The cable industry returns to New Orleans this month for The Cable Show ’08, the show’s first visit to the city since Hurricane Katrina. While we have gathered in New Orleans eight times for previous annual conventions, this year will be different.

In planning the Show, NCTA’s Board of Directors and Convention Committee decided that we needed to give something back to a city that has meant so much to our industry over the years. The result of that thinking— the CableCares initiative—is focusing on areas in which we can have an impact: the recovery of the city’s schools, and assistance to people still in need.

CableCares is a way for everyone, at every level, to help. Many cable industry companies already have contributed to the effort, providing volunteers, staging their own projects under the CableCares umbrella, and making significant in-kind and financial contributions.

However, all of us can still lend a hand and make a difference, even those not attending the Show.

One easy way to participate is through the book drive portion of the program. Many schools in New Orleans lost their libraries during Katrina, so the book drive will help replenish library shelves. If you’re attending the Show, bring a copy of an elementary school-level book to the convention and drop it off at the CableCares Booth on the exhibit floor. If you can’t make the Show, or haven’t obtained books to contribute, money can be donated online for books via the Cable Hope Fund (www.cablehopefund.org). For every $250, CableCares will outfit an entire class with a set of 30 classroom books for use in English classes.www.cablehopefund.org

On the evening of Tuesday, May 20, the "Battle of the Bands" officially closes the Show at the Morial Convention Center in the name of CableCares. Bands featuring cable colleagues will entertain the crowd and compete for best band.

Money raised will go to New Orleans schools, libraries and a variety of organizations helping the city to rebuild. Can’t be in New Orleans for the event? You can watch the show—and donate to the cause—online.

If however you’ll be watching the bands in person, look for the silent auction taking place throughout the evening, featuring autographed guitars from music legends such as Eric Clapton and B.B. King.

Other auction items include signed drumheads, packages for 2009 New Orleans JazzFest, and vintage wine. And all proceeds go directly to the cause.

I’m proud of how our industry has come together in the spirit of goodwill under CableCares. To the many companies and people who already have contributed to this effort—thank you.

In 2005, we watched as the devastation of the storm played out on our TV screens across the country. Now we see a city that has picked itself up and returned to a place where the good times can roll again.

But the work isn’t yet complete. So let’s lend a big hand to the Big Easy.

To see the full slate of CableCares activities—and for information on how to contribute or volunteer for one of the many CableCares projects—visit www.thecableshow.com/cablecares.www.thecableshow.com/cablecares.

(Kyle McSlarrow is president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association).

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