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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...

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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 »

Cable Transitions to a High Technology Business

By Larry Satkowiak, April 24, 2014

When we write about the founding of the cable industry, we usually tell the story of Ed Parsons, Jimmy Davidson, and John Walson. We mark the start of the Second Generation of Cable by telling the story of TelePrompTer and Scientific-Atlanta demonstrating the power of satellite transmission at the 1973 NCTA Show...   more »

Television Franchise Fees in the United Kingdom

By Larry Satkowiak, April 1, 2014

On my way from central London to Heathrow last week, I asked our driver about a recent newspaper report concerning the potential increase in the television license fee that each household must pay. (This is how the BBC is funded.) Our driver pointed out that nonpayment of the fee is a criminal offense and that there were hefty fines for noncompliance...   more »

Glenn Jones and the Mind Extension Business

By Larry Satkowiak, February 27, 2014

One of the most interesting oral histories in The Cable Center’s collection belongs to Glenn R. Jones. Recently, our librarian received a box of historical items from Greg Liptak’s family and we discovered a video that ended with Jones’ vision of the future from almost 15 years ago, which took me back to his amazing story. Glenn Jones’ entry to the cable business is legendary...   more »

Time Warner Cable’s Family Tree

By Larry Satkowiak, January 30, 2014

Time Warner Cable (TWC) was built on a strategy of mergers and acquisitions. Its early history dates back to pioneers like Bill Daniels, Monty Rifkin, Tryg Myhren, Steve Ross and Gus Hauser. The origins of TWC are a bit complex, but the company has a wonderfully rich history that many people would not remember today. In many ways, the TWC story is a great example of how the cable industry was built...   more »

Archer Taylor – Remembering a Cable Pioneer

By Larry Satkowiak, January 2, 2014

If you ever had a question about the early days of cable engineering, Archer Taylor was the guy to know. I have always thought of him as the prototypical cable engineer who made a very generous gesture to The Cable Center by writing two books for us about the early days of the CATV industry...   more »

John Hendricks and the Power of Discovery

By Larry Satkowiak, December 2, 2013

The power of the television documentary first hit me in 1980 with Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on PBS. I was hooked on the many PBS science programs shown at the time and still have the accompanying books on my shelf. In the early 1980s, John Hendricks had seen these same programs and thought that cable could become the platform for similar programming based on science, nature, and history – he called it the Discovery Channel...   more »

Cable in the Age of Innovation

By Larry Satkowiak, October 30, 2013

The cable industry is one of the best examples of the American free enterprise system that can be found anywhere. At The Cable Center, we have characterized the current generation of cable as the “Age of Innovation,” a concept that was recently reinforced for me at the annual SCTE Expo in Atlanta. The backbone of the free enterprise system is entrepreneurship, innovation, and competition…and I saw strong evidence of all three...  more »

The Early History of WICT

By Larry Satkowiak, September 30, 2013

The Cable Industry will turn out in force for our annual Diversity Week celebration starting October 7 in New York City. Last year, I wrote about Walter Kaitz and the founding of the Kaitz dinner, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. WICT, Women in Cable Telecommunications, is another robust organization that provides outstanding programs for the cable industry during Diversity Week that also deserves our support...   more »

The First Broadcast Policies in the UK Compared to the US

By Larry Satkowiak, July 1, 2013

While in London for the Fourth of July holiday this year, I have been thinking about how television developed so differently in the UK compared to the US. Fundamental decisions about the role of government in broadcast and cable go back to the days of radio in both countries. It is a story of how two nations struggled with the same questions and developed two different solutions...     more »

Brian Lamb and the Founding of C-SPAN

By Larry Satkowiak, June 3, 2013

Brian Lamb will receive the Bresnan Ethics in Business Award at the Cable Hall of Fame in Washington D.C. on June 10, and it reminded me about C-SPAN’s beginnings and his outstanding contribution to the United States. It’s the story of a quiet man from the Midwest who has had a profound impact on our society, who brought our government closer to its people, and who insisted on always doing the right thing even when it was not popular... more »

The Historical Connections Between - NBC, GE, and Comcast

By Larry Satkowiak, May 6, 2013

When Brian Roberts announced that Comcast completed its purchase of NBC Universal from General Electric, I did not hear much about the historical connections. Last week, as I walked past 30 Rock and Radio City Music Hall, I thought that most people today probably would not know the General Electric links to television and the cable industry. This is one of the richest stories in American business history and it shaped our modern media and communications world... more »


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