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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2006
Contact:  Steve Jones
(202) 775-1083
sjones@ctpaa.org

CTPAA Announces Winners of the
3rd Annual Public Affairs Achievement Award

Al Aldridge, Bright House Networks, Indiana; Paul Jacobson, Adelphia Communications;
Libby O�Connell, A&E Television Networks and Meredith Wagner, Lifetime Television,
will be recognized during FORUM 2006

Washington, DC � The Cable Television Public Affairs Association (CTPAA) today announced the winners of the third annual CTPAA Public Affairs Achievement Award. The winners are

Al Aldridge, director, public affairs, Bright House Networks, Indiana; Paul Jacobson, vice president, corporate communications, Adelphia Communications; Libby O’Connell, chief historian and senior vice president, corporate outreach, A&E Television Networks; and Meredith Wagner, executive vice president, public affairs & corporate communications, Lifetime Television.

The Public Affairs Achievement Award recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions within cable public affairs and to CTPAA. Up to four awards are presented each year to public affairs executives. The awards will be presented at the JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, D.C., on Monday, March 20 during CTPAA’s FORUM 2006 conference, “Cable at the Crossroads: Shaping Change in a Competitive World.” FORUM is the cable industry’s annual educational event dedicated to the issues facing public affairs professionals.

"Al Aldridge, Paul Jacobson, Libby O’Connell, and Meredith Wagner have been extremely effective in utilizing their positions to further the accomplishments of cable public affairs professionals," said CTPAA President Anita Lamont, corporate director, field communications, Charter Communications, Inc. "The CTPAA Public Affairs Achievement Award was created to acknowledge individuals who develop and execute effective public affairs initiatives throughout their careers. These four professionals have created an outstanding path for their peers to follow to their own successes.”

During his nearly 20 years with Bright House Networks, and its predecessors American Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, Othor "Al" Aldridge has been a passionate advocate for community involvement. His work in public affairs embodies Aldridge’s philosophy, "If, as a business, you are charging the community for a service, it is your obligation to give back as well." In a single year, Aldridge authorizes and coordinates more than $300,000 of in-kind support to Indianapolis area community and educational organizations. Through unique partnerships and innovative public affairs programs, Aldridge has impacted dozens of local organizations including the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). He has enriched the lives of IPS students by coordinating a grant request that has resulted in putting laptops and discounted cable modems in the homes of nearly 1,200 sixth graders and by producing a video that is used in fundraising efforts for a third grade reading program. His Beacon Award TM winning initiative "Bright Community Campaign" raises money for local charities by donating half of the installation fees during a two-week period. Over the three years this campaign has run, it has raised more than $81,000 for nine community organizations.

A 24-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Aldridge served his country as a broadcast journalist, public affairs officer, combat photojournalist and a senior broadcast skills assistant professor at the Department of Defense Information School at Fort Harrison in Indianapolis. He just finished his first book, "Those Damn Flying Cows," a novel about Vietnam.

Paul Jacobson is an effective, well-respected, cable industry communicator. In his current position at Adelphia, he has risen to the challenge of repairing the company's damaged reputation following accounting fraud schemes and convictions of its top executives. When Jacobson and the new management team arrived, he implemented a strategic communications plan to return credibility to the company and to maintain a tone of honesty and transparency throughout the management shift and bankruptcy procedures. Jacobson reached out to a wide range of audiences, from employees to Wall Street to customers in small towns across America. Through aggressive message construction and media tours, he helped ensure that Adelphia spoke with one voice and a consistent message.

Jacobson’s career includes work as Deputy Communications Director for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn), where he oversaw communications for Medicare and prescription drug legislation as it moved through the Senate and served as spokesperson on several issues. Jacobson also ran communications at another cable industry company, Starz Encore Group, where he promoted the network's early innovations in programming strategy including subscription video-on-demand and an online subscription movie service. Jacobson serves on the CTPAA Board of Directors.

For more than a decade at A&E Television Networks, Libby O'Connell, Ph.D. has been a model for how to use positive community relations to raise the profile of the cable industry and how to draw upon the power of television to educate and inspire. In her current role at A&E, she serves as historical advisor for the History Channel's programming department, develops and produces educational and community-based initiatives, and oversees onsite video production with organizations such as the Smithsonian and the National Park Service. In support of A&E's new series, "Intervention," she is working with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and local cable systems to organize town hall meetings highlighting the way family members and loved ones can help those battling addictions.

As a founder of The History Channel's "Save Our History" initiative, O'Connell has invigorated historical discovery in communities across the country. She has inspired teachers, students and families to learn more about their local history and how they can preserve structures, documents and historic sites in their towns and cities. She lends her support to industry organizations, serving as a board member for CTPAA and Cable in the Classroom and is also active in organizations outside of the industry, helping to bolster cable's reputation in cultural and educational institutions including the Smithsonian and National History Day.

One of the pioneers of public education and advocacy in the cable industry, Meredith Wagner has been instrumental in developing Lifetime Television's unique commitment to using the power of the media to make a positive difference in the lives of women. In her 19 years at Lifetime, Wagner has led the way for the network's award-winning Our Lifetime Commitment (1999 Golden Beacon Award) public outreach campaigns, establishing the network as a trusted advocate for a range of women's issues including breast cancer, heart disease, violence against women, and girls' self esteem. In the past two years, Wagner has led Lifetime and its partners to successfully lobby for legislation to protect women through its Stop Violence Against Women campaign (winning the 2005 Golden Beacon Award). Legislation directly influenced by Lifetime includes The Violence Against Women Act (providing assistance to women, reauthorized in 2005), the Video Voyeurism Protection Act of 2004, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act 2005.

Wagner herself has been honored by numerous groups including the American Women in Radio and Television, the National Organization for Women, and HELP USA. Wagner serves on the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Women's Leadership Board as well as numerous advisory boards including the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Rock the Vote, and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Media Task Force. Additionally, Wagner is a past president of CTPAA.

# # #

CTPAA is the only national, professional organization specifically addressing the issues, needs and interests of the cable industry�s public affairs professionals. Its mission is to develop and promote public affairs excellence to help achieve industry, corporate and social goals. A strong advocate of the public affairs professional�s participation in all aspects of corporate decision-making processes, CTPAA works to enhance each member�s status and influence through skill building and professional development. For more information on CTPAA and FORUM 2006, go to www.ctpaa.org.

 

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