A friendly mole at SBC Communications forwarded an internalelectronic newsletter from a few weeks ago that, in retrospect, may say quite a bit aboutwhat TCI was thinking in the days before AT&T signed on as a brand partner. Under theheadline, "TCI Direct-Mails Livermore, Pleasanton and Fremont and SurveysDallas," the item reads, in part: "Also, a Dallas employee reports beingcontacted by a research company conducting a survey for TCI, stating that TCI is planningto provide local telephone service in the Dallas area. The employee was asked to rate thecompany currently providing local service, and asked if lower rates would be an incentiveto switch providers. After answering all of the questions, the employee informed thesurveyor that he is a SBC employee, and local phone service can get no better than SBC!"
Some CTAM attendees were treated to a little deja vu allover again last week, as they listened to Rosabeth Moss Kanter expound onflexible-management practices to help organizations pilot changing seas. Kanter, the famedHarvard Business School professor, also spoke at CTAM's 1990 conference in San Diego,when she was the group's first big-ticket speaker, pocketing an honorarium of around$28,000, a former CTAM executive recalled. (Her fee this time was about the same, CTAMofficials said: Harvard doesn't come cheap.) CTAM president Char Beales, who enjoyedKanter both times, said the professor managed toeffectively use Alice inWonderland's croquet match as a metaphor on both occasions, to make differentpoints. Also, both times, Kanter was hawking a book.
Ever have one of those days when you're running latefor a ship-board appointment, get there just in time to hear the boat's horn honk,persuade the deckhands to restore the gangplank, rush onto the boat and steam away fromthe dock feeling greatly relieved -- only to find that you're on the wrong boat? Thathappened to Game Show Network senior VP Caroline Beck last Tuesday atCTAM in Chicago. Beck and Game Show creative manager Faye Walker, who say they felt alittle like Lucy and Ethel, were supposed to be on the Multichannel News and Cablevisionboat, but they ended up crashing the Encore Movieplex yacht party, instead. (Apparently,they didn't notice the giant "Encore Mooovieplex" Holstein riding onthe back.) Beck and Walker had a great time: People were friendly, and the dinner anddrinks were terrific. "But we also didn't know many people on the Encoreboat," she said.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship may finally be onthe right track to getting back on cable systems. The no-holds-barred martial-artsorganization -- which has been banned by several MSOs because of its violent nature -- hasjoined the newly formed Mixed Martial Arts Council, developed to sanction and regulatesuch events. Headed by Olympic gold-medal-winner Jeff Blatnik -- who is also a member ofthe President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport -- the organization is hopingto bring more credibility to the controversial sport. The UFC is alreadywinning over some operators: Adelphia has decided to carry the sport again, sources said,although it's unclear whether the decision was based on the new sanctioning body.
By Kent Gibbons, from bureau reports.