Save $50 and Create A Strong Beacon Entry
It's not too early to begin compiling your Beacon Award Entries. The early bird deadline is November 7, 2003, and allows CTPAA members to save $50 off the entry fee. The regular deadline is November 21, 2003. Through trial and error and lots of experience, some of CTPAA's past Beacon Award winners and judges offer the following suggestions on how to assemble a winning entry.

ORGANIZE & SIMPLIFY - Put yourself in the place of the judges. They have to read dozens of entries in several categories. Summaries that are short, to the point and easy to read are the judges' favorites. Use bullets, short paragraphs and sentences, headings, underlines, normal-sized type and double spacing, etc., anything to make the judges focus on what you want them to see, read and understand. To see 2001 - 2003 Beacon finalists and winners' summaries, visit the "members only" section of the CTPAA Web site, (Log in: user name = email; password = last name; both lowercase.) These 3-page project summaries are good models to use when preparing a Beacon entry.

GET A JUMP START! - Don't wait until the last minute to start preparing your project summary; allow yourself enough time to re-write it, tweak it, tighten it up. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, judges will take all of these items into consideration. Allow enough time to proofread your entry. Then proofread it again. Enlist friends and co-workers to critique your entry.

RESULTS - VERY IMPORANT!! - Detail the measurement of success for the project in relation to the goals. Show the judges what you accomplished. Many wonderfully planned projects have lost Beacons because they couldn't show they had made any impact on the target audience(s). What credit did the company get for the effort? Include letters, newspaper articles, thank you notes, proclamations, pictures, letters to the editor, etc. Third party endorsements have the most impact. Just patting yourself on your back doesn't impress the judges.

PICK YOUR CATEGORY- Submit your entry in the category that best suits the project and the one in which you think it has the strongest chance of winning. The two most popular target audiences, in terms of entries received, are community and education. A project may be submitted in several categories. A separate entry form (and fee) and a complete copy of all materials, must accompany each entry.

IDENTIFY SUPPORT MATERIALS - If you submit videotapes, print ads, brochures, etc., make sure they are in the correct format, length, and size. With tapes, be sure to provide a video log. Also, just because you are allowed to submit up to five minutes of taped material, don't feel you have to. If two and a half minutes will get your message across, then give the judges just that. Make sure all the elements of your entry(s) are labeled correctly with entry title, category, contact name and company address.

READING, WRITING, & ARITHMETIC- Read the instructions and rules carefully. If you have any questions, visit the Beacon Frequently Asked Questions section on the Web site , or contact Michelle Butler at 202-775-1082. Follow the project summary guidelines in the Call For Entries brochure when writing your entry and calculate the correct fee for each entry. Remember to include a membership fee if applicable and indicate the correct total amount and financial breakdown for each entry.

QUALITY NOT QUANTITY- While there is no limit to the amount of support material submitted, remember that quality is judged over quantity. Showcase your innovations throughout the year by choosing elements of each campaign that made the project a true success.

ASSEMBLING YOUR ENTRY- Package your entry, including the summaries and all relevant support materials in a binder not to exceed 11" x 17" or on a board not exceeding 30" x 36". Clean and legible photocopies of materials will be judged as originals.

 Comcast Cares Day
The third annual Comcast Cares Day took place October 4 and was the largest one-day volunteer effort in the company's history. 25,000 Comcast employees and their families contributed 150,000 hours of volunteer service to 228 organizations in 33 states.

Comcast Cares Day is devoted to volunteerism in local communities. Comcast's volunteers represented every sector of the company from its corporate headquarters in Philadelphia to local cable offices. In addition to donating hours of volunteer service, the Comcast Foundation is also donating grants of up to a total of one million dollars to the 228 partner organizations on behalf of each Comcast employee and family member who volunteered on Comcast Cares Day.

 "Avoiding Tech Speak"-Western Show Luncheon & Panel
CTPAA is sponsoring a luncheon and Public Affairs Panel at the Western Show 2003. The panel will be held on Thursday, December 4, 2003, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. As the cable industry is rolling out numerous new products based upon its technically superior platform, consumers, customer care representatives, government officials, electronics retailers and the media are straining to understand these new products and the benefits they offer. This panel will examine cable's high tech alphabet soup offerings and help public affairs professionals translate them into understandable and beneficial products and services, which consumers ultimately will buy in droves once they learn what these products are, and the specific needs they meet. Presented as a service to CTPAA members and the industry, the luncheon and panel are free. Seating is limited, please call 202-775-1081 or email to register.

Save on Tickets to the 13th Annual Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame
The 13th Annual Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame - recognized as the leading industry venue honoring the pioneers, innovators and stars of cable and broadcast television - will be celebrated November 10, 2003, at a formal dinner at New York's Marriott Marquis. A special ticket discount will be offered to all CTPAA members for this premier-networking event. For more information and ticket reservations, contact Portia Badham with BadWyn Communications at 201-963-8630.

 Mediacom's CEO Meets with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack
The Chairman & CEO of Mediacom Corp., Rocco Commisso, met with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and other Iowa officials last month in Des Moines. His message to the Iowa policy makers emphasized the large investment Mediacom has made in the state and that it was made without a public subsidy. Commisso also expressed concern about Mediacom's growing competition from municipal power entities.

Mediacom has rebuilt cable systems throughout the state and is now able to offer high speed Internet service to virtually all its customers, both urban and rural. Additionally Commisso told the policymakers that Mediacom will soon be offering advanced services such as high definition channels and telephone service, a number of which are currently undergoing testing within the state.

 The History Channel & Department of Education Partner to Celebrate U.S. Holidays
The History Channel and the U.S. Department of Education have formed a partnership to create and produce programming to celebrate America's Civic Holidays. The goal of these half-hour documentaries is to help preserve the original intention of the holidays, celebrating key people and events in American History. The documentaries will air on The History Channel and The History Channel Classroom. Three programs are currently being produced by The History Channel explaining the history of Veterans Day (to air November 2003), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (to air January 2004) and Labor Day (September 2004). The History Channel also will air in February 2004 a half-hour President's Day special that was produced by Calliope Films. This initiative includes both on-air and classroom support. The History Channel will create and produce educational material and online resources to support each of these productions. For additional information contact Lynn Gardner at 212-850-9322.

Election 2004 Initiatives: Updates from BET and CNN
Founder and CEO of Black Entertainment, Robert Johnson, announced that BET will launch a national voter registration campaign using messages and ads from major entertainment artists. The non-partisan initiative will be not be geared to any campaign or political candidate. BET and the National Action Network, a civil rights organization, will jointly administer the voter registration drive with the mission of being the voice of empowerment for the disenfranchised in America. Johnson has personally pledged $250,000 in founding for the effort and BET will run $1,000,000 in new public service announcements in support of the campaign. Contact Michael Lewellen at 202-608-2003 for information.

On November 4, 2003, CNN and Rock the Vote will co-host a live forum of young voters and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates at Boston's Faneuil Hall, timed exactly one year before the 2004 presidential national elections. The town hall meeting will allow young voters to directly question presidential candidates. Rock the Vote coordinates voter registration drives, get-out-the-vote events and voter education efforts aimed at enhancing younger voter turnout. The town hall event will be aired on CNN from 7:00 to 8:30 pm (Eastern) and simulcast on CNN Radio. For more information contact Christina Robinson, 212-714-5542.

 Judge the 2004 Beacons
CTPAA invites its members to choose the best of the best cable public affairs initiatives of the past year by being a 2004 Beacon Awards judge. To volunteer, complete the Beacon judge form and send it to CTPAA. As a Beacon judge, CTPAA members will learn what cable public affairs professionals across the country are accomplishing and will walk away from the experience with dozens of new ideas. The first round of Beacon judging will be all day January 14 and 15 in Washington, DC, with a welcome reception hosted by NCTA on the evening of January 13. For more information, contact Michelle Butler at 202-775-1082.

 Thank You Corporate Members!
For information on how your organization can join CTPAA as a corporate member in 2004, please contact Steve Jones at or at 202-775-1083. For membership details, go to

2003 Golden Benefactors

A&E Networks
Advance/Newhouse Communications
Cablevision Systems Corporation
Charter Communications
Comcast Cable Communications
Cox Communications
NBC Cable Networks
Rainbow Media Holdings
Time Warner Cable
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc

2003 Benefactors

ABC Cable Networks Group
Lifetime Television
MTV Networks
The Weather Channel

2003 Friends & Associates

Bresnan Communications
Cable Telecommunications Association of New York
Comedy Central
Court TV
C-SPAN Networks
Discovery Networks
Florida Cable Telecommunications Association
Game Show Network
Hallmark Channel
Indiana Cable Telecommunications Association
Insight Communications
International Channel
Midcontinent Communications
Motorola, Broadband Communications Sector
Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association
Oxygen Media
Scripps Networks
Showtime Networks
Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association
Terayon Communication Systems