Illinois State University Alumni Advisory Board, the Media Advertising Club and the Chicago Latino Network. Bedella and his wife Arti, along with their two children Zara and Braden, reside in Wilmette, IL.
Jason Bernstein, Hawk-Eye North America (A Sony Company), Managing Director
Jason Bernstein is managing director for Hawk-Eye Innovations North America. He oversees the implementation of all U.S.-based agreements, including the growth and development of new business and technology advancements for clients in North America.
Bernstein’s focus is on expanding the use of Hawk-Eye’s live sports tracking, replay and officiating technology by U.S. sports leagues, professional teams and collegiate conferences, schools and universities, as well as amateur organizations; and developing new applications based on Hawk-Eye’s SMART Production System.
The group is also developing customized tracking and officiating software packages for auto racing, professional hockey and baseball. These systems are all based on Hawk-Eye’s SMART Replay Technology, which can also be easily adapted for the collegiate market.
Hawk-Eye Innovations North America also offers professional and collegiate coaching tools that provide instant analysis with video and statistical data, including the Hawk-Eye SMART Baseball Coaching system.
Prior to joining Sony, Bernstein managed digital media programming content acquisition, scheduling and distribution for ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3, and its authenticated networks service WatchESPN. He also led & managed content acquisition and scheduling strategy for ESPN’s tennis business. Additionally, he managed programming for ESPN’s competitive eating competitions (just a “taste”; more on that later).
Bernstein has led acquisitions leading to long-term extensions of the Australian Open, French Open, ATP and WTA TV and digital season-long content, the Wimbledon acquisition bringing The Championships exclusively to ESPN beginning in 2012, and a landmark 11-year agreement making ESPN the exclusive TV and digital home in North and South America of the US Open.
Bernstein is also the architect of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest as a made-for-TV event, bringing it to television for the first time in 2004.
Bernstein joined ESPN in 2002 as a program associate contributing to the tennis, baseball, boxing, soccer, skiing and bowling categories. He advanced to strategic program planner in 2003 and manager of program planning one year later, before assuming programming and acquisitions responsibility for multiple sport categories in 2006.
Before ESPN, Bernstein was media relations manager at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Bernstein graduated from Texas Tech University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He lives in Chicago’s North Side with his wife Sharon.
Robert Carzoli, Program Productions, President/CEO
As a second generation owner, Bob has overseen a decade of astronomical growth at Program Productions and now runs the broadcast industry’s largest labor management firm. Over the last eleven years, he has worked hard to not only expand the top-line revenues of the organization, but has created a workplace atmosphere and corporate culture that ensures his employees can deliver on the many promises he is known to make to our customers.
Since leaving DePaul University where he studied International Finance, Bob has worked in the staffing and employee benefits industries in a variety of senior management and ownership roles. He has been an active member of the American Staffing Association, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations and the Young Presidents’ Organization.
Bob is involved in a number of local and national charities and has just recently spearheaded Program Productions’ participation into the Sports Broadcasting Fund. Established in early 2012, the Sports Broadcasting Fund is designed to offer financial assistance to those technicians in the sports broadcast production community who find themselves and their family in need due to illness, death, or disaster.
Bob and his wife, Sue, have lived in the western suburbs of Chicago for twenty years where they raised their two college-aged children. In his free time, Bob enjoys traveling, playing golf and spending time with his six-year old English Bulldog, Beauregard.
Michael Connelly, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Networks, SVP/EP
Michael Connelly is responsible for the day-to-day production FSN’s 19 regional sports networks and national broadcasts of the PAC 12, Big 12, CUSA events and all studio shows that include College Football Saturday. He currently works in the Fox Sports Studios in Los Angeles.
At FOX Sports Arizona, he oversaw all aspects of the P/L including sales, production, programming, marketing, public relations and affiliate sales as FOX Sports Arizona is the state’s only regional sports cable network that reaches 3 million homes in Arizona and New Mexico. The network provides local cable and satellite coverage of MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, collegiate sports from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, the AFL’s Arizona Rattlers, the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, high school and many other popular regional sports programming options that are devoted to the state of Arizona teams and athletes.
He was instrumental in helping the network launch foxsportsarizona.com in 2009 and secure new long-term television rights agreements with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008, Phoenix Coyotes in 2010, Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Interscholastic Association in 2011, making FOX Sports Arizona the exclusive television home of the all three major professional sports teams beginning in 2011.
Connelly also served as the first Executive Producer for FOX Sports North in Minneapolis from 2001 to 2003 and oversaw the launch of FOX Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin in Milwaukee. There, he oversaw the production of the network’s regional sports programming that included comprehensive coverage of the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Lynx, collegiate events featuring the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin and Marquette University, plus magazine shows and special events. He also oversaw the transition of FSN North when FOX purchased the network from CBS in 2001.
As the network’s first-ever Executive Producer, Connelly first joined FOX Sports Arizona when it launched in September 1996. He led the production effort for FS Arizona’s regional programming and was instrumental in helping launch the highly-acclaimed Arizona Sports Report regional news & highlight show in July 2000. Connelly managed the debut of the Diamondbacks Baseball and Diamondbacks Countdown as well as Coyotes Hockey and Coyotes Countdown pre-game shows and also oversaw production of various magazine shows devoted to FSN Arizona’s two collegiate sports properties.
Prior to the launch of FS Arizona, Connelly worked as a producer and director for 15 years for FSN, CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, The Baseball Network and Midwest Sports Channel. Local team productions include the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota North Stars, Minnesota Wild, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Minnesota Wild and the Big Ten Conference. He received a Midwest Regional Emmy Award in 1996 and 1997 for his work producing coverage of University of Minnesota hockey and received Emmy nominations for his work on Twins and Timberwolves telecasts.
At the start of his career in sports television, Connelly worked for nine years finishing as coordinating producer and senior line producer at CBS O&O, WCCO Television and Midwest Sports Channel. He joined the network at its inception in 1989 when it was known as WCCO 2, and received the first of what would be two experiences in helping launch a regional sports television network. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Connelly attended the University of Minnesota’s School of Mass Communications and Brown College of Broadcast Engineering. He and his wife Cara reside in LA and have two children, Anna and Jack.
Jim Corno, Jr., Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Executive Producer, Events
A standout producer/director in the regional sports business for over 25 years, Jim Corno, Jr. has handled all aspects of pro sports productions in his career. From his Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award-winning work on game productions for the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, along with countless collegiate and prep events, Corno began his career with SportsChannel Chicago as a freelance as an Associate Producer, Stage Manager, Photographer, Studio Technician and Editor.
From there, that led to his dream moment of producing and directing live sporting events for both SportsChannel and its successor, Fox SportsNet Chicago. In 2004, Corno was hired on at Comcast SportsNet Chicago as a production manager, before his promotion to his current role as Executive Producer-Live Events, where he is responsible for personnel, content, execution, budgeting and integration with a variety of other departments at CSN Chicago and with other RSN’s from around the country. Corno graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, where he also spent four years as a star athlete for the school’s men’s soccer team. His mentor is his father, the later Jim Corno, Sr., who was a pioneer in the regional sports business for over 30 years. Corno and his wife Lori reside in Batavia, IL with their sons Max and Joe.
Jen Franklin, NBC Sports Regional Networks, VP Digital
Jen Franklin, Vice President of Digital Media for the NBC Sports Regional Networks, oversees all digital, mobile and social platforms for the San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Portland and New York networks. Franklin is responsible for the day-to-day operations and growth of the sites including live streaming, strategy, revenue generation, marketing, product and editorial programming.
Under Franklin, Comcast SportsNet launched TV Everywhere, allowing authenticated viewers to stream live games and related coverage of the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. She previously served as Vice President of Digital Media for Comcast SportNet Bay Area and was instrumental in forging a partnership with Yahoo! Sports, resulting in the Bay Area’s first interactive sports talk show, “Yahoo! SportsTalk Live”. While at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Franklin also held marketing, affiliate sales and on-air promotion positions.
Franklin, a four-time Northern California Emmy Award winner, serves on the board of Women in Cable and Telecommunication’s New York chapter and previously sat on the board for WICT NorCal. She’s also on the board of the Urban League of Southern Connecticut and was listed as a “Top Woman in Digital” by Cynopsis in 2015, and a “Woman of Power” by the ULSC in 2014.
A native of Walnut Creek, Calif., Franklin received her bachelor of art degree in broadcast management from Arizona State University. She currently resides in Stamford, CT.
