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Abdoulah, Gessner Elected To Lead ACA For Next Two Years

Colleen Abdoulah, Chairwoman & CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone, was elected Chairwoman of the American Cable Association, and Robert Gessner, President of Massillon Cable TV, was elected ACA Vice Chairman, each for two-year terms by a vote of the ACA Membership announced today.

"This is a critical time for the independent cable community" Abdoulah said.  "I'm proud to lead ACA's public policy agenda as we move forward with plans to educate policymakers on the important role we play in the communications market and the urgent need for new policies designed to meet the diverse interests of today's consumer."

The issues facing ACA Members include reform of the 1992 Cable Act and its outdated retransmission consent provisions; Universal Service Fund subsidies for rural broadband providers; and access to programming on fair and reasonable terms for individual cable operators as well as buying groups.

"I plan to devote my time and energy to ensure that Washington policymakers advance the interests of the 8.5 million consumers served by ACA Members," ACA's Gessner said. "Retransmission consent reform is essential because current rules are harmful and need to be changed to the fullest extent possible, including elimination of the regulatory protections for broadcasters that keep driving up the price of ‘free TV.'"

ACA Board elections were announced July 23 at the ACA Membership meeting held at the 7th Independent Show in Lake Buena Vista, Fl.  The Independent Show is a  leading communications industry forum co-hosted and jointly organized by ACA and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), a Lenexa, Kansas-based group that purchases programming and equipment for U.S. cable operators. The show attracted more than 1,300 attendees.

"Colleen and Bob are two tested and talented executives who will lead ACA in urging lawmakers to undertake the most sweeping reassessment of current laws and regulations. I am confident that no one can advance the interests of ACA Members in the big battles ahead better than Colleen and Bob," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

Abdoulah and Gessner will serve as leading advocates for the small, independent cable community before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Obama Administration.

Abdoulah was appointed ACA Chairwoman last July, succeeding Wave Broadband Chief Operating Officer Steve Friedman, who continues to serve on ACA's Board of Directors. Abdoulah became ACA Vice Chairman in April, 2011, just prior to the 18th ACA Summit in Washington, D.C. She joined the ACA Board in October, 2008.

In 2010, Abdoulah testified three times before Congress to express ACA's concerns with the Comcast-NBC Universal merger pending before the FCC and the Department of Justice.  She is also testifying on July 24 before the Senate Commerce Committee, which is reviewing the "Future of Video" and the "Cable Act at 20." 

Gessner became ACA Vice Chairman last July by appointment. He joined the ACA Board in July 2010, quickly becoming an influential voice on a range of policy and technology issues.

The following individuals, all of them current voting ACA Board Members, were each elected to new three-year terms:

  • Jim Beattie, BEVCOMM (Board Member since 2011)
  • Allan Block, Buckeye Cablevision (Board Member since 2002)
  • Jim Gleason, NewWave (Board Member since 1998)
  • John Gdovin, Patriot Media (Board Member since 2008)
  • Terry Nidiffer, GCI (Board Member since 2007)



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