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- One big happy family
The first which has impacted on thousands of lives is Peter's drive to help improve the health and wellbeing of people through various running programmes. Enda had been a keen athlete who enjoyed running and Peter, also a keen runner, created the 'Run for Enda' which has become an annual event attracting thousands each year. The training programmes are a chance for people who don't exercise to change the quality of their lives and hundreds have taken part. Peter says: "We are just coming to the end of our couch to 5km and half marathon training programmes and this year we had over people taking part.
They will now be aiming to run the Omagh half marathon and the 5km on April 6. We also have a range of merchandise now with the Run for Enda logo and you see the hoodies and T-shirts everywhere. It is great to see it, it really does your heart good. Enda was also a gifted guitar player and in honour his dad established the annual Red Balloon Guitar Workshop which is held for a week every August. Peter says:"We have about 20 volunteers and tutors who support us and it is a very uplifting week and very enjoyable.
It's great to hear how the kids have come on. The third strand of the foundation is lobbying for a change in the law to secure tougher sentencing for people who cause death by dangerous driving. Their campaign has seen them meet with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General and officials from the Department of Justice.
It was launched after the devastation they felt at what they saw as the leniency of the sentence handed out to the man who killed Enda. David Lee Stewart, 31, who had consumed at least six pints and four Jagerbombs when he mounted the footpath and struck Enda, was initially jailed for just three-and-a-half years. He was also banned from driving for five years and ordered to spend another three-and-a-half years on licence after his release from prison.
The family appealed the sentence and were left distraught when on appeal, he was ordered to spend just one more year in jail. Peter says:"We were devastated all over again. We had a lot of questions and difficulty getting answers. It is a disgrace and it is just not acceptable.
It is important to get it resolved as soon as possible.
Receiving the Spirit of Northern Ireland award was a bittersweet moment for Peter but he says it has been a great boost to the work of the foundation. He adds: "It lifted our profile and work and it has done us no harm at all to receive it. It was great. The new Cablevision, which will be run by Jim Dolan as chairman and CEO, will include the New York--area cable systems, the local arenas and sports teams, and the regional news and sports networks.
A spinoff company called Rainbow Media Enterprises, which will be run by Chuck Dolan as chairman and his year-old middle son, Tom Dolan, as CEO, will consist of the satellite TV venture, movie theaters, and the national cable networks.
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For Chuck Dolan, the spinoff is an opportunity to chase one more dream. But like many entrepreneurs, Dolan has a stubborn streak.
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Cablevision obtained its own satellite licenses and launched a bird last year. Murdoch didn't quit either--he now owns a controlling stake in DirecTV. Dolan's new satellite service, which is called VOOM, is late to the pay-television game, but it has set itself apart by offering more high-definition TV networks right now, as many as 54 next year--than any other cable or satellite provider. Jim Dolan, meanwhile, will get to run Cablevision on his own.
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His timing looks good. Until now Cablevision has never made a dime. It has plowed all of its earnings, and more, into rebuilding its systems, as well as into acquisitions, new programming ventures and, lately, VOOM. That is about to change. Its cable systems are doing very well. The company says it will generate free cash flow by the fourth quarter of this year, and net income not too long after that.
And he'll finally have the chance to prove that he's more than the owner's son. Cablevision's stock has taken a wild ride. Investors in the new Rainbow, meanwhile, will be taking a flier on Chuck Dolan's vision. They could do worse. After college he ran his own sports television company; he hired cameramen to take game films, which were shipped by plane to Cleveland, edited in the Dolans' kitchen into a highlights reel, voiced over by an announcer, and then sent to TV stations for broadcast. Yes, this was ESPN, about 30 years ahead of its time. TV sports was so primitive then that "you didn't have to buy rights," Dolan recalls.
When Dolan requested permission to wire New York City for cable in , no one knew what he was talking about. It was then that he devised the plan for what he called the Green Channel, which he described as the "Macy's of television," offering an array of movies, TV shows, and sports for "some public, large or small.
Soon after, he sold his stake to Time. He has hated selling assets ever since. Under the Dolans, Cablevision has been a fertile seedbed for programming. The company started a regional sports network, called SportsChannel, in No one thought local news channels would work. MagRack, a more recent creation, offers dozens of niche magazine shows, available on demand. Certainly that's the case with VOOM. But will the crowd follow? That's just the beginning, Chuck says. VOOM has enough satellite capacity to eventually offer a virtually infinite number of programs.
By unbundling shows from networks, and networks from one another, VOOM will appeal to viewers who are tired of paying ever-increasing monthly rates for pay television. If this makes him sound like an apostate in the close-knit cable industry he helped invent, well, that's what happens to independent thinkers. Dolan notes wryly that he has been called Chuck Full of Nuts. Most analysts don't think Dolan can compete against satellite firms DirecTV and Echostar, which together have more than 22 million subscribers.
Neither is profitable. VOOM also must compete with cable operators, including Cablevision, that offer digital services, such as high-speed Internet access, telephony, and video-on-demand, that satellite television cannot match. Tom is all but unknown outside Cablevision. He worked for IBM, ran a cable system on Long Island, and is currently the company's chief information officer. It's quite a leap from running the IT department to leading a public company. Then again, for smart people, the Dolans do some dumb-looking things when it comes to mixing family and business.
Cablevision won't say whether the production company has other customers. Cablevision leases a plane, as do the Dolans. The company subleases its plane to the Dolans, and they sublease their plane back, according to the proxy. The company also leases helicopters and a hangar to an entity owned by Charles Dolan. And it leases aircraft from entities owned by Charles and Patrick Dolan. Patrick is Chuck's oldest son. Formerly a CNN producer, he now runs News One might ask why Cablevision, whose New York--area cable assets are reachable via taxi, subway, and commuter rail, needs an air force.
One big happy family
The company says that its sports teams travel widely and that its national networks do business worldwide. Jim Dolan also notes that the cable systems are spread far and wide across the tri-state area. As a family-controlled company, Cablevision does not have to meet Sarbanes-Oxley rules for board independence. Because the family's wealth is tied up in the company, Jim Dolan says his interests are aligned with all shareholders'. Governance advocates say he has a point; studies show that family-controlled companies, as a group, outperform those with a dispersed shareholder base.
But Ric Marshall, the chief analyst for the Corporate Library, a shareholder advisory firm, says the Dolans' modus operandi raises some red flags.
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Marshall says: "I would argue that instead of being exempt from the commonly held standards of good corporate governance, firms like Cablevision should be held to even higher standards of board independence and conflicts of interest to ensure that the best interests of the minority public shareholders are properly represented. The composition of the Cablevision board provides little comfort in that regard. Four of the 14 directors are Dolans.