Phillip Garvin, Mobile TV Group, GM and Founder
Philip Garvin is the President/Founder/Co-Owner of the Mobile Television Group, the nation’s 2nd largest mobile production facilities company. He is also the co-founder, General Manager, and COO of HDNet the all-high definition national television network, and the President of Colorado Studios.
A graduate of Yale University, Garvin started his career as a photographer (receiving National Book Award nominations for two of his books) before moving into television in the mid-seventies. He produced and directed numerous programs for PBS including Religious America and Countdown to the White House, and mini-docs for CBS Sunday Morning. In 1983 he helped launch The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and was its Managing Producer in Denver.
Garvin has built his businesses around his experience as a creative producer and technologist. By combining both skills he has been able to offer cost-effective production solutions unique in the industry. Since 1980 he has built three companies playing a major role in sports television production while continuing to work with the Newshour and other clients.
Mobile TV Group (including Mountain Mobile TV, Lone Star Mobile TV, and Western Mobile TV) provides facilities for over 4,000 live professional and college sports events each year with 26 mobile units based all over the U.S. It is the leading mobile company for regional sports networks’ MLB, NBA, and NHL productions and developed the “dual feed” approach.
As President of Colorado Studios, Garvin leads a team which manufactures and provides system integration for mobile production units. Colorado Studios also provides production and postproduction services to the Newshour worldwide and studio production for the Colorado-based production community.
Steve Grigely, Fox Sports Networks, VP Technical Operations
Stephen Grigely began his television career in 2002 freelancing while attending Arizona State University. After graduating in 2006 he was hired by CBS Mobile in Los Angeles. Grigely and a small team helped launch the start of CBS Mobile, streaming network content to mobile phone subscribers. After a year at CBS Grigely had the desire to return to the Sports Broadcast industry. In 2007 he was hired at Fox Sports as a Production Coordinator. Grigely immediately made an impact on Fox’s biggest shows, managing production services and crewing for Super Bowl’s in Arizona, and Dallas as well as the Daytona 500 and World Series. In 2009 Grigely was promoted to Manager of Field Operations and began taking on technical responsibility. With Fox’s growing number of sports properties Grigely assumed additional responsibilities in project management. He started overseeing mobile unit and vendor equipment deals, as well as the NFL on Fox, and its Soccer properties. In 2013 he was promoted to Director, Technical Operations and continued to flourish in managing major Jewel events such as Super Bowl XLVIII in New York and the World Series. In 2015 Grigely, transitioned to the RSN’s overseeing Operations for Fox Sports Regional Networks, as Vice President, Technical Operations. Grigely continues his role at Fox Sports Networks today, focusing on improving mobile unit equipment, finding production efficiencies, and expanding technology in Fox Sports Regional broadcasts.
Gerard Hall, SMT, Founder/President/CEO
Gerard J. Hall is the founder, president and chief executive officer of SMT. SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology Corporation) is the pioneer in real-time graphics, tickers, clock-and-score, virtual insertions and social media integration for live televised sporting and entertainment events.
Gerard’s career in sports television began in 1988 when, as a graduate student, he developed a wireless, real-time electronic scoring system for PGA events, replacing the standard walkie-talkie communication that was previously used to update leaderboards. He provided this interface from 1988 to 1991 for NBC Sports.
Upon graduation from Harvard University in 1981, Gerard won the prestigious St. Andrew’s Scholarship to attend Scotland’s University of Edinburgh where he pursued a Master of Science in computer science. Gerard continued his graduate studies while teaching computer science at the University of Central Florida before leaving in 1986 to work with the Epson Computer Corporation.
SportsMEDIA Technology Corporation was formally incorporated in June 1990 with an eye toward offering TV interface technology to other sports television broadcasters. Shortly thereafter, SportsMEDIA signed an exclusive four-year agreement with ESPN to provide interface TV graphics services for NASCAR/IndyCar, NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and NCAA basketball. During the formative years of SportsMEDIA, Gerard was the architect of electronic scoring systems for the PGA Tour, IndyCar and the X Games.
Gerard forever etched a mark on the sports television and cultural landscape in 1997 as the pioneer and creative force behind the design and development of the SportsMEDIA Autograph device. The SportsMEDIA Autograph became known as the FOX Box and blazed the trail for the proliferation of the constant on-air graphic scoreboards that are now standard operating procedure for all sports telecasts.
