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Media giant Ted Turner has come a long way since the 1970s, when the only advertisers he could entice to his cable station were folks hawking items such as the Veg-O-Matic.

"It was a struggle back then," Turner told a wide-eyed and attentive audience at the Cable Advertising Conference in New York March 4. "Cable was not a compelling deal for the big companies like Procter & Gamble and General Motors."

Turner joked about how he stayed afloat during those days: "On many of the letters we got, the stamps were not canceled. So I took them off and reused them. I was making almost a dime every time I did that. That's how I made money back then."

Now Turner, 60, is vice chairman of Time Warner Inc. and oversees the company's cable networks division, which includes Turner Broadcasting System Inc., HBO and Cinemax.

But the man who arguably is the godfather of cable says still he gets no respect.

"I've been kicked upstairs and don't have a lot of duties, " he said. "But I

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