As cable operators go, Full Channel is a rebel with a cause. The fiercely independent company — let’s remember these are the guys who bucked a Cox buyout and now compete against Verizon — last year began powering its headquarters entirely with renewable wind energy. The initiative, one of the first of its kind in the country, is the latest and most salient extension of Full Channel’s community-mindedness, and earns the family-run business our Community Service Award.
President/CEO Linda Maaia credits her son, VP Levi Maaia, with steering Full Channel in an environmental direction when the two came onboard after the death of her father, Full Channel founder John Donofrio, four years ago. After changing the corporate office’s lightbulbs to eco-friendly models ("The staff thought he was maintenance at first," Linda laughs), Levi helped initiate a battery recycling program that’s thriving. A stunning 40% of Full Channel’s customers from Barrington, Bristol and Warren, R.I., pay their cable bill in person each month, many with used batteries in tow.
In September 2008, through a relationship with nonprofit organization People’s Power & Light, Full Channel came online with 100% local wind power, providing the 10,000 kilowatt hours per month needed to power its headquarters and an additional 60,000 kilowatts/month to transmit residential and commercial service. The operator has 7,000 subs.
To help offset the cost and enable its community to be part of the movement, Full Channel started the GreenLink program, which lets customers pay an additional $1 each month for the cause. While the program is new and the percentage of participants still fairly low, Linda Maaia says, "The number of customers participating grows every month, and we feel really good about that."
The initiative has also instilled goodwill among Full Channel employees. "As a Christmas gift to Levi and me, the staff gave each of us one unit of renewable resource, knowing how important it is to us."
Full Channel sponsors an annual battle of the bands competition and several Little League teams.
The operator carries a live telecast of the July 4th parade from Bristol, R.I. The country’s oldest such continuous celebration.