In 2000, Gerard made the strategic decision to invest significant R&D resources to develop virtual insertion technology for sports television based on his belief that, in time, the traditional 30-second commercial will become obsolete and that more advertisers will virtually insert messages into the live action of sports telecasts. Gerard patented and launched SportsMEDIA’s SMART virtual insertion technology in 2002.
In 2005, Gerard guided the further diversification and expansion of SportsMEDIA’s on-air product offerings by overseeing the development of SportsMEDIA’s studio-based Ticker System and SportsMEDIA’s Telestration System with Rolling Zoom and Feature Tracking.
The 2006 debut of SportsMEDIA’s telestration technology for the first time provided TV analysts with a “digital magnifying glass” capable of zooming into live or recorded image sequences to examine action at levels never before seen.
Gerard rebranded SportsMEDIA Technology Corporation to SMT in 2011 in order to grow into other markets and expand its global footprint. To that end, SMT in 2012 acquired Jacksonville, Fla.-based IDS (Information and Display Systems), provider of scoring, results and statistics on-site for live games.
Gerard has a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University. Born in Scotland, Gerard was raised in New Jersey and lives in Durham with his wife, Laura, and their four children.
Joseph Maar, NESN, VP of Programming & Production/Executive Producer
Maar is the VP of Programming & Production, Executive Producer at NESN which Forbes.com recently ranked as the 9th Most Valuable Sports Business Brand in the World (Oct, 2015). His responsibilities include programming and production of two regional networks plus NESN National reaching a combined 9.5M homes.
A television executive with two decades of achievements, Maar has been innovating, developing and managing network divisions, new shows and advanced media technologies for international, national and regional television networks. His experience spans broadcast, mobile, interactive, live event, studio, documentary and edited series.
He’s known for innovative programming and co-creating new production technologies with Silicon Valley and high tech startups, working on the leading edge of industry developments.
Hired at NESN in 2012, Maar oversees the network’s content vision, planning and production of live events, studio shows, documentaries, episodic series and a wide range of original entertainment shows.
Prior to arriving at NESN, Maar was lead consultant for the country of Qatar in planning the launch of a youth-based network for 15-30 year olds. Starting in 2007, he spent five years as a coordinating producer with executive producer responsibilities at Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin. At FSN, Maar oversaw coverage of seven teams and original programming in a five state area spanning approximately 10M homes. Additionally he had joint-responsibility for managing and re-launching digital media.
From 2000-2006, Mr. Maar was coordinating director and director of operations at ESPN, co-launching the network’s Original Entertainment Division, creating 20+ new shows, developing 12 new studios nationally and overseeing the shows’ operations and directorial staff with budgetary responsibilities in excess of 20M. Two of the hit shows he co-created in 2001-2002 are still hit shows today: Pardon the Interruption (#1 daily cable show, 18-34M) & Around The Horn (ESPN’s top show for 12-24 year olds).
From 1990-2000, he was a producer/director with managerial responsibilities at FOX affiliate KTVU (San Francisco) plus freelance for ABC Sports and other broadcast organizations. He also wrote a monthly column for several television trade magazines and consulted on the development of control room automation (formerly ParkerVision, now Grass Valley Ignite.)
Maar has been awarded 3 national Emmy Awards, 20+ regional Emmys and a bevy of national honors in a range of categories including: live sports, entertainment, news, documentary and children’s programming. He’s covered 6 Super Bowl pre-games and a wide range of news, sports and entertainment specials both in the US and Internationally.
Larry Meyers, TWC Sports, VP, Content and Executive Producer
Larry Meyers is the Vice President, Content and Executive Producer for TWC Sports Regional Networks. He is responsible for all event, studio and original production for Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, the local TV homes of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks. Time Warner Cable Deportes is the nation’s first-ever Spanish-language regional sports network (RSN).He also oversees production for SportsNet LA, the regional television network of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Meyers oversees more than 500 (SN + D + SNLA) live sporting events per year on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes and SportsNet LA, plus the networks’ weekly behind-the-scenes documentary franchise “Backstage,” live, daily studio programs “Access SportsNet” and “Tu Show Deportivo” and other original programming. He began his career in sports television in 1980 working in TV trucks producing and directing regional and national sports live event programming and over the years has worked his way up to his current position.
