Why the Beacon Awards Really Matter

The Cable Television Public Affairs Association (CTPAA) annually sponsors the Beacon Awards as part of its mission to develop and promote public-affairs excellence to help achieve industry, corporate and social goals. These Awards recognize the best of the best cable public-affairs campaigns and showcase the many efforts cable companies are making to improve communities across the country.

This year, CTPAA received hundreds of Beacon entries showing the strong and continuing commitment by the cable industry to public affairs. The entries were submitted by cable operators, programming networks, and cable associations for public-affairs projects aimed at the community, customers, education, employees, government, the media or cable association members. Overseeing the Beacon Committee this year were Co-Chairs Maryann Kafer, director, public relations, for the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association, and Stacy Schmitt, director of public affairs for Time Warner Cable/Waco Division.


The entries submitted demonstrate the hard work, innovation and dedication of public-affairs professionals across the nation. It is through cable public-affairs campaigns and volunteer efforts of cable employees that many local charities, non-profit organizations and schools nationwide receive the funds, materials and services needed to further their missions and help those in need.

Just some of the local community projects undertaken by cable companies in 2003 include collecting business clothing for men and women enrolled in non-profit job training programs in San Diego; warning about the risks of Lyme Disease in Connecticut; educating the public about the dangers of marijuana use in Oklahoma City, and working to reduce storm-water pollution in south Florida.

Since 1989, when a group of industry leaders founded Cable in the Classroom, education has been the centerpiece of cable's public-affairs initiatives, and the 2004 Beacon finalists in education demonstrate the strength of cable's commitment to education. Every year, cable programmers produce an array of educational programming. At the national level, cable networks and cable system operators are sponsoring scholarship programs, restoring music education programs and providing to teachers resources that are not only free-of-charge, but diverse and curriculum-rich, touching on every subject area.

Locally, cable systems are improving adult literacy, encouraging at-risk students to stay in school and to consider attending college. What's more, the systems are honoring students' achievements inside and outside the classroom.

The highest honor CTPAA presents is the Golden Beacon Award, which pays tribute to a public initiative that has made an impact within the cable industry while enhancing cable's image nationwide. The 2004 Golden Beacon finalists are Court TV's Forensics in the Classroom, Lifetime Television's Our Lifetime Commitment: Stop Violence Against Women, and Comcast Corp. and C-SPAN Networks' joint initiative, Students & Leaders.


In January 2004, 94 cable public-affairs professionals judged the Beacon Award entries in an extensive, two-part process that spanned three days at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. After an in-depth review of judging procedures and the scoring rubric, panels of judges reviewed each submission and chose the Beacon Award finalists and winners.

CTPAA will honor the Beacon Award finalists and winners during the Beacon Awards Gala, set for Tuesday, March 23, at The Fairmont Hotel, Washington, D.C., in conjunction with CTPAA's FORUM 2004 conference, "Communicating Cable's Value."

CTPAA would like to thank Multichannel News for providing a special showcase for the Beacon Awards and is truly grateful to MTV Networks for supporting this year's Multichannel News Beacon Finalist supplement. CTPAA is proud to join with Multichannel News to congratulate 2004 Golden Beacon and Beacon Award finalists.


Steven R. Jones, Executive Director, Cable Television Public Affairs Association

Chuck Bolkcom, Group Publisher, Reed Business Information