PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE | March 22, 2021

FCC Update


The 6th Circuit Court has rejected the FCC’s request to delay oral arguments in the City of Eugene OR vs FCC case. The case will be argued on April 15 as scheduled.  The Commission had requested a six-month delay to reexamine the Order because of the change in Commissioners and Administration, but NCTA objected as an intervenor – and wanted to defend the FCC’s ruling even though they are not named as defendants in the case.  The cable industry lobby argued they were being harmed by delays in the case.   

We’ll keep you posted on the case - and if you want to join us for the next ACM Public Policy call on April 1st, let me know by email at 

The PEW Research Center 

We know that cable subscribers have been “cutting the cord” – or more precisely “switching the cord” – from cable to broadband in the last five years.  The PEW Research Center documents the demographic trends in a new report this week. View the document here. 

Over the five-year period ending this year, the percentage of Americans receiving cable or satellite service dropped from 76 to 56 percent.  PEW doesn’t capture the uptick in broadband subscriptions at the same time, and doesn’t breakout satellite (which has nearly collapsed compared to cable), but the 20 percent drop in total households in five years is a huge number.

We know that drop isn’t uniform across the country – it differs by region - and it’s not uniformly spread across age groups.  PEW does a nice job documenting this.  The Age 65 and older demographic only dropped by five percent during the period, while Age 18-29 dropped a whopping thirty percent (see the picture below).   

The report underlines the need for all PEG content producers and channels to be seeking on-line multichannel solutions – that’s where an increasing amount of audience lives.  And it strengthens the case for more sustainable and diversified solutions for funding local content and training.  At the same time, people should not give up on the usefulness of a cable channel – whether for broad delivery to about half of the population (which is still a big number) or particularly for services to older Americans.   

Tech Trends Report

Since we’re looking at trends, let’s look ahead.  The Future Today Institute has released its 2021 Tech Trends Report. The futurist think tank follows trends in media, journalism, technology, government, artificial intelligence and other areas and then looks at potential impacts in a compelling way.   

Take a look at the report – if you have 10 minutes or 10 hours. You can grab-and-go or dive deep into their discussions and expert perspectives.  

ACM 2021 Awards!

ACM has opened up the nomination process for our National Recognition and Leadership awards – folks and organizations we honor for their service and achievements for communities and our field. If you want to recognize someone’s leadership – or that of your own organization – we want to hear from you!  Click here to make a nomination by Monday, April 12. 

Thank you!