Charlie Rose given communications award

Barbara Walters among speakers during luncheon

NEW YORK -- Charlie Rose got roasted and lauded during a Monday luncheon here as the Center for Communication honored him with the Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communications.

Speakers at the Center's 26th annual awards luncheon were Barbara Walters, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, Rose's executive producer Yvette Vega and "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager.

"I also do interviews, and I'm not exactly chopped liver," Walters started her comments at the event at midtown Manhattan's Pierre Hotel. But she envies Rose for not having to worry about ratings -- or being interrupted on every show by several women, she quipped.

Referencing a Fortune profile that concluded Rose was a lonely person, Walters recounted some of the many events on his social calendar that can make it hard to book a get-together with him. "He doesn't have time to be lonely," Walters said.

Meanwhile, Fager joked that "60 Minutes" was doing its own investigation into Rose at this very moment. While everyone was at the luncheon, Steve Kroft was looking through the drawers in Rose's office, he joked.

Fager also suggested a slogan for Rose and the smart programming he stands for: "May cause drowsiness."

All speakers lauded Rose's focus on serious conversations and compelling journalism.

"Charlie's show is fulfilling," Fager said. He also called the show "something unique" and truly important for U.S. television and journalism.

A guy with a rolodex like Rose can only have one thing in mind --"total domination," said Bill Baker, president emeritus of Channel Thirteen/WNET.

Rose's golf enthusiasm and looks were repeated subjects of speakers' barbs and kudos.

Meacham shared a story about how God summoned Rose, and the interviewer simply asked if he could come on the show with Warren Buffett.

Meacham also joked that when he asked Rose to describe himself, the interviewer had suggested such words as "smart" and "dashing" -- repeatedly. "At his core, Charlie is indispensable," he said in closing.

Vega said she has worked with Rose for a long time. But while she feels older, "he's still tall, smart and handsome," she said.

Rose himself quoted Lou Gehrig: "I'm the luckiest man alive."

The luncheon committee includes such industry heavyweights as CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, David Geffen, Sony Corp. CEO Sir Howard Stringer, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and N.Y. City film commissioner Katherine Oliver. Many of them and other industry biggies were in attendance.

Founded in 1980 by former CBS president Frank Stanton, the Center looks to bridge the gap between schools and the industry and prepare college students for industry careers. The annual Luncheon supports the institution's program of media seminars and workshops.