In 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board, an arm of of the Library of Congress, raised royalty rates by 300%–1200% on Internet radio, which, if allowed to remain, would kill the nascent but innovative and growing radio service.
Racing against the clock, we mobilized Internet webcasters and supporters and within a matter of weeks, launched SaveNetRadio, a broad-based coalition of more than 100,000 webcasters large and small, listeners, artists, and labels that catapulted the issue onto front pages across the country. Through the powerful combination of coalition building, public relations, grassroots lobbying, and social media, we kept the issue alive in the press and helped the coalition bring groups of Internet radio executives and artists to the Hill to share their stories and sing their songs. They testified in the House, held briefings with key staff, met with members of Congress and even held concerts on the park grounds of the Senate, right in front of the U.S. Capitol.
As a result of these efforts, Congress passed the Webcaster Settlement Act the following year, which allowed webcasters to continue negotiating royalty rates, and granted them an alternative to the staggering Copyright Royalty Board rates. Internet radio would live.
The SaveNetRadio Campaign was later named the grassroots campaign of the year by National Journal.
Most of us know unlicensed best in the form we use every day—WiFi. Unlicensed spectrum, because it does not operate under an exclusive, interference-free license, is open to everyone, and importantly, is a real catalyst for innovation and economic growth.
It is also the subject of many controversial proposals aimed at auctioning these public innovation bands to the highest bidder instead of keeping them open. The Wireless Innovation Alliance, having won the battle for FCC rules in 2008, was faced with losing the war in Congress in 2012 unless policymakers understood firsthand from engineers and business leaders how unlicensed technologies already contribute $5 billion per year to the U.S. economy.
And so, we brought Washington to Silicon Valley.
We created a groundbreaking, interactive event in the Valley led by three key influencers—the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, the start-up community represented by Engine Advocacy, and technology media company GigaOm—where we showcased progress across the ecosystem and identified future opportunities.
Over 100 strategic influencers, including key FCC staff and other policymakers, applications developers, chip manufacturers, database developers, investors, academics and press attended the daylong event, with hundreds more watching online.Back to the case studies page
NetCoalition, representing the Internet’s leading brands, including eBay, Amazon.com, Google, Yahoo!, IAC and Bloomberg, has long served as the bridge between Silicon Valley and the Beltway… and then came SOPA and PIPA.
The “Protect IP Act” and the “Stop Online Piracy Act” promised dangerous remedies for so-called offshore piracy, thus threatening Internet functionality, Internet freedom and even free speech.
Glen Echo created a communications strategy for NetCoalition, using advertising, infographics and events to translate the difficult engineering and legal ramifications of the bills into terms Internet users, the media and the public could understand and act on.
Up against the movie studios, record labels and the US Chamber of Commerce, we were able to create such compelling content that one ad was held up by a Member of Congress and entered into the Congressional Record. In what several reporters called the day the Internet’s sleeping-giants woke up, this true grassroots movement culminated in the “Internet Blackout” on January 18, 2012 when over 115,000 websites went dark. Armed with messaging developed by Glen Echo, Internet users signed more than 7 million petitions and placed thousands of calls to Capitol Hill, which responded by halting the proposed pieces of legislation in their tracks.
NetCoalition’s Markham Erickson was front and center, regularly appearing in leading media outlets including The New York Times, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.Back to the case studies page
When AT&T shocked the industry with its intent to acquire T-Mobile USA, the rest of the market, consumer advocates, trade organizations and investors predicted it would put the wireless communications industry “on the doorstep of duopoly.”
They turned to Glen Echo to help them stop the deal.
We organized and branded the opposition, creating a coalition of allies and stakeholders under the No Takeover Project. The group allowed innovators, academics, legal experts, consumer rights groups and businesses to synchronize their efforts to force key regulators and legislators to take a closer look at the dire consequences of the deal.
Glen Echo developed a multi-phased campaign that included earned and paid media, events, grassroots, web outreach, infographics and advocacy designed to educate and impact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice, Capitol Hill, state attorneys general, and constituents in key districts. Against all odds, the No Takeover Project shifted the public discourse from prevailing inevitability to one of grave concern. The Department of Justice ultimately filed suit to block the deal, followed by the FCC, forcing AT&T to withdraw its application.
The effort went on to win the prestigious Silver Anvil Award for the 2012 Public Affairs Campaign of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America.Back to the case studies page
In 2007, innovators were fighting for access to the TV-white spaces, but faced powerful opposition. They weren’t being heard, so they came to us to turn up the volume.
We created a broad-based group of stakeholders dedicated to ensuring the most efficient, effective and flexible use of spectrum in order to fuel growing demand and new technologies. We branded the group the Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) and worked quickly to shift the terms of the debate both inside and outside the Beltway. As the FCC vote loomed closer, WIA created “White Spaces Day” on Capitol Hill, featuring Google co-founder Larry Page, which aimed at educating Members on the value of unlicensed spectrum through one-on-one meetings, technology policy panels and real-time demonstrations of white space technologies.
In November 2008, the FCC voted 5-0 to approve the unlicensed use of TV White Spaces. This was only the first of a series of victories for white spaces. WIA has managed to secure the preservation of unlicensed spectrum despite a series of bills aimed at auctioning this vital public resource to the highest bidder, all while continuing to educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of unlicensed spectrum as a catalyst for innovation and an economic driver.
In 2010, the WIA campaign was named “Public Affairs Campaign of the Year” by the Holmes Report.Back to the case studies page
As the world shifts to a knowledge-based economy and America lags farther and farther behind in broadband speeds and adoption, Blair Levin, former Executive Director of the National Broadband Plan and Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, decided we could not afford to wait to build the network necessary to ensure global competitiveness for the 21st Century. To make that idea a reality, he came to the Glen Echo Group.
