End of an Era

Friday, March 29, 2013, is a major day in the history of Light Reading for three main reasons --a namely, Phil Harvey, Jeff Baumgartner and Carol Wilson. This trio have been instrumental in Light Reading's editorial and event content and output during the past years and have always done so with professionalism and a hearty laugh. Phil 'The Philter' Harvey (Sept. 2000 – March 2013)
Phil was one of the earliest editorial recruits at Light Reading, joining in 2000, when SDN meant synchronous digital networking. That means he's been informing and entertaining the Light Reading community for more than 12 years, the past five-and-a-bit as editor-in-chief. ("When I got the job I thought I'd only have to hold down the post until the Mayan apocalypse …" he noted earlier today.)
Phil Harvey looks for his next soda
There are many anecdotes I could share about Phil, but this is a family publication. So I asked him to pick out some of the highlights from the past 12 years that still brought a smile to his face. "Meeting and interviewing Lightworks Lou [the former Ciena figurehead] in 2006 was just great. I asked him a bunch of questions -- he just nodded and showed me his wrench." (You can see that particular video encounter right here, at about the 2:40 mark.) "Then there was the time in 2002 when the OFC didn't want us to be any kind of official news partner of the show, so we acclaimed ourselves as the un-official show coverage team and positioned our coverage as 'Not the OFC'. We had some of our biggest ever page views. We had six or seven editors there, all of whom were officially not reporting on what was happening at the OFC show, not officially attending press briefings, officially not going to evening parties. It was funny …" And Phil also recalls how important it is that people have access to sweet, health-corroding liquid. "I remember when Light Reading was acquired by CMP in 2006 and we moved into the new AT&T building in New York City. Shortly after the move it was decided that there would be no more free soda in the office. That was the most hysterical I ever saw a whole office. It mobilized everyone in a way I hadn't seen before or anywhere since. What it taught me is that people need soda." That sends a clear message to Phil's next employer (to be revealed soon, folks): Stock up on liquids. Jeff 'Cable Guy' Baumgartner (April 2007 – March 2013)
There's a very close link between Phil and Jeff, who has been Light Reading Cable editor for almost exactly seven years: On the day Jeff joined the Light Reading team, April 1, 2007, Phil wrote this story, which caused a storm in the industry, generated tens of thousands of page views and gave Jeff some real insight into the Light Reading team mindset. Since then Jeff has been interviewing, writing and publishing stories at an almost inhuman rate, contributing his insights into the world of cable, video and broadband at times of the day and year when all other life forms are either too tired or too drunk to even find a keyboard. And his reputation is even greater than his output, which says a lot.
Jeff Baumgartner gets cable
So what have been his fun-filled highlights? Again, Phil Harvey features prominently. "There are lots, but I’ll always remember covering my first cable show as a Light Reading staffer and not having a good fix on what was really expected of me and how I would fit in. I spent a good part of that show in Las Vegas digging into Docsis 3.0, calling it the coming out party for cable's wideband platform, and being pretty darn proud of myself for identifying the trend." But he had company. "Meanwhile, Phil, who also was at the show, posted a blog about the lousy conditions of the Excalibur Hotel that still splits my sides. His description of the bathroom fan switch gave the piece just the right touch." (See Hotel Hell.) "Another fun memory was tormenting chief copy editor Kevin Cramer [defender of style and all good content stuff] with story after story about the FCC ban on integrated set-top box security to the point that he threatened to gouge his eyes out with a soup spoon if he had to suffer through editing just one more of those articles. I believe he still has his eyesight …" There were many more good times with Jeff, but now he gets to make new friends elsewhere in cable news land. Carol 'Blackhawk' Wilson (Oct. 2009 – March 2013)
Carol Wilson is one of the best known media names in the telecom sector, having built a reputation at Telephony magazine (later Connected Planet). So she deserved a lot of respect when she joined Light Reading in October 2009. And respect was duly given, once she had bought a round of drinks in the Hilton Hotel bar at the Ethernet Expo show in New York City only days later. (It's not what you've done professionally, it's how quickly you can carry a full tray of tequila that really counts in this business…)
'This is Carol Wilson, for
Light Reading'

Carol soon became involved in the Light Reading expos and conferences, particularly TelcoTV (now TelcoVision), and in January 2012 switched away from the editorial team to become a senior member of the events team. But that didn't stop her being a regular contributor to the news flow on the site and a frequent contributor to Light Reading TV, where she became known for her "This is Carol Wilson for Light Reading TV" sign-off. Carol is also one of the funniest people you could wish to meet and is the star of what, in my view, is one of the finest telecom industry video reports EVER -- Buzzin' at Ethernet Europe. She is also known for getting up at 4 a.m. when on her European travels to tune in for the latest Internet radio reports about the Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey team. The Blackhawks, she said earlier today, are "currently the best team in the NHL." And I had only asked her how she was doing! (Their health is her health, it seems …) Carol isn't leaving the industry just yet, though, as she is headed to the TM Forum, right at the heart of the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) sector. (They love the term SPIT over at the TMF…) So it's a fond farewell to Phil, Jeff and Carol. Please join me in wishing them well and thanking them for all their efforts during the collective 23 years of service at Light Reading. — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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igillath 4/1/2013 | 9:11:05 PM
re: End of an Era Very nice tribute Ray. Good luck Phil, Carol, and Jeff in your new-áventures.-á
Ray Le Maistre 3/29/2013 | 11:36:56 PM
re: End of an Era Two sources? I'm afraid I don't understand that concept...
Jeff Baumgartner 3/29/2013 | 10:46:23 PM
re: End of an Era Thanks, Sarah.-á Enjoyed working with you and always appreciated the-áhustle and hard work you brought every day.-á-á And you were always willing to lend a hand when I pinged you on OC to edit a cable story. JB
josephbraue 3/29/2013 | 10:16:20 PM
re: End of an Era Classy tribute Ray. Best of luck to Phil, Carol, and Jeff. And good luck to you Ray as you captain the great LR ship to new worlds with the best of breed journalism and take-no-prisoners attitude that has served the brand so well.
Jeff Baumgartner 3/29/2013 | 8:43:38 PM
re: End of an Era Oh, and I can't believe I forgot to mention this one... when "Ugly George" -ágraced us with his presence at our first-ever Light Reading Cable event on biz services:-á http://www.lightreading.com/bl...

Good times.
Scott Raynovich 3/29/2013 | 8:17:31 PM
re: End of an Era Thanks Ray, classic stuff. Nice write-up! UBM has made up for the prior omissions. Makes me all weepy-eyed for the days of yore. I had to listen to the sound of Phil's wheezing Excalibur fan, as hilarious as ever. Good luck to Phil, Jeff, and Carol -- I'm sure we'll all run into each other again out there chasing bits.-á
Sarah Thomas 3/29/2013 | 7:40:25 PM
re: End of an Era Phil, Carol, and Jeff, you will be sorely missed around here! It's been a great experience working with you and learning from you three these past 3 years (and 6 with Carol!). Best of luck!
mendyk 3/29/2013 | 7:10:32 PM
re: End of an Era Well wishes to all. But this just makes more work for me -- now I have to find new people to trade snarky IMs with during our corporate staff meetings. Ray, I hope you're up for this.
brookseven 3/29/2013 | 7:03:00 PM
re: End of an Era Moi....I am the kindness and most gentle of people. -áBut yes, Carol I enjoyed our exchanges.


cnwedit 3/29/2013 | 6:59:22 PM
re: End of an Era So I didn't get back to Ray in time to include any funny moments from my time at LR. One of them was certainly the video Ray references - he forced me to make it after one off-hand comment in our LR "press room" at Ethernet Expo Europe. But another that comes to mind happened right after I joined the LR staff in 2009. I was at TelcoTV, with Phil and Craig Matsumoto, and a woman came up to me, identified herself as a rural telco exec and started gushing about me, my work and what a fan she was. After she walked away, I was a little embarassed but Phil saved the day. "Don't worry, that kind of thing will never-áhappen to you at Light Reading." And, of course, he was right. LR's discerning readers regularly ripped apart my earnest reporting (yes, brookseven, I mean you) but it was always-áfun to see folks so engaged. And it was actually 2 a.m. that I got up, while in Munich, to listen to a Blackhawks game via Internet -- they lost and I paid for it dearly the next day, trying to keep my eyes open during a panel discussion of end-to-end Ethernet service management...that I was moderating.
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