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After a Busy INTX Week, NESN Staff Makes Time to Pitch In

Boston is New England Sports Network’s hometown (it’s owned by the local Red Sox and Bruins), so when the cable-TV industry’s national convention comes around, as INTX did May 16-18, that means inviting some visitors to Fenway Park or to a hotel rooftop cocktail party and even hitting the show floor for a bit.

For 10 NESN staffers, the Thursday morning after the show was time to uproot some invasive plants along the Charles River, along with other volunteers helping out TheEsplanade Association. (UPDATE: See NESN staffers at work along the esplanade in this NESN promotional spot supporting the organization). 

Since 2008, NESN, under CEO Sean McGrail, has encouraged employees to volunteer with three fully paid days to get out of the office and do community work.

“It ’s a win-win al l around,” Gary Roy, NESN’s marketing and communications manager, told The Wire. “Helping great organizations and at the same time getting to enjoy some time outside the office with our co-workers.”

Last year, Roy said, a shade under 90% of NESN’s 185 employees volunteered at NESN Connects events and about half went to multiple events. This year, the hope is nearly 100% will participate as the channel works to try to schedule events that can accommodate everyone’s crazy work times.

The commitment adds up to nearly 1,000 hours of community service per year to more than a dozen non-profits.

Other recent NESN Connects events included the Watertown Police Stay Strong 5K Race on Sunday, April 17: “The events following the Boston Marathon bombing hit close to home for NESN, as our studios are located in Watertown,” Roy pointed out.

And at the Walker School “Lives in Bloom Gala” on Saturday, May 7, NESN employees helped set up and staff the annual fundraiser serving a local agency that helps children and families facing complex emotional, behavioral and learning challenges.

Roy also confirmed that NESN will once again be in Newport, R.I., this July hosting the opening-night party at the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association convention.

Seeing Red (Tape) Over Title II

The Federal Communications Commission got special recognition in a Heritage Foundation report, “Red Tape Rising,” which was released last week.

It was not the kind of shout-out the FCC was looking for.

Along with “unnavigable water rules” and “the FDA food police,” the conservative group cited among the “rampant rulemaking” going on the FCC’s “Neutralizing the Internet” regulations, better known as the Open Internet order or Title II reclassification decision or, if you ask many ISPs, the !@#$%^& proposal, as an economic downer.

Heritage did not put a regulatory cost on the rules, but in citing the 229 major regulations under the Obama administration, at an estimated cost of $108 billion, only 10 government regulatory eff orts got their own bold subhead, and the FCC’s action was one.

Heritage said that, thanks to the Open Internet order, “not only will investment and growth in the Internet be chilled, but innovation itself will be hindered.”

The report also made some recommendations, including making independent agencies like the FCC and Federal Trade Commission subject to review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which reviews executive branch regulations — the Environmental Protection Agency, for example — but not independent agencies. “These agencies should be fully subject to the same regulatory review requirements as executive branch agencies.”

— John Eggerton

C-SPAN’s Senate Spinoff Deliberates on a Milestone

On June 2, C-SPAN2 will celebrate its 30th birthday.

It was on that date back in 1986 that the channel was launched to carry coverage from the Senate chamber, adding the “two punch” to C-SPAN’s coverage of the House that launched on March 19, 1979.

So, courtesy of the proud papa, or mothership (that would be C-SPAN), here are some C-SPAN2 anniversary numbers. C-SPAN, BTW, is brought to you as a public service by your local cable company.

Hours of Senate debate televised: 33,120

Years from first proposal to broadcast from Senate to C-SPAN2 launch: 64

Number of senators around for the launch who are still senators: 5

Number of women senators in 1986: 2

Number of women senators today: 20

At, The Wire will link to highlights from the past 30 years of senate coverage. And those nostalgic for the debate over President George H.W. Bush’s veto of the 1992 Cable Act (it was overridden), or masochistic cable operators who want to hear someone other than current Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler beat them up over being monopolists, can click through to that debate as well.

— John Eggerton