News

Community Spirits Replace CableACEs

1/31/1999 7:00 PM Eastern

Less than one year after the industry bade goodbye to the
National CableACE Awards, the Local CableACE Awards met with a similar fate.

The National Cable Television Association said it will
replace the Local CableACEs with a new local-programming-recognition program called the
"Community Spirit Awards."

The Community Spirit Awards differs from its predecessors
in that it recognizes across-the-board programming excellence at local cable systems or
regional cable networks, rather than specific programs.

"We thought that it was time to recognize whole bodies
of work at a particular system," said Robert Miron, president of Advance/Newhouse
Communications and chairman of the Local CableACE review committee.

Local programmers were pleased with the changes.

"This should be more equitable in rewarding overall
excellence, and not just the one-show wonder or the one particular show that happens to
exactly match an existing category," said Pat Scanlon, general manager of Comcast
Corp.'s CN8: The Comcast Network.

Scanlon also applauded the Community Spirit Awards'
philosophy of recognizing a team effort, rather than the one name on an entry form.

The new awards format will allow CN8 to showcase its
five-minute news segments, called Comcast Newsmakers, which highlight daily
interviews with local government officials and celebrities.

"There had never been a category to fit Comcast
Newsmakers
," whether in the local CableACEs or the regional Emmy awards, Scanlon
said.

Laurie Giddins, senior vice president of Rainbow Media
Holdings Inc. and executive in charge of MSG Metro Channels, said the local awards program
not only showcases great work, but it also encourages it and ultimately funds it, too.

"Local is the last great frontier," Giddins said,
"and it's being conquered by some very exciting programming."

Miron said the depth and quality of local programming
differentiates cable from broadcast television and direct-broadcast satellite.

More than just news and public-affairs, local programming
also includes topics like high-school sports, which are sometimes closer to the hearts of
viewers.

"We have the resources, the news crews and the
personalities to cover the entire Delaware Valley and to cover breaking news and cover it
live," said Jamey Horan, director of public relations for Comcast SportsNet.

Federal program-access rules allow Comcast to withhold its
regional-sports programming from DBS providers.

Entries for the first Community Spirit Awards competition
are due Feb. 26. Winners will be honored at an awards luncheon Tuesday, May 11, in
Washington, D.C.

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