Honoree Freston lauds TV’s informational reach

Adams, Roedy perform at MTV chairman's gala ceremony

CANNES — Pledging to double the company’s already notable efforts to promote diversity and cultural understanding, MTV Networks chairman Tom Freston received the Mipcom Personality of the Year award at a dinner Wednesday in Cannes.

He told journalists earlier that he thought television was an exceptional vehicle for keeping the world informed — something that was all the more needed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and the widening chasm between the West and Islamic nations.

Honored for turning MTV into one of the most recognizable of global brands, Freston said he thought recent political events could set new trends in music — making it less about “me and my problems” and more about “spiritual and community values.”

In keeping with the edgy, informal style of the MTV Networks channels, the gala ceremony was short on pomp and long on pop. Canadian singer Bryan Adams, a 20-year mainstay of MTV shows and a friend of Freston, performed a half-dozen of his hits and MTV Intl. topper Bill Roedy, who has built the foreign channel biz into a cash cow, offered the toast. Even in the current economic slump, MTV Intl. is set to report substantial revenue gains during 2001.

Freston joins an impressive list of past recipients of the Mipcom award, including his own boss, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, as well as Ted Turner, Silvio Berlusconi and Pierre Lescure.

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