Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018 - 18

ACA 25th ANNIVERSARY
CELEBRATING ACA'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY
t was a matter of survival in 1993 as 150 independent cable operators
gathered in Kansas City to discuss how to deal with the 1992
Cable Act and rate regulation. The emergency meeting was called
by two independent operators-Stan Searle and Dean Peterson. The
outcome was the formation of a group, initially called the Small Cable
Business Association, that would go on to become the American Cable
Association. Twenty five years later, long after the Cable Act bit the dust,
ACA continues to grow and fight for its unique membership.
" At that meeting, there was palatable fear that guys were just going to
get wiped out by this. And there was also a sense that the interest of the
smaller operators had basically been completely overlooked in the 1992
Cable Act and that these operators needed to start talking for themselves, "
says ACA's first-ever chairman, David Kinley. A smaller group of
about 20 people ended up meeting in Kansas City until about midnight,
he recalls, and ultimately decided to launch an association. Kinley was
tasked with heading up the effort.
" People had given me a bunch of checks, saying 'do something,' " Kinley
says. The association had its first rally in DC-what would later be
known as ACA Summit-two months later. " We decided we needed to
talk to anybody who would listen to us. It didn't matter if they were procable
or anti-cable, " says Kinley. " The initial reaction we ran into from
the staff on Capitol Hill is that they had no idea there was independent
cable companies out there. They thought the whole industry was TCI
and a few of the large ones. "
For four years, Kinley did it all. Eventually, it was decided that the group
needed a full-time executive director, tapping Matt Polka-then-general
counsel of Star Cable-in 1997. " We were thrilled. He had been involved
from the outset as the head of the grassroots effort, which was a system
of fax machines that we set up to relay information, " Kinley says.
I
ACA 1999: Mike Castleberry, Suzette Castleberry, Kelly Mullins, Ben
Hooks - ACA Chairman, Cheryl Miles, Tom Seale - ACA Treasurer
the decision to create a strategic alliance with NCTC helped raise ACA's
profile. It has had an important seat at the table on issues such as must
carry, net neutrality, broadcast rules and more-successfully explaining
that smaller operators face special circumstances.
" ACA is still a little engine by Washington standards, but it's a much bigger
engine now, " say Gessner. " It has become known in Washington as
a thought leader, an honest broker of information, as a bipartisan worker
for the benefit of ACA's constituents. "
Initially, the group's staff consisted of just Polka and part-timer Karen
Yochum. Today, ACA has grown to 11 full-time employees. " I'm so very
proud of and thankful to our wonderful ACA team for their dedication
and for their spirit as I see them working to put our members and ACA
first in all they do, " Polka says. " I never knew someday if I might have
a chance to build a team as we have been able to do at ACA, but it is
exactly the team I always wanted to work with. "
For the first 10 years or so of ACA's existence, the association " was the
Little Engine that Could, but it really was a little engine, " explains current
ACA chair Robert Gessner, president of MCTV. Both he and Kinley believe
American Cable Association-first known as the
Small Cable Business Association-is founded
as 150 independent cable operators gathered in
Kansas City to figure out how to address government
regulation from the 1992 Cable Act.
1996
1993
ACA wins rate de-regulation of
independent cable with the 1996
Telecommunications Act.
18
cablefaxmag.com
1997
SCBA changes its name to the
American Cable Association
July 2018
Cablefax: The Magazine
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT YOUR
TIME AT ACA?
Robert Shema, ACA evp, member services and finance (employee
since 2004): " When I first came to ACA, I was familiar with working with
MSO GMs that ran the local business, so I thought I had a good idea of
what working with the independents was going to be like. I received my
first call at ACA, and of course it had to do with retransmission consent.
I started to rattle off to the owner of the company what he could do
to remedy his problem when he said, 'Hey, hold on a minute. I am up
on a pole fixing a broken connection.' It was at that moment I realized
what it was going to be like working with independent companies, and
I don't regret for a minute leaving the MSO side of the business to help
independent companies. "
The group decides it needs a full-time
person to head its efforts. Matt Polka,
general counsel of Star Cable, is hired
to lead the association.
1999
2000
ACA and co-op NCTC form a strategic
membership alliance to help give a voice to
independent operators' concerns in DC and
throughout the industry.
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018

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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018 - Contents
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFAX/cablefax-the-magazine-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFAX/cablefax-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFAX/cablefax-september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFAX/cablefax-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-december-2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-april-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-june-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-april-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-october-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-june-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-september-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2017
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-march-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-october-2016
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2014
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2013
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFAX/cablefax-june-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-december-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-september-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-december-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-october-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-july-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-december-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-november-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-september-2010
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https://www.nxtbook.com/accessintelligence/CableFax/cablefax-may-2010
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