Best Practices in Cable Public Affairs Launched on CTPAA Web site
CTPAA has launched the Best Practices in Cable Public Affairs section in its members-only area of the CTPAA Web site. Utilizing Beacon Award finalist entries and member input, the Best Practices in Cable Public Affairs features an easy-to-use outline of key "best" practices and tips in cable public affairs. These "Best Practices" should be useful during the planning or development of a public affairs initiative and serve as a source of ideas on how to overcome challenges within a community. The three Best Practices currently posted are the topics of cable's competition, effective partnerships, and improving government relations.

There is a link to 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 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.

The Best Practices on cable's competition explores how cable is very well positioned to compete in its competitive market because of the power of its broadband network, its localism, its unique programming and its employees. The article looks at how successful cable public affairs initiatives use any or all of these points to stress cable's advantages over its competitions.

An essential element of effective partnerships between a cable system and programmer or between a cable company and another organization is that the proposed arrangement meets the business or project goals of both organizations. The Best Practices on effective partnerships explores the types of components and resources a partnership with another organization can bring to a cable company's public affairs initiative. It also includes a guide, in the form of a series of questions, to what a cable company should look for in a proposed partnership and joint project.

A key responsibility for many cable public affairs professionals is managing relations with policy makers at all levels of government. Elected officials have the ability to impact a cable company's bottom line and the ways it does business, and from time to time, relations between a cable company and government officials may be strained. The Best Practices on improving government relations explores some of the successful tactics and strategies cable public affairs professionals can pursue to improve or even maintain positive government relations.

An ad hoc committee of CTPAA members is overseeing the development and implementation of this new member service. Upcoming topics may include annual price adjustments, crisis communications, launching a new service, how to measure the results of public affairs initiatives, and partnering internally with ad sales, marketing, or other internal departments. If you have suggestions for possible topics or questions, please contact Michelle Butler at or 202-775-1082.

 2005 Beacon Awards Call For Entries to be Posted Online
CTPAA will post the 2005 Beacon Awards Call for Entries online in pdf format early next week on the Beacon page. The Beacon Awards honor excellence in cable public affairs. The regular deadline is December 3, 2004, and the Early Bird Deadline is November 19, 2004. The Early Bird Deadline allows members to save $50 off of every entry submitted.

Led by CTPAA Board member Maryann Kafer, director, public relations for the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association, the Beacon Judging Operations work group worked very hard to increase the clarity and fairness of the 2005 Beacon Awards Call for Entries. One change to the 2005 process approved by the work group is under the description of the planning and strategy section of the three-page summary. The work group added the following line, "If your entry is for an initiative that has won a Beacon Award in the past, address the modifications you have made to it between November 8, 2003, and November 19, 2004."

The Beacon Judging Operations work group also modified the judging criteria. It increased the value of creativity from 10 percent to 20 percent of the total score. It also decreased both implementation and results from 30 percent to 25 percent. Creativity addresses the "level of creativity and innovation evidenced in the conception, use of available resources, and implementation of project."

Based on the work group's recommendations, CTPAA added a description of the CTPAA special awards to the 2005 Beacon Awards Call for Entries. During Beacon judging, CTPAA will invite its judges to nominate Beacon entries for the Golden Beacon Award, the ESPN Good Sport Award, Joel A. Berger Award, and the new Partner Award. The Partner Award is still in development and more information will be shared with CTPAA members as it is finalized. For more information about the 2005 Beacon Awards, contact Michelle Butler at or at 202-775-1082.

 CTPAA and Topics Education Reveal Survey Findings
This week, Topics Education and CTPAA announced the results of their joint survey that reveals how cable operators choose their public affairs campaigns and the role new technology plays in those efforts. The survey was sent to CTPAA members and focused on three areas: the role of public affairs in the company, the online component of initiatives, and the integration of technology. Some interesting findings include:

  • Campaign selection is done at the local level. Seventy percent of members surveyed select their major annual public affairs initiatives on-site, while only 29 percent receive initiatives from a corporate office.
  • Leveraging new technology increases the likelihood of campaign adoption. Seventy-one percent stated that a tie to a new technology product would increase the likelihood that a campaign would be implemented.
  • Customers are a significant priority in public affairs initiatives. When asked to list the top three priorities company-wide, 71 percent of respondents listed customer retention and customer satisfaction.

For more information on this study, view the complete report, or visit the Topics Education Web site. Topics Education helps organizations understand, support, and communicate with the education world by creating customized education initiatives that drive learning in schools, homes and communities.

 Only 84 Days to the 2005 Beacon Awards Deadline!
There are 84 days to the 2005 Beacon Awards Deadline of December 3, 2004, and 70 days to the Early Bird Deadline of November 19, 2004. The Early Bird Deadline allows members to save $50 off of every entry submitted. While 84 days may seem like a long way off, it's now time to begin working on a submission to the Beacon Awards.

CTPAA's last tip on how to prepare a winning Beacon entry was to begin thinking about what public affairs projects, initiatives or programming launched by you cable company in the last year you should enter. Once you decide what to enter, you should begin to think about what is the best category or categories to enter your initiative or project in. Some projects may be suitable for more than one category, and the target audiences with the most competition are community or education.

Beacon judges are advised to review the project based on the category the applicant entered it in and not to penalize the entrant for not submitting the entry in the category the judge feels would be more appropriate. To help the judges understand why the entrant chose the category he or she did, the entrant includes a justification statement in the three-page summary for the project. According to the Beacon Award Call for Entries, the justification statement "explains why your submission best fits into the category you have chosen."

A review of justification statements included in the three-page summaries of Beacon Award finalists accessible online from the Beacon Web site demonstrates that some justification statements are better than others. Spend some time crafting your justification statement and make sure it clearly addresses all three components of your entry category - target audience, type of initiative or component, and entrant classification. The justification statement of Comcast's 2004 entry Comcast Presents the James McBride "Riffin' & Pontificatin'" Tour submitted in the Education; Full Campaign/Series; MSO category clearly addresses all three components of the category.

"Justification Statement for Category - Because the James McBride "Riffin' & Pontificatin'" Tour was designed to impact high school students in the communities we serve, this entry is appropriate for Education. The multiple elements of the effort qualify it for Full Campaign/Series. The Comcast Southern Division, with assistance from Comcast Corporate in Philadelphia and the other Comcast divisions, developed, implemented and coordinated the project."

A brief but clear justification statement makes a Beacon Award entry that much easier for a judge to evaluate. For more information about the 2005 Beacon Awards, contact Michelle Butler at or at 202-775-1082.

 Nickelodeon Partners to Teach Kids about Underage Drinking
Nickelodeon and The Century Council have partnered to communicate the negative consequences of underage drinking to middle school children and their parents. The groups recognize that the key to stopping underage drinking is communication between parents and children, early and often. Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix is a new multimedia program that provides kids and parents with strategies to facilitate conversations about the dangers of underage drinking.

Current research shows that about 10.7 million Americans between ages 12 and 20 use alcohol and 46 percent of eighth-graders report using alcohol at least once. Parents are the foremost influence on a child's decision to drink or not to drink. However, there is a communication gap between family members when it comes to alcohol. Nickelodeon and The Century Council believe that with the tools they offer, parents and children will become more aware and this gap can be minimized.

These tools include informational booklets, Web sites, and television advertising designed to reach parents and children. The parent's booklet details strategies for beginning and sustaining a conversation about alcohol, answering tough questions, and making an impact. It will be distributed nationwide in the September issue of Nick Jr. Family Magazine. Parents will be able to visit a Web site for supplementary information including links to national and local resources related to underage drinking. Television advertising created by The Century Council will seek to make parents aware of the importance of talking to their children about drinking.

