Cox CEO to Speak at FORUM 2003
James O. Robbins, President and CEO of Cox Communications, Inc., will be the opening general session speaker on Monday, March 31 at FORUM 2003. He will be interviewed by Catherine Crier of Court TV. Other confirmed general session speakers include Fraser P. Seitel, one of PR Weekís top 100 public relations professionals of the 20th century, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Robert Sachs, president and CEO of NCTA, and Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association.

The theme for FORUM 2003is "Capitalizing on Cableís Competitive Edge" and reflects the eventís focus on how cable industry public affairs professionals can leverage cableís leadership in programming, localization, audience delivery, and new technologies to achieve communication goals. FORUM 2003 will be held March 30 to April 2, 2003, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

FORUM is the cable industryís annual educational conference dedicated to issues facing Public Affairs professionals. The conferenceís numerous sessions will address all aspects of Public Affairs in the cable industry, including community relations, education, marketing integration, programmer-operator partnerships, media relations, government affairs, competition, and diversity. Included will be a panel discussion among FCC senior bureau chiefs and administrators addressing major federal, state and local issues affecting the cable business, as well as a session offering practical tools for developing communications and marketing initiatives to reach multicultural audiences. Early registration fees (by March 14, 2003) are $625 for CTPAA members and $825 for all others. On March 15 the fees increase by $100. A complete program outline, registration information and other conference news may be viewed on the CTPAA Web site.

 Make Your Hotel Room Reservation Today!
March 7 is the room reservation deadline for FORUM 2003. The Renaissance Mayflower, in the heart of downtown Washington, DC is hosting FORUM. The conference room rate is $209. To make reservations call Marriott national reservations at 800/468-3571 or the Mayflower directly at 202/347-3000 and reference CTPAA/FORUM 2003.

 Join a CTPAA Committee
CTPAA has three standing committees that advise the Board of Directors on a number of association issues, helping the organization to meet its overall goals and objectives. These committees are: Create a Favorable Environment for Business Growth, Provide Professional Development Resources and Recognition, and Strengthen CTPAAís Effectiveness. CTPAA invites all interested members to join one of these committees.

Led by Mark Harrad, vp communications for Time Warner Cable, the purpose of the Create a Favorable Environment for Business Growth committee is to:

  • Communicate the role and value of CTPAA to all members and the industry
  • Work with other organizations on initiatives that benefit members and the industry
  • Develop the organizational competencies and resources needed to support achievement of the associationís mission
  • Engage members in association leadership and increase their participation in available programs and services

Led by Libby OíConnell, Ph.D., vp educational initiatives A&E Television Networks, and John Wolfe, vp public & government affairs Cox Communications, the purpose of the Provide Professional Development Resources and Recognition committee is to:

  • Provide superior professional development opportunities for all members
  • Recognize and celebrate excellence in public affairs at all levels
  • Serve all professionals involved in cable television public affairs

Led by Scoot MacPherson, svp public & government affairs Court TV, and Jenni Moyer, senior director of public relations for Comcast Cable Communications, the purpose of the Strengthen CTPAAís Effectiveness committee is to:

  • Communicate the role and value of CTPAA to all members and the industry
  • Work with other organizations on initiatives that benefit members and the industry
  • Develop the organizational competencies and resources needed to support achievement of the associationís mission
  • Engage members in association leadership and increase their participation in available programs and services

For more information on any of these three committees, contact Steve Jones at or at 202/775-1083.

 How to Survive Gotcha Journalism Master Course at FORUM 2003
Just prior to the official start of FORUM 2003, CTPAA will offer the Master Course workshop, "How to Survive Gotcha Journalism," on Sunday, March 30 from 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. An additional fee of $145 is required to attend. The course will cover:

  • How to respond to a "60 Minutes" style interview of accusations
  • How to break down the components of a media dilemma
  • Message development & delivery skills
  • On-camera interview techniques and training
  • How to maintain a healthy day-to-day media policy

CTPAA has chosen Margie Elsberg, a 25-year veteran of the Washington press corps and a media trainer for 12 years, to be the instructor for "How to Survive Gotcha Journalism." In addition to her years as a print and broadcast reporter, Elsberg will bring her cable experience to the course. In the early 1990ís, she worked as a media trainer for an intensive, two-day media training project developed by CATA. During the session, the instructor will critique mock interviews taped with participants in the classroom. For additional information please go to the FORUM 2003 program.

 Support the Emma Bowen Foundation

One of FORUM's distinctive traditions is the Silent Auction and Opening Reception. This yearís Silent Auction will kick of FORUM on the evening of Sunday, March 30. For the fifth year, the Silent Auction will benefit the Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media. The Foundation is dedicated to offering minority youth the support, education and skills needed to obtain jobs in the media industry.

Support the foundation by donating an item to the Silent Auction. Past popular items include the Beatles CD box set, personal electronics, tickets to Saturday Night Live, and jewelry. All platinum items, donations valued at $500 and up, will be sold at a live and entertaining auction held during the reception.

To guarantee your donation is listed in the Silent Auction Bid Book, please send in the donation formby March 7, 2003. Please send all donated items to CTPAA, 1724 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036, by March 21, 2003.

 Reserve a Table at the 2003 Beacon Ceremony
CTPAA is offering reserved tables for the 2003 Beacon Ceremony on April 1, 2003, at the Renaissance Mayflower hotel, Washington, DC. A reserved table for registered FORUM attendees is $1,500. For dinner guests only, a reserved table at the Beacons Ceremony is $3,000 (includes 10 tickets). For more information, contact Michelle Butler at 202/775-1082 or

 Member Profile: Barb Shelley
Born in a small town in northeast California, CTPAA member Barb Shelley moved at the age of ten with her family to southern Idaho where she completed her childhood surrounded by vast and breathtaking blue skies and a variety of horses.

"My parents are true cowboys," said Shelley, executive director of communications for Comcast in the Salt Lake City, Utah, market. "My dadís nickname is Slim. My childhood nickname was ñ itís a little scary telling a bunch of PR people this, but here goes ñ Britches."

Shelley started her career as a journalist and earned an undergraduate degree in journalism.

"I put the degree to good use writing, editing and producing newsletters for my kidsí school PTA. After a few years of community and school volunteer work, I discovered I had a talent for planning and running creative special events in addition to writing, editing, and juggling a million projects, a home and three children all at the same time. I was surprised to learn that there were actually paying jobs for people crazy enough to admit they like balancing multiple projects and strategies at once."

Shelley earned an undergraduate degree in public relations with a minor in advertising, then started a career in public relations. Four years ago, she began working in cable public affairs when she became regional director of communications for TCI serving cable systems in five western states while based in Salt Lake.

"I jumped over to the cable company from AT&T Wireless, at the time AT&T bought TCI. I made the switch, because I was intrigued by the bright and promising future of the cable industry."

Along the way, other public affairs professionals have lent Shelley a helping hand.

"Tracy Baumgartner, a cable PR veteran, who is now vice president of public relations for Comcastís Mountain Division, and Rob Stoddard, who is now senior vice president at the NCTA, are my heroes and mentors. The cable industry has benefited mightily from these two talented, personable and intelligent PR professionals."

One of Shelleyís biggest challenges in her cable PR career was planning and managing the local public relations for AT&T Broadbandís sponsorship of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Another accomplishment she treasures is winning Beacon Awards.

"Iíve won other national and regional public relations awards in other industries, but the Beacon Award is a bigger thrill. Itís the pinnacle. Iíd trade all my other awards for one Beacon," said Shelley. "Itís an ego boost and a bit funny when someone from out of town walks into my office, looks at the top of my file cabinet where I display my Beacons along with a torch from the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and whispers reverently, ëWow, look at those Beacon Awards.í After they say that, they notice the three-foot tall torch!"

Shelleyís favorite cable channel returns her to her cowboy roots.

"TNT blazed a new viewing record with Monte Walsh, the story of a cowboy facing the end of the true cowboy era. It starred Tom Selleck who sat his horse most impressively. We former cowgirls know about such things. TNT will be my favorite cable channel for evermore."

Away from her cable job, Shelley loves to spend time with her three grandchildren and agrees with the saying that if I had known it would be this much fun, I would have had my grandkids first.

 Video Submissions Wanted for FORUM 2003!

The FORUM 2003 Committee invites CTPAA members to submit informal ("home movie"-like) videos of yourself and your team members at work.

Do you have out takes or "B" rolls of video? Ideals could include video shot for a promo, live program or at an event. Theyíre even interested in video that may have been shot during office parties or at last summer's office picnics.

Remember the videos (Beta or VHS) you submit will be edited into montages, so short vibrant clips will have the best chance of being screened during FORUM 2003.

The committee will try and use a "clip" from as many submissions as possible, but of course they can't promise to include every one in a short video. All decisions regarding the use of video submissions will be based on the requirements of FORUM.

In order to have time to screen and produce a video montage, please submit your videos by March 7, 2003.

1724 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Questions: Contact Steve Jones at 202/775-1083, or Steve Raddock, FORUM 2003 Committee Chairman 212/508-1239,


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is seeking nominations for the 2003 Vanguard Awards, the cable industry's highest honors. The awards will be presented the evening of Tuesday, June 10, 2003, during The National Show, NCTA's 52nd Annual Convention and International Exposition, June 8 - 11, 2003, at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. The theme for this year's show is "Leading the Digital Revolution."

Inaugurated in 1965, the Vanguards are presented to individuals who excel in business and in personal commitment to colleagues, and whose accomplishments merit the recognition of the cable industry. Award winners are honored in the following categories:

  • Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership (Male and Female)
  • Vanguard Award for Young Leadership (Under 40)
  • Vanguard Award for Programmers
  • Vanguard Award for Associates and Affiliates
  • Vanguard Award for Science and Technology
  • Vanguard Award for Cable Operations Management
  • Vanguard Award for Government and Community Relations
  • Vanguard Award for Marketing

Award candidates may be nominated by representatives of NCTA member companies, and winners are selected by an Awards Committee composed of members of the NCTA Board of Directors as well as former Award winners. Nominations for the Awards are due on or before March 21, 2003. To obtain information about nominations, please contact Michelle Ray of the NCTA's Department of Industry Affairs by phone at 202/775-3669 or via email at