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Anstrom said new NCTA prez

Decker Anstrom, who’s served as acting president of the National Cable Television Assn. since July, will be tapped to fill the prexy post on a permanent basis today, according to industry sources.

NCTA execs called a press conference this morning in D.C. to make the announcement.

Anstrom, a Democrat who worked in the Carter White House, joined NCTA in 1987 and served a long stint as the trade organization’s executive veepee during the tenure of former prez James Mooney. Mooney ankled the NCTA chieftain post July 1 after nine years, the last few of which were marked by NCTA’s increasingly sour relations with Congress.

Ironically, Anstrom took himself out of the running for the permanent NCTA prexy post immediately after being named acting prez. It’s believed he had a change of heart after a search committee headed by Newhouse Broadcasting Corp. prez RobertMiron urged him to reconsider.

Miron, who will be on hand for today’s announcement, declined comment when asked whether NCTA had indeed settled on Anstrom. Anstrom did not return telephone calls.

Anstrom will have his hands full as NCTA chieftain. He takes the reins for an industry that has been on the defensive in Congress over constituent complaints of high rates and lousy service. Cable’s perceived arrogance led to passage of the 1992 Cable Act, a massive piece of legislation designed to curb rate hikes and give cable’s competitors access to programming.

Anstrom, who’s well-liked by his NCTA colleagues, is known for working long hours and for having a sharp grasp on issues.

His selection is likely to draw praise from within the industry and on Capitol Hill. One industry representative said Anstrom “has really turned around our image” in Congress in the last six months. He’s also credited with forging a unified industry consensus on cable’s role in the debate over proposed information superhighway legislation.

A congressional aide said Anstrom’s selection “would get a very good reaction up here.”

As NCTA president, Anstrom can expect to receive a hefty salary, although it’s doubtful he will initially command the $ 500,000-plus per year in pay pulled down by Mooney.

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