Before joining Time Warner Cable Sports, Meyers spent nine years at Tennis Channel as the Senior Vice President, Production and Executive Producer. In that role he was responsible for the channel’s original programming and national and international live events. Prior to that, he spent seven years at Fox, working in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Meyers has won seven local Emmy Awards for his work at Time Warner Cable Sports and Fox and one national Emmy for his work covering the 1988 Seoul Olympics for NBC.
Meyers is originally from Oakland, CA and graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles. He lives in Los Angeles and is married with two daughters.
Ken Miller, KSE/Altitude Sports & Entertainment, SVP Production & Programming
Ken Miller joined Altitude Sports in January of this year as Senior Vice President of Production and Programming. His primary role is to oversee all aspects of game show productions for the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth and Colorado Rapids.
Miller spent the last 12 years as VP, Executive Producer for FOX Sports/ROOT Sports. Miller joins Altitude with over 25 years of experience in the production industry and brings a wealth of experience having worked on network productions of seven Super Bowls, directed over 3,000 live sports and entertainment events, and produced/directed two Masters Golf Tournaments for Star TV international broadcast. Additionally, he has been recognized as one of the industry’s best, winning 17 regional Emmy Awards and one National Cable Ace Award for producing/directing.
Miller was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and attended John F. Kennedy High School. He graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.
Matt Scalici, PSSI, GM
Matt Scalici is the general manager of Production & Satellite Services, Inc. (PSSI), a satellite transmission and event management company.
Matt has 36 years of extensive experience working in satellite and cable television. His sharp business and technical management skills have already proven valuable to PSSI—he’s acted as a consultant over the past year. PSSI is confident that Matt’s insight and knowledge will be beneficial as the company further expands their global footprint.
Matt has a long history with this industry, and has been a ground-floor member of several significant start-up companies, including EWTN, The Global Catholic Network and the Golf Channel. He has built and managed production studios, mobile production units, teleports, mobile satellites and broadcast facilities, including the first digital network facility in the U.S. in 1994.
During his tenure as VP of Network Operations at The Golf Channel, he oversaw the launch of one of the most profitable channels ever, and developed digital sideband carriers for international distribution. Matt oversaw nearly 160 production days per year, making him one of the most frequent users of mobile production and satellite uplink trucks in the country at the time.
Mark Shuken, TWC Regional Sports Networks, SVP/General Manager
Mark Shuken is the Senior Vice President and General Manager for TWC Sports Networks. He oversees the programming, network operations, and business operations of Time Warner Cable’s regional sports networks (RSNs), Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, which feature the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles Sparks, extensive behind-the-scenes programming and more than 180 live sporting events per year apiece. He also manages SportsNet LA, the regional television network of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and oversees Time Warner Cable’s local sports channels across the country. He has worked in sports programming for more than 25 years and has extensive experience launching and leading RSNs.
Before joining Time Warner Cable, Shuken served as President and CEO of DIRECTV Sports Networks, where he was responsible for all of the company’s RSNs. Previously, he created and led a stand-alone division of regional sports networks as the President and CEO of Liberty Sports Group and before that was the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Fox Sports Net Northwest.
Shuken is committed to numerous community service initiatives, and currently advises the West Coast Sports Medicine Foundation, which provides free sports medicine and training opportunities for underprivileged students, and NextStep Fitness, which serves individuals afflicted with paralysis and motor skills injuries. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Washington and on the Boards of Directors for The First Tee of Greater Seattle and the Seattle Sports Commission. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Santa Clara and resides in Los Angeles.
Jon Slobotkin, NBC Sports Regional Networks, VP/Executive Producer – Live Events
As Vice President, Slobotkin oversees all aspects of live sports event coverage for 11 regional sports networks (Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, Comcast Sportsnet California, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast Sportsnet Houston, Comcast Sportsnet New England, Comcast Sportsnet Northwest, Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia, Comcast Sports Southeast, The Comcast Network and Sportsnet New York) producing over 2400 live events per year. Jon as a Producer at Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia produced over 1,500 live events, primarily Philadelphia Phillies telecasts, for both cable and over-the-air. He is a 6-time Mid-Atlantic Region Emmy award winner and a 30-time nominee. He graduated from Temple University. He is married with children.
