Light Reading Podcasts


Reminiscing with Bob Gold about cable milestones, Dan Aykroyd and media screwups

Season 2

If you've been in the cable tech industry for more than five minutes, there's a good chance you know Bob Gold, the super-energetic PR/marketing guy and Cable TV Pioneer who's been representing cable tech companies and startups since the late 1990s. Gold got his agency start representing a video remultiplexing company (sexy, right?) called Imedia. 

Since then, off the top of this hack's head, he's flacked for is currently flacking for companies such as Canal Plus, Pioneer (back when it was making cable boxes and interactive guides), Media One, Incanta and ClearBand (we'll get to that those in more detail), Plume, the recently rechristened National Content & Technology Association (NCTC) and Vidgo, a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) that competes in the market with the likes of YouTube TV, Hulu, Philo and Sling TV.

Full disclosure – he and the crew at Bob Gold & Associates have pitched a ton of stories to me about many of them over the years. Bob and I don't always see eye-to-eye, but I've written about many of them over the years. And Gold did nominate me for the Cable TV Pioneers class of 2018, so perhaps I wasn't as big of a jerk to him, his staff and his clients over the years as I thought I was. Hey, I tried. 

Usually news tied to Gold has to do with a company he represents, but this time it's all about Bob – his agency recently turned 25-years-old. He got that up and running about the time I started writing about the industry and had to Google "DOCSIS" to figure out what the heck I was about to do my first story on.

So, we've got a lot of industry stuff in common, enough that it made sense to get together on the podcast and hop in the "Wayback Machine" to reminisce about the last two decades-plus.

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here's a timestamped list of the convo: 

  • How Gold and the crew celebrated the silver anniversary. And, yes, a PR crisis did interfere (1:15) 
  • How Gold, whose background includes marketing and communications exec roles with major cable programmers, turned a disaster into a new career as the head of an agency that focused on the crazy world of tech – and other stuff (5:50) 
  • How a top exec of a company didn't even believe in a fiber-based product that was being pitching to the press (12:30) 
  • How startups like Incanta and ClearBand had great ideas about streaming TV to devices but were just too early with respect to tech or content rights… or both (14:00) 
  • How Gold pitched me on a cable theft story, and I royally screwed up the embargo and the bad guy got away (15:30) 
  • Which client was Gold's greatest completed Hail Mary (18:30) 
  • Why Dan Aykroyd was Gold's favorite celeb to work with, back when video-on-demand was just appearing on the cable scene (20:30) 
  • Why Gold, at one time, viewed Amazon Prime as the most infuriating organization (24:00) 
  • Gold's biggest gain. After the fact, he told me to add Plume to the list (26:44) 
  • Gold's proudest moment – next to being my guest on the podcast, of course (27:30)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading