December 17, 2004 -- About CTPAA / Membership / FORUM 2005 / Beacon Awards

Inside This Issue:
CTPAA Finds Success in First Public Affairs Institute
Comcast Partners with VH1 to Save the Music
What to Do When the LFA Hates You
NCTA Delivers Gifts to Women's Shelters
Increase Awareness of Your Company with FORUM Scholarships
Oxygen Teams with the Lower East Side Girls Club to Make Sweet Things
Nominate a Colleague for the 2005 Public Affairs Achievement Award
Last Chance to Save $50 by Registering for FORUM 2005 Before Dec. 31
Judge the 2005 Beacon Awards
Thank You Corporate Members!

 CTPAA Finds Success in First Public Affairs Institute
CTPAA held the inaugural Public Affairs Institute last week, bringing 23 members to Washington, D.C., for a three-day, master's level course covering a variety of public affairs topics. CTPAA partnered with The George Washington University (GWU) Graduate School of Political Management to provide an insightful seminar covering issues management, grassroots advocacy, crisis management, media relations, lobbying and PAC management. Attendees came from local cable systems, programming networks, multiple system operators and industry associations to develop the enhanced skills necessary to meet the challenge of the industry's competitive marketplace.

Jim Robbins, President and CEO of Cox Communications, opened the Institute by stating how important public affairs is to Cox. He addressed Cox's recent move to become private, saying that that would not change his company's commitment to public affairs. "You might think that would make a difference in a company like ours, that we would go underground and public relations wouldn't matter. I would tell you just the reverse. Part of my responsibility and objective is to make sure the rest of the industry continues to do smart things, good things, some of the things we as a company have done. We will be just as vigorous on the areas of public affairs, communications, and strategic issues," he said.

In the classes that followed, five GWU professors challenged the attendees to think about their strategic communication programs, and the participants engaged the professors with questions about how they can improve upon what they already do. Tom Chiapetta, director of media relations for Fox Sports Net, said that the professors brought a great deal of credibility and knowledge, a comment consistent with the feedback from many participants.

One of the topics addressed was PAC management, and the participants were able to take away practical tips for allocating political money. Many members asked specific questions about how to improve their own company's PACs. Tom Simmons, vice president of public policy for Midcontinent Communciations, said that he was "impressed with the sincere interest of the professors, in our class and the questions we were asking."

Class work was focused around real-life case studies including the Bridgestone/Firestone tire recall and the Boeing 737 steering rudder malfunctions. By using case studies for examples, the participants were able to apply theory to cases that they had read and heard about in the news. This allowed them to approach the material with a perspective that Simmons described as "real, timely and applicable."

One central lesson of the Institute was the importance of staying on message, and the dangers of losing control of the message. Chiapetta said that the Institute reinforced the principle that "if you are properly prepared before a situation, you won't have every answer, but you'll have a base to work from. Having a strategic plan in place to handle anything that comes up is very important." He said that this idea permeated every section of the Institute from discussions about the proliferation of new technology to managing grassroots advocacy groups.

Steve Schorr, vice president, public and government affairs, for Cox Communications Las Vegas, said that of all the seminars and conferences he has attended, "this Institute was one of the most insightful I have come across." He said that the knowledge he gained will help him personally and when representing his company on a daily basis. "To say that I would recommend this program is a gross understatement. I would emphatically do so," Schorr said.

Mark Harrad, vice president, corporate communication for Time Warner Cable said he felt that the Institute was valuable because it addressed a wide range of high-level public affairs topics in a way that all attendees, despite different levels of experience, were able to take away something new. He expects the Institute to "become a very sought after program" and a "crowing representation of CTPAA to the industry."

The Public Affairs Institute came to fruition after two years of planning by CTPAA committee members and the Board of Directors. CTPAA plans to utilize participant feedback to make improvements to the Institute for next year. For more information, contact Steve Jones at 202-775-1083 or at

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 Comcast Partners with VH1 to Save the Music
This fall, VH1 Save the Music worked with 31 cable systems to donate nearly $3 million to public schools in their neighborhoods. Save the Music is a nonprofit organization founded to improve the quality of education in U.S. public schools by restoring music education programs in cities across the country and raising awareness of the impact music participation has on youth. Research shows that music education improves children's early development of critical thinking skills and enhances their basic math and reading skills, self-esteem, SAT scores, and school attendance. Children involved with music education programs are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, and are less likely to be involved in gangs or drug use.

One cable system that partnered with VH1 Save the Music is Comcast Bay Area. The system recently completed a 4-year mission to revive struggling music programs in the Oakland Unified School District in California. A final donation of $200,000 worth of new musical instruments brought the total to $350,000 donated since 2000. This has allowed the school district to buy 420 instruments and support 14 different music programs, bringing music education to many low-income students. In schools like Calvin Simmons in Fruitvale, Calif., music programs have grown from fewer than 10 children to nearly 60 children. For more information, contact Erica Eusebio at

Comcast Denver has been working with Save the Music since 1998 and has donated $880,000 worth of musical instruments to 35 area schools. This year it was able to save five music programs, a record for them in recent years. In a recent celebration event, Adam Flatt, a conductor with the Colorado Symphony and an area youth symphony, spoke about the impact that music education has on children. For more information, contact Tiffany Payne at  

Since its founding in 1997, VH1 Save the Music has donated more than $25 million in new musical instruments to 1,000 public schools in 80 cities, enhancing the education of more than 500,000 students. 
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 What to Do When the LFA Hates You
Is an LFA (local franchising authority) upset with you? Has a state senator or federal representative received constituent complaints about recent price adjustments? CTPAA's Best Practices in cable public affairs on improving government relations will give you ideas on how to approach these issues and others like them. Utilizing Beacon Award finalist entries and member input, the Best Practices in Improving Government Relations features some of the successful tactics and strategies cable public affairs professionals have successfully pursued when confronted by unhappy elected officials.

There is a link to CTPAA's Best Practices in Cable Public Affairs from the Resources & Education page  and from the members-only page. When you click on the link to Best Practices on the Resources & Education page or to go to the members-only page, you will be asked to log-in. The user name is your email address, and the password is your last name all in lower case letters. If you have suggestions for future best practices topics or questions, please contact Michelle Butler at or 202-775-1082.

Additionally, on the subject of price adjustments, two older editions of Public Affairs Issues in the members-only section of the CTPAA Web site may also be helpful. They are the summer 2002 issue: The Context Necessary to Accept Price Changes and summer 2001: Successfully Managing Rate Adjustments.
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 NCTA Delivers Gifts to Women's Shelters
National Cable & Telecommunications Association employees collected hundreds of gifts in their annual charity drive and delivered them on Dec. 7 to a Washington, D.C., women's shelter.  Among the donations were thousands of dollars worth of books, clothing, electronics and toys. Donations were made to My Sister's Place, a D.C. area shelter for women who have experienced domestic abuse that organizes an annual holiday gift shop. The shelter collects new, unused gifts to distribute to residents and non-residents in order to allow them to select gifts to give to their children. The program is designed to empower women by helping them regain control and independence. In addition, NCTA donated over $1,000 to the House of Ruth, another D.C. area women's shelter. For more information contact Brian Dietz at
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 Increase Awareness of Your Company with FORUM Scholarships
FORUM 2005 is just over four months away, and sponsorship opportunities are going quickly. Sponsorship of an event or conference item during FORUM 2005 places your company directly in front of 400 to 500 cable public affairs professionals. Through the generous support of sponsors, CTPAA will be able to underwrite the delivery of superior educational programs and sessions during FORUM 2005. Visit the FORUM Web site to view the many sponsorship opportunities that are still available. To reserve your sponsorship or to discuss other sponsorship ideas, contact Steve Jones at 202-775-1083 or at

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 Oxygen Teams with the Lower East Side Girls Club to Make Sweet Things
Oxygen Media teamed up with the Lower East Side Girls Club's Sweet Things Bake Shop early this month to take on the sweet endeavor of creating more than 10,000 oh! shaped holiday cookies for Oxygen's annual gift. Proceeds from the sale benefited the Lower East Side Girls Club. In addition to placing the holiday order, Oxygen employees volunteered their time at the Girls Club to help roll, bake, and package the oh! cookie. Oxygen is committed to encouraging women and girls to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

The Lower East Side Girls Club is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the well being of inner-city girls ages 8-18. The Girls Club provides growth and learning while having fun all in order to enrich development and confidence in every girl for the sole purpose of making a difference in the world. Participants in the Girls Club's Sweet Things Program learn culinary arts as well as business and leadership skills. For more information, contact Oxygen's Summer Wilkie at

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 Nominate a Colleague for the 2005 Public Affairs Achievement Award
Is there a cable public affairs executive whom you have admired and believe should be recognized by the industry? If so, nominate him or her for the Public Affairs Achievement Award. Presented annually during FORUM, the award recognizes and honors individual members for their outstanding contributions to cable public affairs in the categories of community relations, government relations, media relations or local programming.

The eligibility requirements are:

  • Current member of CTPAA
  • Member of CTPAA for a minimum of three (3) years
  • Worked in public affairs a minimum of five (5) years
  • Supports the goals of the CTPAA
  • Employed by a MSO, Local Cable System, Cable Network, Industry Supplier, or Industry Nonprofit Organization
  • Individuals are eligible to receive the award once for each of the four categories.
  • The current CTPAA President is not eligible for nomination until two years after his or her term in office.

The nomination deadline for the second annual Public Affairs Achievement Award is January 31, 2005. For information on how to nominate someone or to obtain a nomination form, please go to the membership page of the CTPAA Web site. 

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 Last Chance to Save $50 by Registering for FORUM 2005 by December 31
Register for FORUM 2005 by December 31, 2004, and save $50 on the advance registration rate of $625 and save $150 from the final registration (after April 15, 2005) rate of $725. This year's conference will be held May 1 to 4, 2005, at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC. The Ritz-Carlton also was the host hotel for FORUM in 2002. CTPAA will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its founding during FORUM 2005.

The FORUM 2005 co-chairs, who produce and are responsible for the meeting agenda, are Scoot MacPherson, Executive Vice President, Corporate & Government Affairs, Court TV and Anthony Surratt, Executive Director, Public Relations, Cox Communications, Inc. For information about FORUM 2005 registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit
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 Judge the 2005 Beacon Awards
CTPAA invites its members to choose the best of the best cable public affairs initiatives of the past year by being a 2005 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 26 and 27 in Washington, DC, with a welcome reception hosted by NCTA on the evening of January 25. For more information, contact Michelle Butler at 202-775-1082 or at
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 Thank You Corporate Members!
Join and support CTPAA by becoming a corporate member. For information on how your organization can join CTPAA as a corporate member, please contact Steve Jones at or at 202-775-1083. For membership details, go to

2004 Golden Benefactors
A&E Television Networks
Advance/Newhouse Communications
Cablevision Systems Corporation
Charter Communications
Comcast Cable Communications
Cox Communications
MTV Networks
NBC Universal Cable
Rainbow Media Holdings
Time Warner Cable
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc

2004 Benefactors
ABC Cable Networks Group
Lifetime Television
The Weather Channel

2004 Friends & Associates
Adelphia Communications Corporation
Bresnan Communications
Cable ONE
Cable Telecommunications Association of New York
Court TV
C-SPAN Networks
Discovery Networks
Florida Cable Telecommunications Association
Fox Cable Networks
Game Show Network
Gemstar-TV Guide
Hallmark Channel
Indiana Cable Telecommunications Association
Insight Communications
International Channel
Midcontinent Communications
Motorola, Broadband Communications Sector
Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association
The Outdoor Channel
Outdoor Life Network
Oxygen Media
Scripps Networks
Showtime Networks
Starz Encore Group
Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association

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