Michael Spirito, FOX Sports Regional Networks, VP, Business Development and Digital Media
Michael Spirito currently serves as the head of business development and digital media at the FOX Sports regional sports networks, as well as at the YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) Network which he joined in 2006. Over the past 10 years, Michael has been a pioneer in the digital media business, highlighted by the launch of the first in-market live game streaming product in MLB history in 2009, which was also the first authenticated ‘TV Everywhere’ product in professional sports. Other achievements include establishing YES’s industry leading presence in social media and first of their kind deals with Facebook and Google, YES’s partnerships with Arsenal Football Club and Manchester City and multiple traditional and digital distribution initiatives. From 2000 to 2004, Michael was a founding member of Time Warner Ventures, where he invested in the digital media space, leading deals in and serving as a board member of companies such as N2 Broadband (acquired by Tandberg TV in 2005) and BigBand Networks (IPO in 2007). Michael began his career as an investment banking analyst in the Media/Telecom group at Credit Suisse.
Michael is a 2-time Emmy Award winner, has been the recipient of Multichannel News’ “40 under 40,” and has been named to the CableFax’s “Digital Hot List” for seven consecutive years.
Tom Stathakes, NBC Sports Regional Networks, SVP Production and Programming
Tom Stathakes was named Senior Vice President for Programming, News and Operations of NBC Sports’ regional networks in April 2012. These local networks deliver 2,400 sporting events annually along with breaking news and comprehensive analysis to more than 50 million cable and satellite homes.
NBC Sports’ regional networks include: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet New England, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, SNY, CSS, Comcast Sports Southwest and Comcast Sportsnet Houston, which launched on October 1, 2012.
Prior to being named to this newly created position, Stathakes was Senior Vice President, Programming, Production and Network Operations for the Golf Channel, a multi-media, golf entertainment and services company and part of the NBC Sports Group. In this role, Stathakes was responsible for all aspects of production for programming on Golf Channel, including tournament coverage, news, original productions and operations. In addition, Stathakes was responsible for scheduling strategies designed to maximize network viewership, including creating and acquiring new programming, research, scheduling and strategic partnership initiatives.
Stathakes is a veteran of the Comcast sports management team, where from 1997 to 2008, he served as senior executive producer and senior vice president of programming for Comcast’s then eleven regional networks.
Stathakes began his career in Philadelphia at KYW-TV in 1983. He served as Sports Director from 1988 to 1997 and was a writer and producer from 1984 to 1988.
Jerry Steinberg, Industry Consultant
Howard Zalkowitz, NESN, Director of Production/Senior Coordinating Producer
Howard Zalkowitz joined NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, as the Director of Production/Senior Coordinating Producer in September 2013. He oversees day-to-day remote and studio production for NESN’s Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins broadcasts and manages the producers and directors for those properties. In 2014 Zalkowitz was part of a core development team that introduced five new network shows. He supervised a live commercial-free baseball pregame show for kids called NESN Clubhouse, a Red Sox All-Access show, and a year-long celebration of NESN’s 30th anniversary that included a documentary and the production of 200 vignettes.
From 1995-2012, Zalkowitz was a producer and executive at Turner Sports. As the Vice President of Production from 2008-2012, he ran content and cross-departmental integration for the NBA on TNT, NCAA Tournament on Turner and MLB on TBS. He was part of the Turner-CBS NCAA Tournament team that launched the unprecedented four-network, three-studio presentation. In 2007-2008, he was a key member of the NBA Digital Re-Launch team as NBATV moved from New Jersey to Atlanta. During his tenure at Turner Sports, Zalkowitz spearheaded cross-platform creative projects such as TNT NBA All-Decade, All-Star Horse and TNT NBA Fundamentals. His graphic innovations included the red-green-yellow Chase indicator in NASCAR and the NHL scrolling lineup lines in hockey.
A nine-time Emmy Award winner, Zalkowitz is a member of Broadcasting & Cable’s 2008 class of Next Wave of Industry Leaders. He is a 1990 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Zalkowitz began his career at CBS Sports as an Olympic Researcher for the 1992 Albertville and 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games. He and his Brazilian wife are proud parents of two young bilingual daughters.