The Cable Television Public Affairs Association expects
roughly 450 industry executives to head to the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., this
coming weekend for its annual conference, dubbed "Forum '99: Impact 2000."
Forum '99 will focus on partnerships between cable
operators and program networks; operators and local officials; and public-affairs and
"One of the things that interests me most is how you
bridge the gap between all of the new services and consumers' understanding of the
new technologies," said Chris Levesque, vice president of communications and
marketing for Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. and co-chair of this year's conference.
Bravo president Kathleen Dore -- a panelist on the opening
seminar on industry partnership -- said public affairs will take on "more
significance in an environment that's both deregulated and competitive."
The CTPAA's membership is up significantly over
previous years, according to executive director Sara Breaux.
Bonnie Hathaway, director of community relations at Time
Warner Cable's corporate office and co-chair of Forum '99, said she's
excited by the involvement from so many CTPAA members in planning the conference.
"There are more people than ever before with hands-on
participation in putting this together," she said, adding that such active
participation was a key a goal of the CTPAA board.
"People came forward to volunteer," Hathaway
said. "That's the sign of a very vital organization."
Hathaway said the conference committee was challenged to
balance the needs of association newcomers and longtime veterans. The committee developed
events of interest to both groups, including a pre-Forum workshop Sunday, April 11 -- a
kind of "Dealing with the Media 101" for new public-affairs executives -- and an
invitation-only think tank for veterans.
Pre-conference events begin Saturday (April 10) with a golf
tournament courtesy of The Golf Channel. Opening ceremonies are slated for Monday, April
12. The conference runs through April 14.
A president's reception next Tuesday evening will
honor this year's president's award winners: Steve Effros, president of the
Cable Telecommunications Association (CATA); Megan Hookey, managing director of Cable in
the Classroom; and Brian Lamb; chairman and CEO of C-SPAN.