Well, the Loyal Order of the 704 meeting was not as well attended as years past.
Earlier in the year, I had a call from Larry at the Cable Center and he told me
that he had spoken with Dzuban and the Center could not afford to sponsor us
because the bill to sponsor us in Atlanta turned out to be around $23K. I don’t
know how they could come up with a sponsorship cost for just a room, mike and
drinks. He said that he had spoken to Dzuban and Mark wanted to see if the SCTE
Foundation could sponsor the evening and we could possiby turn over the proceeds
of the auctions to the Foundation and the Loyal Order of the 704 would become an
“SCTE Foundation Affair”. But anyhow, I told Larry I understoon and wanted to
make sure he would continue to join us – no matter who the future sponsor turned
out to be. Days later, I got a call from Mark Dzuban and Mark said that it was
true that the Cable Center could not afford to sponsor us, even while they were
receiving the proceeds from the auctions. I told Mark that, while we couldn’t
dictate who would sponsor us, I didn’t want the term “SCTE Foundation Affair” to
be used because the Loyal Order of the 704 operates on its own. Any sponsorship
by the SCTE Foundation would be like any other sponsorship in the past and the
sponsors would have no say in the actual operation or activities of the Loyal
I also told Mark that we are under no obligation to even hold an auction and
only did so to sponsor the “Give Em Th Shaft” plan to help the Center build the
elevator and the shaft. And, even if we did hold auctions, we would reserve the
right to say where that money went – although the members might want to give the
proceeds of whatever over to the SCTE Foundation. The fact is that I believe
most of us would like to help and sponsor the Foundation.
Lori Bower and I spoke by phone later on and she again said the SCTE would
provide a room setup with a microphone but they would be unable to continue to
provide the regular wet bar we have had in the past. We agreed that to keep
costs at a minimum, there would be a bar but no hard liqour or wine. However,
all water and soft drinks would be free.
When I arrived at the Loyal Order room from the Circle of Eagles Dinner, the
first thing I saw was set of tables set up in the back of the room and signs
showing the cost of beer, soft drinks and water. People were coming up to me to
complain that they were being charged $4.00 for a small bottle of water about
the size of one’s hand. I don’t remember what they were being charged for a
soft drink but they weren’t supposed to be charged for soft drinks at all.
JoAnn P. from the SCTE was in the room trying to help us but the hotel people
selling the drinks wouldn’t do anything about changing anything without speaking
to Lori (I believe that is who they said) but we couldn’t reach Lori by phone.
Andy Healey agreed to put up $200 out of his own pocket but even after he did
that to cover the soft drinks and water, they hotel people said they had to
follow instruction and charge for the items – I don’t know if they did this even
after Andy put up the $200 to cover what had been sold – but in any event I kept
getting complaints that the Convention Center people were still charging (I
think they may have just kept Andy’s $200 on top of charging). As you know,
the getting everyone in place, getting the sign-in sheets done, getting the
names of the inductees and those nominating on paper, etc keeps me hoping and I
didn’t need all of the aggravation with the drink-problems.
From the mike, I brought up the situation of why the Center could not continue
to sponsor us. I had Larry The Cable “Center” Guy come up and speak about the
change. Then I had Keith Hayes come up and speak about the needs of the
Foundation. Everyone in the audience had a change to comment and the end result
was that some wanted their money to still go to the Cable Center and some wanted
theirs to go to the Foundation. During the conversations from the floor, Larry
Stiffelman of CommScope and David Lang of Aurora stood and said their companies
would be delighted to sponsor the Loyal Order of the 704 each year. Keith
Hayes, by now, had departed the meeting due to other activities he already
planned. But it was semi-agreed (at least by CommScope and Aurora) that they
wanted to sponsor our evening and perhaps their could be a three-way sponsorship
if the SCTE Foundation wanted to be a one-third sponsor with the other two. The
members agreed and we went on with the evening.
We inducted the following:
1. Jerry Thorne – sponsored by Fred Rogers
2. Bob Monroe – sponsored by John Kurpinski
3. Craig Cutter – sponsored by Ned Mountain
4. Harold Null – sponsored by Les Read
5. David Lang – sponsored by Jack Burton
6. Larry Stiffelman – sponsored by Tom Jokerst
Rickey Luke was gracious enough to record and gather the funds for the evening’s
auctions. We auctioned Three (3) 704 meters and a few more items. I had hoped
to have more auction items available but we did pretty well with what we had:
1. Harland Borstrum (800-326-9444)
for John Kurpinski’s meter with the
money designated to go to the SCTE Foundation.
2. Bob Monroe (813-621-6461
Kreeger’s meter with the money
designated to go to The Cable Center.
3. Jim Kuhns pledged $500.00 for Bill Karnes’ meter with the money designated
to go to The SCTE Foundation.
4. Allen Williams paid $200.00 cash for a framed invitation to the first Loyal
Order of the 704, a memory booklet and Jerrold
key chain and then returned the items to be auctioned at a future event.
5. The Cable Center shipped the left-over T-shirts they had available. We
marked the date of 2011 on the front of them and
able to sell them for $200.00 and we gave the money back to The Cable
Altogether, we were able to raise $1,839.00 for The Cable Center and $1230.00
for the SCTE Foundation.
I think I am going to take the advice of my long-time buddy, fellow
Charter/Emeritus member, ex-leader of the Loyal Order, Ted Hartson and turn the
hosting of the Loyal Order of the 704 over to someone else now. Ted always
admonished us to step aside and let the younger guys run things and I am getting
too old to handle all of the efforts required to set up the evening and plan a
program all the members will enjoy. I certainly don’t have the final say on it
but I would recommend that John Kirpinski take over the Loyal Order.
I sort of emceed the opening of the Circle of Eagles Dinner. I asked Mark
Dzuban to make a few remarks at the start and he did so. I also had Larry S.,
“The Cable Center Guy”, speak about the Cable Center and he did. Harold Null
and Terry Cordova were inducted into the group and given their plaques. There
was discussion from the floor about working up a history of the SCTE from it’s
formation days back in the 1969 to present. I had previously discussed this
with both Mark Dzuban and Larry S. and it seemed that the general consensus was
to call on some of us, including Ron Hranac, Wendell Woody, to put the
historical package together. It was agreed that all of us would be contacted in
the future to get this into progress.
I think this should bring everyone up to date on the Loyal Order of the 704 and
the Circle of Eagles Dinner.