Another booklet is designed for children, with interactive games and trivia cards that teach them the facts about alcohol use. The kids' booklet also features creative ways to say no and an Action Against Alcohol Agreement that both kids and parents can sign. This booklet will be distributed in the September Nickelodeon Magazine. Additional information will be available on the kids' Web site, including monthly polls. Lastly, television advertising produced by Nickelodeon will attempt to educate children about the dangers of underage drinking.

In the future, The Century Council intends to introduce a teacher-focused component and Spanish language component of this program. The Century Council was launched in 1991 with the mission of promoting decision-making regarding drinking or non-drinking of alcohol and to discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement, and other programs.

 CableLabs Releases Technical Specifications to Aid Electronic Surveillance
Cable Television Laboratories (CableLabs) released "PacketCable Electronic Surveillance Specification," a technical specification developed to assist the cable industry's compliance with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This release marks a step forward in the industry's compliance with law enforcement access needs. PacketCable represents the industry's interoperable interface specifications for a wide variety of services including Internet Protocol (IP) technology services such as Voice over IP, or VoIP. The FBI responded positively to CableLab's efforts to address concerns over VoIP and the ability of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to protect the public as new technologies are adopted.

CableLabs first addressed a technical solution for electronic surveillance of IP networks in December 1999. Since then CableLabs has cooperated with law enforcement to identify necessary changes and additions to existing technical specifications. This release is the result of several years of work and provides a critical tool for future use of court-authorized electronic surveillance to guard national security and public safety.

CableLabs ( is a non-profit research and development consortium founded in 1988 by members of the cable industry around the world. The organization is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those advancements into their business objectives. For more information on PacketCable, contact Mike Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Communications for CableLabs, at 303-661-3766 or

 Discovery Announces 2004 Young Scientist Semifinalists
Selection has begun for the fifth annual Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC), a contest that encourages scientific research and makes science fun for middle school students by recognizing up and coming young scientists and rewarding their superior work. Four hundred semifinalists have been chosen from the 1,795 formal entries submitted to compete for the title, "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."

The semifinalists were chosen from a pool of approximately 75,000 students nationwide who enter science fairs recognized by Science Service, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of science and host to respected national and international science competitions. Fair directors nominate students who then submit formal entries and have a chance to become semifinalists. Semifinalists are chosen for their complex work in areas ranging from biochemistry to zoology, and their ability to effectively communicate the purpose of their efforts.

On September 20, judges will narrow the 400 semifinalists to an elite group of 40 students who will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC, for the final competition, October 23-27. In the nation's capital, the students will compete in interactive team challenges addressing diverse scientific disciplines, and present their individual projects, vying for a total of $100,000 in scholarship and prizes. One student will earn the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."

 Cox Teaches Parents How to 'Take Charge' of TV, Internet & Phone
After Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl half-time show ignited indecency concerns, Cox Communications conducted research and found that 85 percent of parents questioned were concerned about their children gaining access to inappropriate content on television and the Internet. All respondents included in the study were parents, subscribed to cable or satellite, and had access to the Internet at home. The results prompted Cox to develop a new public affairs program that teaches parents how to "Take Charge!" of their digital home. The campaign will include public service announcements and a special section on the Cox Web site.

Cox has partnered with "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh, who will appear in the PSAs. Walsh became an advocate for children after his son, Adam, was kidnapped and murdered in 1981. He and his wife RevÈ dedicated themselves to children's issues, and their efforts led to the passage of the Missing Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984, establishing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Cox will donate $500,000 in PSAs to that organization.

Cox's Web site offers tips and resources for parents on how to take charge of their digital home, including how to use parental controls, establish house rules, and talk with children about safety issues, and recommendations of educational programming on TV and the Internet. Visitors can also view the complete survey results. Other questions addressed include concern over war images from Iraq (more than half were at least somewhat concerned) and ratings of tools for filtering content, such as parental controls and the V-chip.

 NCTA Releases Report on Cable Industry Aid to Hurricane Victims
As residents of Florida head home to face devastating clean up efforts after Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan looms in the distance, NCTA issued a report on how the cable industry aided residents during Hurricane Charley, the first storm that struck the region only three weeks ago. Charley killed 27 people and caused more than $6 billion in damage. During this catastrophe, cable networks provided swift, in-depth coverage to help viewers prepare for the storm's impact and afterwards local cable systems worked with utility companies to restore power and cable services.This support is evidence of the cable industry's lasting commitment to the towns and cities it serves and will no doubt continue as the region braces for a new storm and recovers from Charley and Frances.

On Friday, August 13, when the hurricane made landfall, more viewers turned to the Weather Channel than any other news and weather cable network. Its coverage featured four on-site meteorologists reporting from various locations in the hurricane's predicted path. This extensive coverage provided residents with much-needed information on the hurricane's progress, shelter locations, and other health and safety facts.

Bay News 9, Bright House Network's 24-hour local news channel serving the Tampa Bay area, responded immediately as the hurricane approached by switching from regular newscasts to constant reports on Charley. Its local bureaus in seven counties allowed the channel to report changes first before local broadcast channels.

The Florida Channel, the state public affairs network, also helped Florida residents stay informed. Its coverage featured live and repeated broadcasts including press conferences from the Florida Department of Health's Emergency Operations Center, the Governor's office, and other state agencies.

Local cable systems faced the challenges of restoring cable to hard-hit areas that in most cases were without power. By working in conjunction with local utility companies, systems were able to restore cable as quickly as possible without risking the safety of their employees. Crews worked around the clock and are continuing to work as damage from Frances is now being surveyed.

For more information on how your company can use this report, contact NCTA's Communications and Public Affairs Department at 202-775-3680.

 Job - Community Relations Manager, Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks Florida Group is looking for a Community Relations Manager to develop and implement Bright House Networks community relations programs across the Florida footprint. Duties include: work with third parties on co-branded community initiatives, develop collateral materials to promote positive community activities, work in a highly collaborative environment to align business objectives with marketing and advertising sales, develop and implement systems for full documentation of community initiatives, develop a company-wide volunteerism and recognition program, serve as a key contact with industry associations. At least seven years of work experience in public relations or marketing and a Bachelor's degree or equivalent is required. A bilingual (English/Spanish) individual is highly desired. Must demonstrate leadership capability, strong written and verbal communication skills, and creativity in terms of design and layout. A successful candidate will be outgoing and will have superior negotiation skills (i.e. to negotiate contracts with printers and vendors), strong analytical skills, the ability to manage multiple priorities in diverse organizations, and an understanding of company processes. To apply, contact Linda Chambers, Group Vice President of Human Resources, Florida Group Office - 301 E. Pine Street, Suite 600, Orlando, FL 32801. Fax: 407-210-3149.

 Job - Director, Public Affairs & Communications, Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks Florida Group seeks a Director, Public Affairs & Communications to develop and implement long-term strategic planning with respect to internal and external public affairs programs for the group. Duties include: conduct daily/real-time media analysis of industry issues, develop and implement strategic/communication planning for new product deployment, work in a highly collaborative environment to align business objectives with marketing and advertising sales, develop and implement sophisticated systems for full documentation of company initiatives, provide long-term strategic planning for positive media relationships, develop and implement internal and external public affairs programs, work with public affairs professionals in each division in the Florida Group by providing information, reporting on developments, conducting informal meetings, and attending various meetings as appropriate, provide guidance with respect to communication with local, state, and national elected and appointed officials concerning legislative and regulatory issues of interest to the company or industry, serve a critical role with respect to crisis communications, escalation and planning, oversee the preparation of certain internal communications. At least ten years experience in public relations or marketing and a Bachelor's degree or equivalent is required. Post graduate coursework and experience as a reporter or employment with media is preferred. Must demonstrate leadership capability, strong written and verbal communications skills, strong analytical skills, and an understanding of company processes and behavior. The successful candidate will have the ability to think quickly and clearly under pressure. To apply, contact Linda Chambers, Group Vice President of Human Resources, Florida Group Office - 301 E. Pine Street, Suite 600, Orlando, FL 32801. Fax: 407-210-3149.

 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 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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