Levin turned to the nation’s leading research universities and the communities around them for a lesson on how to seed innovation.
So was born Gig.U—The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project—a consortium of 37 research university communities who joined together to bring world-class connectivity to their campus communities as test-beds for innovations in energy, healthcare, technology and public safety.
The New York Times’ Tom Friedman highlighted the effort and Levin in particular in his January 3, 2012 column titled, “So Much Fun. So Irrelevant.”
Glen Echo helped bring together the 37 member universities under a coordinated and compelling brand and advised the developing organization on policy, messaging, website production, executive leadership, event planning and social media efforts.Back to the case studies page
Named by the National Journal as one of Washington, D.C.’s top women-owned firms, the Glen Echo Group is the go-to for clients looking for strategic, cutting-edge communications and issue advocacy that integrates public affairs, media relations, coalition building, event planning, and social media with creative and compelling tools that get the job done. We represent clients across the New Economy, ranging from the Fortune 500 to the smallest of start-ups, always with the same philosophy: We listen. We think. We create. We win.
Clients come to the Glen Echo Group because we know that in order to win a complex public policy debate or launch a new technology, you just can’t fake it. We understand every angle – the press, the public, the policymakers, and most importantly, our clients. We don’t waste time with billable hours, endless meetings or inefficient (and annoying) bureaucracy. We just get it done.
Maura Colleton Corbett is the CEO and Founder of the Glen Echo Group, with over two decades of communications, media, public affairs and coalition building experience with companies and organizations building the New Economy.
Corbett provides strategic counsel to clients faced with complicated issues particularly within the high-technology industry, including Internet competition, wireless technologies, broadband deployment and applications, and content-related policy issues including privacy, security and copyright.
A proud New Jersey native, Corbett graduated from the University of Notre Dame and used to moonlight as the lead singer in band.
She is the mother of two marvelous daughters and one neurotic dog.
Ben Finzel joins Glen Echo Group as Executive Vice President. He is skilled in integrated communications efforts built on strategy, messaging, media relations, partnership development and social media.
Finzel began his career as a Congressional press secretary and legislative director. He was then a presidential appointee during the Clinton Administration and worked with four communications firms on public affairs and media and consumer campaigns and issues.
A D.C. native, Finzel graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in history. In addition to attending every home college football game, he was a college radio news director and on-air DJ (and he often played artists such as Peter, Paul and Mary and Anita Baker in the same set).
Katie Barr serves as the Glen Echo Group’s Vice President, specializing in issue advocacy, message development and coalition building.
Prior to joining Glen Echo, Barr served as a Director at Qorvis Communications where she represented clients specializing in public relations, grassroots and issue advocacy, and social media communications. As an associate at Trippi & Associates, Barr learned under the tutelage of one of the nation’s premier political consultants, Joe Trippi, providing multimedia and strategic communications for progressive political, nonprofit, and corporate campaigns.
Barr graduated from Brown University with degrees in Political Science and Public Policy and American Institutions.
A Chicago native, Barr remains a long-suffering Cubs fan.
Ellen Satterwhite joins the Glen Echo Group as a Director. She helps clients formulate policy positions and tell their stories with good one-liners backed by solid data.
As a co-author of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, Consumer Policy Advisor to the Commission, and freelance consultant, her work has been written about in Huffington Post, AllThingsD, CNet, Geekwire, GigaOm and CivSource. Previously, Ellen served as Program Director for Gig.U, supporting communities seeking gigabit speeds.
Satterwhite earned a Master’s in Public Affairs from UT Austin and a BA from Grinnell College. She believes brevity is the soul of wit and someone should tell that to YouTube commenters.
Jake DiGregorio is a Director at the Glen Echo Group, specializing in the creation and delivery of new media strategies. His background in broadcast, print, and web production for organizations such as PBS and the WashingtonPost.com gives him a creative perspective on communication effectiveness.
DiGregorio also serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
DiGregorio is a graduate of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Music Studies – a remnant of his Cameron Crowe phase.
As an Associate at the Glen Echo Group, Eric Shu offers public relations support for a number of clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies and trade associations to technology startups.
Shu provides clients with strategic planning, media and public relations, social media communications, event management, and research and writing support.
Having lived and worked in Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan, Shu brings to the team a high level of cultural competency, critical in developing communication strategies and messaging campaigns.
Shu is a graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, and is a big fan of fried okra.
Simply put, I count on the Glen Echo Group to make things easy on me. I am continually impressed by their ability to deliver an ever-expanding array of service offerings; always one-step ahead of the curve and two-steps above expectations. As a fully outsourced vendor, they set the bar high when it comes to leveraging cutting-edge strategies and tactics, all in an effort to make our public relations operations run smoothly and efficiently.
Over the years, I’ve come to know Maura and her team as honest brokers. So when it came time to start the MAGG Foundation, I knew they would be the only ones I would trust with my brand. I had the utmost confidence that they would care and nurture the new brand’s reputation as if it were their own. In my mind, it is that passion for “doing well by doing good” that sets them head-and-shoulders above the rest.
When I came to them with the idea for Gig.U, they were able to quickly understand the complexities of the issue and the nuances of the landscape and immediately get to work to help me build the organization I had always envisioned. Whether it’s launching an organization, selling an idea or building a brand, GEG is always thinking ahead. I look forward to working with GEG again in the future.
Since Maura Corbett launched Glen Echo Group, a new standard of quality and effectiveness for policy communications has been established in Washington, D.C.
Glen Echo has been in the forefront of supporting the tech sector on major policy issues, including the SOPA/PIPA debates and TV White Spaces.