NCTA says attendance and exhibitors are tracking in line with last year’s National Show in Atlanta. The newly renamed Cable Show (May 7-9, Vegas) is expected to bring in at least 15K attendees—which, despite consolidation, is the same number the show had when it was last held in Vegas 20 years ago, said NCTA industry affairs svp Barbara York. Of the 324 exhibitors on board, 77 are new to the show. 87 sessions are planned for Vegas, including 4 general sessions featuring such heavyweights as News Corp pres/COO Peter Chernin and Viacom pres/CEO Philippe Dauman (sounds like a nice set-up for an Internet video discussion). This year, the show incorporates CAB’s sales management conference and includes sessions developed with CTAM, SCTE, ACA, CableLabs and other industry groups. But NCTA chief Kyle McSlarrow made it clear that the chief trade assn is not looking to swallow up other groups’ events. "Our business bears little resemblance to the last time we were in Las Vegas 20 years ago. [These events are included] because the business is more intertwined," said Disney Media Networks/ESPN’s George Bodenheimer, who is co-chairing the show with Cox’s Pat Esser. This year’s theme, "Competition Works. Consumers Win!," is also the point of the industry’s new advertising campaign—though it doesn’t sound like FCC chmn Kevin Martin will hear the message. So far, fellow Republican Robert McDowell is the only FCC commissioner confirmed to attend, though Deborah Taylor Tate also looks possible, York said. Other Washington types on the roster include NTIA dir John Kneuer and FTC commish Jon Leibowitz. It should be much easier to attract a Hill contingent in 2009 as the show will take place in DC. Next year, it returns to N’awlins. Other Vegas highlights include an address from Anheuser Busch pres/CEO August Busch who will later join a panel of programmers (including Discovery’s David Zaslav and Scripps’ John Lansing) to discuss emerging ad technologies. — Of course, the real highlight has to be the show’s closing party in which our own Mike Grebb will open acoustic-style for KC and the Sunshine Band. If you hang around after the show, you might persuade him to autograph your copy of Cfax.

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FCC Meeting Dispatch

FCC chmn Ajit Pai would not confirm whether or not he will be leaving the Commission before the end of the year when asked during a press conference Wednesday. “I have made no decisions and I do not have any

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