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Cable Center Transition

By Larry Satkowiak, December 18, 2015

It has been almost three years since Cablefax asked me to write a monthly story about cable history for The Skinny. This worked very well as I gathered materials for a short history of the cable industry, which came out in print last summer and recently as an e-book. I also announced my retirement last summer and have been preparing for one of those big life transitions...

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John Walson and Service Electric

By Larry Satkowiak, September 1, 2015

John Walson is one of the three pioneers credited with the founding of the cable industry. Davidson, Parsons and Walson all independently experimented with the technology to create a cable system in 1948, but it was Walson who is generally credited with creating the earliest sustainable business...   more »

C-SPAN and the Well-Informed Citizen

By Larry Satkowiak, June 24, 2015

In the early days of television, many people had a vision that TV would play a prominent role in education and keep us informed about our government. We called the 1950s the “Golden Age of Television” because early television programming reached to...   more »

Jim Davidson and the Founding of Cable

By Larry Satkowiak, March 30, 2015
A couple of months ago, I introduced Ed Parsons, Jim Davidson, and John Walson as the three people The Cable Center credits for “founding” cable television. In the last installment, I gave you the background on Ed Parsons; today, I would like to introduce you to James Y. Davidson. In his wonderful book Blue Skies... more »

The New Content Model

By Larry Satkowiak, March 30, 2015
Apple TV, Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, HBO Now, CBS All Access, and Noggin—the list keeps getting bigger every day. It reminds me of a popular Bob Dylan lyric where he sang, “… there was revolution in the air.” A new model for television programming is replacing the old... more »

The Cost of Regulation

By Larry Satkowiak, February 27, 2015

On February 26, The Cable Center modified its cable history timeline by adding the two latest actions of the FCC. The first was a vote to preempt state broadband laws. The second was a vote to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934... more »

Ed Parsons Brings Cable to Astoria

By Larry Satkowiak, January 29, 2015

On a breezy hilltop near Astoria, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River stands a monument dedicated to Leroy “Ed” Parsons. He was one of the people credited with the invention of cable television in the United States. A number of dignitaries attended the dedication ceremony in 1968, including NCTA President Frederick Ford... more »

Historical Moments

By Larry Satkowiak, December 19, 2014

President Obama’s recent announcement about the change in strategy toward Cuba is something I never expected to see in my lifetime. While historians will eventually debate whether the new policy is successful, we are likewise experiencing a few historical moments in the cable industry. After a brief comment on Cuba... more »

The Presidency, Television and Media

By Larry Satkowiak, December 1, 2014

In my family room, I sit in a big leather chair where my Kindle Fire and the remote from my television are within easy reach. I imagine that many people have a similar place to read, browse the web, or simply watch television. A couple of weeks ago, I looked at the C-SPAN 2 schedule and found Vice President Spiro Agnew’s... more »

Competing with the Government

By Larry Satkowiak, October 31, 2014

In November, voters in Boulder, CO, will have the opportunity to vote for or against a measure to authorize the City of Boulder to provide Internet and Telecommunications service (including cable television) to its citizens.These "municipal overbuilds" are nothing new and there is ample history to question the long-term viability... more »

Ted Turner’s Dangerous Idea

By Larry Satkowiak, October 1, 2014

I attended the annual Korbel Dinner at the University of Denver last week where Anna and John Sie received the Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award. Afterward, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ambassador Christopher Hill discussed tumultuous international hotspots and my mind drifted to the communications revolution... more »

History and the Future of Cable

By Larry Satkowiak, September 2, 2014

As a student of cable history, I am continually searching for patterns from the past that might contain a key to the future. As I developed the three-generation model for cable, the two most prevalent forces that mark the beginning or end of a generation have been a combination of technological innovation and government regulation...   more »

Celebrating NCTC at the Independent Show

By Larry Satkowiak, July 28, 2014

Once again, The American Cable Association (ACA) and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), which represent many independent cable operators, will meet in Kansas City at the end of July for the Independent Show. This is an especially noteworthy event for the NCTC as they celebrate their 30th anniversary...   more »

The Golden Age of Cable Programming

By Larry Satkowiak, July 1, 2014

Lately, I have been reading a number of media writers who have labeled our current period as the “Golden Age of Television.” While I can certainly understand the sentiment, textbooks already refer to the Golden Age of Television as the period from about 1948 until 1960...   more »

Title II and Cable Regulations

By Larry Satkowiak, May 29, 2014

If you had the opportunity to listen to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at the recent NCTA Cable Show, you heard him say, “Title II is on the table.” (If you did not hear him, you can still go to the C-SPAN website and view the video). In order to understand his statement, you need a basic understanding of the roots of Title II and cable regulation...   more »

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