Pagano Receives Lifetime Achievement Emmy

The retired ESPN executive is honored at the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards

By Michael Silbergleid, Contributor

When someone mentions the term sports television, one immediately thinks of ESPN. When the term sports-television engineering is brought up, thoughts almost immediately turn to this year’s National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Chuck Pagano, the now retired EVP of technology/CTO of ESPN.

Presented at the 67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards during CES, this was the latest in a long list of honors bestowed on Pagano. He was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2013, received SMPTE’s David Sarnoff Medal in the same year, and was inducted into Broadcasting & Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Not bad for someone who started his media career as a radio disc jockey and who was technical director for the first night of SportsCenter.

Chuck Pagano with his Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award

Chuck Pagano with his Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award

Introducing Pagano, George Bodenheimer (whom Pagano introduced when the former ESPN president received the 2014 Sports Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sports Emmy Awards) summed up his close friend simply: “Chuck inspired the ESPN company to innovate. Yes, it was an innovative company from the beginning, but it takes a lot of work year after year to continue to innovate, and Chuck really inspired us to do that.”

Pagano started at what was then the ESP Network in 1979 just before it began broadcasting. Since then, he has overseen the transitions from analog to digital, SD to HD, and HD to 3G in the original Digital Center (2004) and DC2 (2011). All this, while not being a die-hard sports fan. Engineering is his passion. “Be an engineer, and change the world,” he said in his acceptance speech.

“I got to work for the world’s greatest startup,” he added. Thanking his colleagues and friends at ESPN, ABC, and Disney for their “unbridled support and passion during my 35-plus–year journey,” he especially thanked his ESPN technology team for “getting that job done and for living the ESPN mission, which is simply ‘to serve sports fans, anytime, anywhere.’ I want to thank you guys for letting me work for you, and each and every one of you being part of my team was an honor.”

He ended his emotional speech by thanking his family, those in attendance and not, and said, “I wish each and every one of you here tonight an awesome journey and a wonderful goodnight.”

67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Award Honorees
NATAS presented 11 Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards, honoring 25 individuals and companies at the ceremony, hosted by Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue.

Recipients of the 67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards

Recipients of the 67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards

“The National Academy’s Technology and Engineering Achievement Committee is pleased to honor these technology companies and individuals whose innovation and vision have materially affected the way the audience views television and have set the standard for technological excellence in the industry,” said Robert P. Seidel, VP, CBS Engineering and Advanced Technology/chairman, Engineering Achievement Committee, NATAS.

These individuals and companies received a 2015 Technical/Engineering Achievement Award:

  • BCS (now part of Imagine Communications) for Pioneering Optimization of Advertising Placement in Single Channel Linear Television Programs
  • Netflix, Home Box Office (HBO), Telestream, SMPTE, and W3C for Standardization and Pioneering Development of Non-Live Broadband Captioning
  • Ross Video for Open Modular Platform for Broadcast and Production Distribution and Conversion Equipment
  • Valens Semiconductor for Development and Standardization of HDBaseT Connectivity Technology for Commercial and Residential HDMI/DVI Installations
  • Nexidia for Phonetic Indexing and Timing
  • Nielsen, Civolution, Digimarc, and Verance for Steganographic Technologies for Audio/Video
  • Autodesk, Cast-Soft, Innoventive Software, and Robert Abel (posthumous) for Pre-Production Visualization System
  • Alexander Bain (posthumous) for The Concept of Scanning for Image Transmission
  • MSA (Management Science Associates) and Turner for Pioneering Development of Data-Driven Traffic Systems for Multichannel Environments
  • MACOM for Development of Enabling Technology for High-Density Video Switching and Routing Solutions
  • DirecTV, Echostar, Ericsson, and Harmonic for Closed-Loop Statistical Multiplexing of Geographically Distributed Encoders

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters