Several changes are hitting NBC's affiliate relations department, which negotiates cable carriage and retransmission consent deals. NBC is close to hiring Cablevision's top programming exec, MAC BUDILL, according to several sources. Budill had been with Cablevision for more than 20 years, rising to Exec VP/Programming. While at Cablevision, Budill was instrumental in cutting a deal with NFL Network earlier this summer. He will be given a top spot in NBC's affiliate relations department. It is not clear what his new role will be, but sources say he will report to NBCU's head of content distribution MATT BOND. Word of Budill's hiring comes as NBCUniversal's President of TV Network Distribution BRIDGET BAKER announced her plans to leave the company after 24 years. Media trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable obtained an internal memo from Bond saying that Baker will leave at the end of next month. These moves come as NBC is preparing to negotiate with some of the country's biggest distributors. NBC's deals with Dish Network, Charter and the NCTC expire at the end of the year, according to several sources. Those deals include most NBC networks, including NBC Sports Network, and several retransmission consent deals for NBC-owned broadcast stations. Neither Cablevision nor NBCU would comment for this story (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
EXECS: Twins Senior Dir of Minor Leagues JIM RANTZ yesterday “announced his retirement at the team's organizational meetings.” Rantz was “the only current Twins employee who has been with the franchise since it moved from Washington in 1961” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/16). Rantz has been in his current position since ’86 and was “the first Twins scout to lay eyes on” Baseball HOFer KIRBY PUCKETT (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/16)....AEG Facilities named San Diego Convention Center GM BRAD GESSNER VP/Convention Centers (AEG Facilities)….Golf Digest named ALAN PITTMAN Managing Editor. Pittman has worked at the magazine for 18 years “on several projects, including the magazine’s annual ‘Hot List’ and its monthly franchise, ‘Golf Saved My Life’” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 10/15).
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