NEW ORLEANS — As part of cable’s giveback to New Orleans at the 2008 Cable Show in May, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association is considering a battle of the bands featuring homegrown cable talent, NCTA’s Barbara York and Mark Bell said today.

Instead of paying a professional entertainer, NCTA would use the money to give New Orleans “a significant dollar amount,” York said. The closing night party would feature cable industry employees and their bands competing in an American Idol format, complete with celebrity judges.

Bell and York noted that the idea is in the early planning stages.

York is also urging cable companies to either volunteer for local "giveback" activities or devise their own as part of an umbrella program that NCTA will stage for New Orleans. Companies could volunteer to paint a building, or spruce up a playground, she said. 

About 30 exhibitors, representing cable networks, vendors and other booth-buyers, in addition to press and NCTA officials were briefed here today by New Orleans officials concerning the upcoming cable industry trade show, including touring the freshly carpeted convention center.

Needless to say, officials said New Orleans is back and better than ever. Even the notoriously dirty French Quarter should be sparkling, said Sallee Pavlovich, the Convention and Visitors Bureau director for trade show sales.

Since January 1 the Quarter’s garbage collection services have been contracted out to private industry, Pavlovich noted.

Exhibitors also were reassured that local hotels, restaurants and the tourism industry would be more than ready, and that there would be ample logistical support for the industry’s convention in May.

The NCTA expects about 15,000 attendees at the 2008 Cable Show.

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