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RESTORING RELEVANCE IN CHICAGO

Jul 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Timothy Larson rescued CTAM of Chicago from obscurity. He served as president of the chapter for the past three years, during which time the market underwent seismic changes. Where there were once six cable operators, there is now just one major operator, Comcast.
As the potential membership base shrank, CTAM needed to evaluate how to work with the remaining player and smaller ancillary ones. “The Chicago chapter needed to communicate how it could help,” said Mr. Larson, director of affiliate sales at the Home Shopping Network. He’s receiving a TAMI Award for his support and leadership at CTAM of Chicago.
“I think there was a misconception that CTAM was a social organization primarily for networking purposes,” he said. To combat that notion, Mr. Larson worked with the operators to understand their needs in the market and for the association.
“We sat down with key decisionmakers on the marketing side and said, `What do you need to accomplish this year?’ and we took it a year at a time and we targeted what those things were and tried to make the subjects of our program match what their goals were so they could send key people in,” he said.
“We were looking at a drop in membership, or at worst, the dissolution of the entire chapter,” he said. Instead, the organization made itself more relevant and now plans to change its name from CTAM of Chicago to CTAM Midwest, which will include four to five states, encompassing Charter’s St. Louis system and Insight’s footprint in Indiana.
“What we’ve tried to do is take a look at how the marketplace has changed, and change with the marketplace,” Mr. Larson said.