Comcast: Take the bus, park the golf carts at the office
Comcast officially assumes control of NBC Universal on Friday, but Thursday's town hall meeting, moderated by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, is being designed to set the tone for the new administration. Employees at five locations will receive the Comcast "credo," a set of business objectives, along with a book that features the three founders of the soon-to-be melded company: Carl Laemmle, who in 1909 formed the Independent Moving Picture Company of America, the precursor to Universal Studios; David Sarnoff, the radio pioneer who was intregal to the formation of NBC in 1926; and Ralph J. Roberts, who in 1963 bought a small cable TV system in Tupelo, Miss., and over the next five decades built Comcast, which soon will be among the nation's largest media companies. Ralph Roberts' son, Brian, is the CEO of Comcast.
Last week, employees in Burbank and Los Angeles received invitations to Thursday's town hall meeting "to be a part of history to celebrate the formation of the new NBC Universal." The invitation "strongly" encourages workers to attend the telecast, which will be held at the Universal Amphitheatre. Employees will be able to park in one of Universal's hulking parking structures or hop a shuttle bus, which will be at the ready at 7 a.m.
Employees were told they must be in their seats by 8:30 a.m. — earlier than the 9 a.m. when much of the workforce usually rolls in.
Those trying to read the Comcast tea leaves were puzzled by one sentence in the invite: "Golf Cart Parking Will Not Be Available." Was that because Comcast wanted to send a message that ranking studio executives, who can tool around the film studio lot in golf carts, should ride in the shuttle buses like ordinary employees?
No, said one high-level executive. There just isn't enough space around the amphitheatre to accommodate a flotilla of golf carts.
After the webcast featuring Brian Williams interviewing new NBC Universal Chief Executive Steve Burke, a localized session will follow. In Los Angeles, Brian Roberts, Universal Studios chief operating officer Ron Meyer and the new chairman of NBC Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt, will take questions from employees.
At two other locations — NBC's headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York and Telemundo's production center in Hialeah, Fla. — demand is so high that employees must enter a lottery for a chance to win a ticket to the telecast, which also is being beamed to Comcast's headquarter's in Philadelphia and NBC's offices in London.
Employees have been told they must surrender their old NBC Universal badges on Thursday in order to receive a new Comcast-issued NBC Universal badge.
— Meg James
Photo: Golf carts at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.