Only 70 Days to the 2005 Beacon Awards Deadline!
There are 70 days until the 2005 Beacon Awards deadline of December 3, 2004, and 56 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 70 days may seem like a long way off, it's now time to begin working on a submission to the Beacon Awards.

If you have been following the series of tips on putting together a 2005 Beacon Award entry running in CPR Facts, you may have already thought about which public affairs initiatives from the past year you should enter and which categories may be the best ones to enter. As you carve out time of your busy schedule to put together your entries, you might wonder if the Beacon Awards are worth the time and effort. CTPAA asked the 2004 Beacon Award winners what the recognition meant to them.

"Winning a Beacon is like an actor winning an Oscar. It's the highest recognition of the quality and value of our work," said Sue Breckenridge, vice president, public affairs, Time Warner Cable. She won a 2004 Beacon Award for her Ice Storm Crisis Campaign. "When our professional peers tell us these projects are 'winners,' we know we have achieved our goals, and that recognition incents us to continue to do our best."

Reg Griffin, vice president of communications & community affairs, Comcast Southern Division, said, "I think the greatest honor in winning a Beacon Award comes from knowing that your project has been reviewed by industry peers and judged as among the best efforts in the business." Griffin's 2004 Beacon Award recognized his entry Comcast Present James McBride.

In addition to the honor and prestige that comes with a Beacon Award, the recognition can help you in all aspects of your job. The Beacon Awards help to define what achievement is in cable public affairs.

"The success of many public affairs initiatives can be difficult to measure in terms of hard numbers and data," said Ray Purser, vice president of public affairs, Time Warner Cable - Houston. "A Beacon Award helps define success. It is recognition from your peers that you've executed something really special. A Beacon Award winning initiative sets the benchmark." Purser's peers honored his 2004 Beacon Award entry Political Action Committee - Candidate Forum.

The Beacon Award can inspire and renew winners' enthusiasm and give them good ideas for their jobs. "After 18 years of hard public affairs work in this cable industry, someone finally said, 'Good on you!'" Al Aldridge, director, public affairs, Bright House Networks, Indiana added, "It was also the impetus for me not to retire as planned but to continue to work a few more years for this industry in my community, and maybe I'll be recognized again for quality work." Aldrige earned the 2004 Beacon Award for his "Bright Community" Promotion.

"The recognition inspires you to continue to think outside the box for new and better ways to connect with our customers, employees and the individual communities that we serve," said Griffin. "If you leave the ceremony without four or five great ideas that you could modify and implement in your system, you simply weren't paying attention."

Winning a Beacon Award can help you strengthen your relationships with your different audiences. It can aid in affiliate relations. Many of the public affairs initiatives that cable networks receive Beacon Awards for include strong affiliate relations' components, and a Beacon Award can increase operator recognition of those programs.

Ellen Schned, senior vice president, affiliate ad sales and marketing, Court TV, said, "Court TV's nine Beacon Awards made our entire team feel great and not only resonated throughout Court TV, but apparently throughout the industry as well based on the terrific feedback we received from our MSO partners." Court TV's nine Beacon Awards recognized their Choices and Consequences, Digital Fingerprinting, Forensics in the Classroom, Everyday Heroes, and the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commemoration public affairs initiatives.

A Beacon Award can help internally with employee morale and recognition of the efforts made by the company's public affairs team and help externally with government relations.

"It's easier to get employee volunteers when they know our projects win awards," Breckenridge said. "We also use the communication templates CTPAA provides the winners, and we always receive responses. We hear back from local, state and federal elected officials that our community commitments have 'Ötrue value for the local community' (City Councilwoman) and are a wonderful example of what 'Ögood corporate citizenship really means' (U.S. Representative). They are clearly one of our audiences, and their feedback demonstrates a strengthening of our relationships."

Let a 2005 Beacon Award recognize your superior efforts in cable public affairs and help you do your job. You can find helpful information on the CTPAA Web site. CTPAA has posted the 2005 Beacon Award Call for Entries online in pdf format. On the Beacon pages of the CTPAA Web site, members can find brief summaries of 2004 winners and finalists. Members can also read the three-page project summaries from 2001 to 2004 Beacon finalists. These summaries are the core of each Beacon entry and detail the planning, implementation and results of a successful cable public affairs initiative. They can serve as a good model for preparing a 2005 Beacon entry. In order to read these summaries, members will be prompted to enter their user name (their email) and password (their last name). All must be in lowercase letters. For more information about the 2005 Beacon Awards, contact Michelle Butler at or at 202-775-1082.

 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 or at 202-775-1082.

