Q: Your organization just unveiled a whole new brand. What prompted the change?
Swanson: When I joined what was then known as FCTA last July, I immediately noticed a significant dichotomy between the identities of our members versus the identity of their trade association. Everyone knew or was aware of our individual members, but few seemed to know or recognize the FCTA brand. Further, FCTA was not engaging audiences in a meaningful way online or through social media. It didn’t make sense from an advocacy perspective for a multi-billion dollar, high-tech industry to lack a digital presence and well-recognized brand in Florida politics. So, we spent the last year doing our homework and ultimately developed a name and brand that we believe best reflects our members’ extraordinary economic and technological impact in Florida.
Q: What are the greatest issues facing the internet and television industry?
Swanson: First, it’s helping our friends in the legislative and executive branches understand that we are no longer your father’s cable companies. Our members are leading the way in innovations that are changing the way we live, work and enjoy the things we love, from virtual reality innovations and telehealth to content streaming and autonomous cars. They are economic and workforce drivers employing tens of thousands in Florida, donating millions to charitable and community programs, and delivering robust, high-speed internet and content delivery technology to millions of Florida homes and businesses, every day. Our industry is the reason education, entertainment and commerce can happen anywhere at any time, and our investments made that a reality in less than 20 years. So a key issue is also ensuring we keep a healthy taxation and regulatory environment in place so our members can continue to invest billions in upgrading current infrastructure and expanding access where we still need it. How much and how well we can invest in expanding and improving our broadband infrastructure is greatly connected to how well Florida can compete in the 21st century, global, online economy.
Q: You host FIT’s public affairs television show, Capital Dateline, soon to be recast as FITv. What should we expect from the new show?
Swanson: You’re going to see a mix of old and new. As was with the previous show, we will continue to host public officials, reporters, candidates for office and expert commentators, all who will offer their take on the latest state political issues and news. Additionally, we have some exciting changes, including more segments on what’s happening in our industry. We have fascinating stories to tell about the latest innovations in SmartHome technology, the newest ways to access video content, and ways our members’ networks are going to power emerging technologies of the near future, like self-driving cars and augmented virtual reality. All those burgeoning technologies will require far more robust networks than the ones we rely on today, and our members are already planning for that increased demand. We will also have a new set and much more modern look and feel to the show. We will continue to be a unique program in the advocacy space and look forward to being a premier destination for reaching Florida’s top political influencers.