Cable Tech

NCTC CEO Rich Fickle sets his exit

A major change is underway at the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) with confirmation that Rich Fickle, its CEO for the past ten years, is leaving the organization.

The NCTC has launched a search for Fickle's successor (the co-op said potential candidates could contact Carlsen Resources Inc. regarding the post) but noted that Fickle would be available through the end of 2021 to ensure a successful transition. Word got around quick today, as CableFAX was also tipped on the news.

Fickle's replacement will lead an organization that strikes and manages programming distribution and technology deals (including a MobiTV agreement that's in a perilous position as the vendor makes its way through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process) for hundreds of independent operators.

Fickle, a cable industry vet late of Tele-Communications Inc., AT&T Broadband and Ascent Media, was named CEO of the NCTC in June 2011 following a months-long search to replace the organization's previous CEO, Jeff Abbas.

The NCTC, which said it's in a "strong financial position," noted that Fickle is not planning to retire but planning to "enjoy a bit more flexibility with time and pursue projects where he can be of help."

"I have made the tough decision that it is time to step aside and allow for [a] new CEO to step in who can continue to bring fresh ideas and leadership at the NCTC," Fickle said in a statement. "NCTC is in a great place coming off several successful years and is poised to do even more for you all in future years."

In addition to striking programming deals on behalf of its members, the NCTC, under Fickle, has also focused on inking agreements related to next-gen pay-TV services and OTT options. Aside from the aforementioned MobiTV agreement, NCTC has also carved out member deals for Amazon Fire TV and Kaon-made Android TV streaming/media players, partnerships with virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) such as Philo and FuboTV, and helped develop "VU-IT!," a TiVo program tailored for small, independent service providers.

Other relatively recent NCTC deals have focused on cable broadband transport initiatives and access network technologies, including one with Harmonic for the vendor's "CableOS" virtualization platform and a project aimed at helping members get improved access to peering sites while lowering transport costs.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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