 CTAM Hosts Collaborative Marketing Seminar
Co-chairs, Ellen East, Cox Communications, Vicki Lins, Comcast Spotlight, and Lori McFarling, Discovery Networks have released the schedule for the 2004 CTAM Collaborative Marketing Seminar, October 7, 2004, held at the Grand Hyatt New York. The seminar will consist of six sessions that look at the collaboration between marketing, advertising sales and public affairs and its benefits to both system operators and programmers. Individual session speakers will come from both inside and outside the cable industry.

Bruce Leichtman, president of the Leichtman Research Group, will open the seminar with a straightforward look at cable's competition from an outsider's point of view and projections for the next two years. The session titled, "Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got" will include a panel discussion with Niraj Gupta, Citigroup, John Lansing, Scripps Networks, and Joe Rooney, Cox Communications.

The secrets to using traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies to move an organization forward will be outlined by Michael Prichinello, co-author of "Full Frontal PR." Following his presentation, Kathy Crawford and Scott Brown of MindShare will look at "return on investment" and the ability of cable to reach the consumer on many levels.

Using an innovative panel concept, four executives representing local ad sales, marketing and public affairs will tackle a fictitious case study during the session, "Reality Meets Collaborative Marketing." Following this panel, Howard Byck with Share Our Strength will provide key concepts and real world examples to help executives understand cause-related marketing as both a strategic marketing communications tool and as a long-term business asset.

The day will conclude with the announcement of the Collaborative Marketing Case Study Competition winners, sponsored by Turner Network Television, Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable. After the winners are announced, they discuss their collaborative marketing initiatives. For more information or to register for the seminar please go to By registering no later than October 1, 2004, attendees will save $55 off the seminar registration fee.

 Initiatives Encourage Civic Participation as Election Nears
With election day less than six weeks away, many cable industry companies and organizations are reminding the community about the importance of voting through registration drives and awareness campaigns. Some are reaching out to targeted demographics while others are addressing their communities at large. Time Warner Cable Southwest, Cox Communications New England, Cable in the Classroom and Lifetime Television are all promoting civic participation through public affairs initiatives.

Since August, Time Warner Cable Southwest Division has initiated a strong push for voter awareness. Employees have been wearing "Ask Me About Voting" buttons and providing customers with registration information at their service centers and during on-site service visits. The Rio Grande publics affairs team has educated employees about the voting process through "Civics 101," an employee education session, and a booklet titled "Who Represents Me and Why We Should Care: Government, Voting and Democracy Explained." Approximately 30 employees have become deputy voter registrars, enabling them to collect voter registration cards. Already nearly 5,000 voter registration cards have been distributed. In addition to registration, they are stressing the importance of making it to the polls on Nov. 2.

The Southwest Division's promotion also incorporates several events to persuade the community to vote. The Beaumont system is hosting a Vote-a-Palooza, a free outdoor concert featuring local bands, on Sept. 20 in conjunction with Rock the Vote. Amid non-stop music, attendees will be urged to register to vote at on-site booths. The Rio Grande system has several events planned including a National Hispanic Professionals Organization Mixer to reach out to potential Hispanic voters. A political forum with congressional candidates is scheduled for late October at the University of Texas-Pan American. For more information on Ask Me About Voting, contact Susan Patten, Time Warner Cable Southwest, at

Cox Communications in New England is working to convey the importance of voting to young Latino voters. It has launched PSAs encouraging voting and held a rally last week that drew approximately 100 people. The rally was held in conjunction with MTV's Choose or Loose, and was attended by numerous local government officials and representatives of civic and community organizations. Representatives from about 25 organizations with ties to the Latino community were given informative packets on voting. Cox then challenged these representatives to take the information back to their organizations and advocate voting. In November, Cox Charities will award a $5,000 grant to the organization that best utilized these materials and made the best effort to educate Latinos about voting. For more information contact Leigh Ann Woisard, Cox Communications New England, at

Cable in the Classroom has introduced a clever broadband learning experience that lets participants see what it is like to run for president. Together with the History Channel and CNN, CIC showcases the educational power of broadband through eLECTIONS: Your Adventure in Politics. The one or two player online game allows visitors to test their "electability" by exploring campaign issues, seeking donations from contributors, and comparing milestones of the actual election. The program is designed to highlight cable's broadband technology while simultaneously encouraging students, teachers and parents to take an active part in civic life. For more information contact Wendy Wiener at

Lifetime Television continues its efforts to enlist female voters through the "Every Woman Counts" initiative with humorous PSAs to encourage voting. Other events have promoted voting and participation in the political process at the Republican and Democratic conventions, as reported in past CPR Facts issues on August 27 and July 30.

 The Travel Channel & Time Warner Shine Spotlight on Hometowns
The Travel Channel and Time Warner Cable will shine the spotlight on towns across the country in an educational initiative titled "My Hometown." The promotion runs through the end of October and is designed to encourage children to explore their hometowns and find out what makes their communities unique. Through several contests, online curriculum and Travel Channel programming, students will study geography, history, culture and demographics.

Time Warner Cable has selected ten markets across the country to participate in "My Hometown." Middle school students there will have the opportunity to explore history and culture with their towns as a backdrop. The study will culminate in an online interview with a Travel Channel producer who will lead the students through the process of creating a TV commercial. Students will see examples of creative briefs, scripts and storyboards, and will have the opportunity to ask questions on an online bulletin board.

This curriculum prepares students to test their knowledge in the contest portion of "My Hometown," by writing 30-second television spots promoting their hometowns. The curriculum, however, is not required for participation in the related contests, and students outside of the participating schools may enter. The national grand prizewinner will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, an appearance on the Travel Channel, and a school visit by on-air personality Tracy Gallagher. Five finalists in each market will receive a digital camera, and one first-place winner in every market will receive a portable DVD player with titles from the Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel.

An additional contest is planned for adults, who are asked to invent a creative slogan for their hometowns. Each slogan is entered into local market contests where a local grand prizewinner will receive a digital video camera, and his or her slogan will appear on stickers distributed at Time Warner Cable outlets and local retailers. For more information, visit the My Hometown Web site. Until Oct. 1 when the initiative kicks off, the site will provide information for teachers, and after that it will feature learning resources for students and contest information for both students and adults.

 A&E Networks Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
A&E Networks will honor Hispanic culture by airing over 40 hours of Latino-themed programs and providing educational resources to support the programming. From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the programming will air as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. All A&E networks will air Latino-themed programs, many of which are available in Spanish. They range from documentaries of the Spanish-American War to tours of Latino geographical sites to biographies of famous Hispanics including Pablo Picasso, Fidel Castro, Carlos Santana, Ponce de Leon and Pancho Villa. In addition to programming, A&E has designed English and Spanish language teaching guides to help teachers use the informative programs in their classrooms.

To encourage additional exploration of Hispanic themes, A&E is teaming with local cable systems to host the Hispanic Heritage Photo Collage contest, open to all high school classes. The contest invites students to design a collage poster that represents the richness of Hispanic culture. The winning class can receive up to $2,000 for their classroom, a Kodak Digital Camera, and a VHS library of A&E titles.

Participating cable systems may promote the month-long celebration in different ways. In Denver, Comcast has taken up A&E's cause and has joined with the Cable Center to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month. These organizations are calling for photo contest entries from area high schools and judging them in a local contest. Winners will be announced Oct. 20 at a screening of the History Channel documentary "History of Cinco De Mayo." The grand prize winning class will receive $500, a 35mm Kodak camera and 50 rolls of film, first place will receive $300 and 30 rolls of film, and second place will receive $200 and 20 rolls of film. These winners will then be automatically entered in the national contest. Comcast, the Cable Center and A&E will work together to provide additional education resources on the Internet. Students will also be able to post their artwork and a description of their inspiration on the Cable Center Web site. For more information contact Jenna Farkas, A&E Networks, at

 The Weather Channel Promotes Stamp Collecting with U.S. Postal Service
In October, The Weather Channel will join the United States Postal Service in celebrating National Stamp Collecting Month by educating students of all ages about this popular hobby. This year's theme, "Reach for the Sky and Collect Stamps!" will revolve around Cloudscapes, a series of commemorative postage stamps and collectibles featuring photographs of cloud formations. The program will kick off with the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA, on Monday, Oct. 4. Eager collectors can obtain their 15 stamp set including information about the featured clouds before other post offices distribute the stamps.

An educational kit will be available to cable systems operators to distribute to local schools. The kit is designed to teach students to be "weather wise" and includes The Weather Channel's "Look Up" Sky Awareness teacher's guide and an educational packet about stamp collecting from the Postal Service. Kits will be available from The Weather Channel's electronic education newsletter and the Postal Service.

Comcast Cable in the Boston Area will join The Weather Channel in this program by conducting an art contest for students. Third through fifth grade students are invited to enter their own drawings of a Cloudscape stamp. Four winners will be chosen, and the entire classroom will be VIP guests to the first-day-of-issue ceremony where on-air meteorogolists Nick Walker and Jim Cantore will be present. Posters of the winning drawings will be displayed at the event, and all students attending will receive a VIP Cloudscapes t-shirt.

 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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