Co-Founder, NCTA, and Pennsylvania Cable TV, 2003 Cable Hall of Fame
I'd say that in about the spring of 1951, Milt Shapp started to gear up the company to supply equipment for community antenna systems...Up until then he had manufactured the apartment house equipment which I had modified for use in the Panther Valley system.
Robert J. Tarlton built the first widely publicized commercial cable television system in the United States.
In 1950, he organized a group of fellow television set retailers in Lansford, PN to offer television signals from Philadelphia broadcast stations to homes in Lansford for a fee. The system was featured in stories in the New York Times, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. The publicity of this successful early system set off a wave of cable system construction throughout the United States.
Tarlton used equipment manufactured by a new company, Jerrold Electronics. After seeing the success of the Tarlton system in 1950, Jerrold President Milton Shapp reorganized his company to build equipment for the now-growing cable industry. In 1952, Tarlton went to work for Jerrold, helping to construct most of the major systems built by that company in the 1950s, including the landmark system in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Tarlton was also responsible for training many of the major operators of cable systems in the 1950s.
He was co founder of the National Community Antenna Council, later renamed the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), and of the Pennsylvania Cable Television Association.
Chairman, Starz Entertainment Group LLC, 2003 Cable Hall of Fame
What I like most about the cable industry is it is still a collection of good people. It is not an organization. You have all kinds of egos and different agendas but when there is a threat or there is a need, the industry unites and things could happen very nicely.
Since 1972, John J. Sie has made major contributions in all segments of the cable industry: technology, public policy, system operations and programming. Sie is a Chinese native who left his homeland during the Communist Revolution in 1949 at the age of 13. His education and expertise are diverse: electrophysics, aerospace, cable operations, technology and programming.
In 1993 and 1994 respectively, Sie launched Starz and the Encore channels, opening a new revenue stream for Hollywood studios. The thematic packaging of library and first-run movies was subsequently launched by several other premium services, validating the Sie's packaging strategy. In 1999, Sie negotiated the first major studio contracts (with Disney and Sony) that recognized the interests of the studios, the cable programmer (Starz Encore Group), and the cable operator in new broadband platforms. The studios granted, for the first time, a premium service provider broad subscription video-on-demand rights (SVOD). Many believe SVOD will be the next big revenue generator for the cable industry.
In the 1970s, Sie was an early pioneer in two-way interactive cable technology and advanced pay-TV delivery systems, for which he was awarded NCTA's Vanguard Associates Award in 1982. In the late 1980s, Sie worked with Congress, the FCC and the technical community to use processed digital technology as the HDTV standard against a strong broadcast lobby that was pushing hard for the analog alternative. The Japanese government and Japanese consumer electronics companies had poured billions of dollars to develop and promote an analog standard (MUSE) worldwide. Sie presented technical and public policy papers arguing that a national policy for HDTV must be 100 percent digital. While he was widely criticized for his "impossible dream," he persevered. On the last day of the HDTV standard application deadline, General Instrument (now Motorola) submitted the only all digital standard, ushering in the digital revolution.
In 1984, Sie was among the first to renegotiate economically unviable cable franchise agreements in major cities. During the franchising frenzy of the late 1970s and early 1980s, cities extracted huge unrelated economic burdens from franchise applicants, making it impossible for urban cable systems to be viable. Sie renegotiated with Pittsburgh, making the renegotiated franchise a model for the Cable Act of 1984. The Act enabled major city franchises to be financially viable and subsequently built.
Sie was also the first to propose new cable-exclusive programming, which he labeled "punch thru" programming that could rival broadcast network's ratings. He first formulated a Sunday Night NFL package, leading to ESPN's inaugural cablecast of Sunday Night NFL. This remains one of cable's highest rated programs.
Sie continues his trail of innovation with his latest deployment of Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD) for digital premium services. He foresees SVOD as the next big incremental revenue generator that will permit cable operators to repatriate $8 billion per year of home video rental revenues.
Founder, California Cable Television Assoc., 2003 Cable Hall of Fame
The Walter Kaitz Foundation was established in 1983 to provide diversity within the cable industry. It was named in honor of Walter Kaitz, who as a leader of the California Cable Television Association recognized the importance of diversity. Walter Kaitz recognized that in order to continue competing in the global marketplace, the cable industry needed to build a management team reflective of the steadily growing diverse U.S. population. (From the Walter Kaitz Foundation website)
As an immigrant from Russia, Walter Kaitz was always sensitive to the America's promise as a land where everyone should have a chance to prosper. His connection with the cable industry began in the 1960s, as he worked on cable franchise legislation. When the need for a state association became apparent, Walter Kaitz was hired as general counsel for the California Cable Television Association (CCTA).
During the 1960s and 1970s Walter Kaitz built what is generally considered the model state cable with CCTA, melding the different cable companies in the state into a working coalition able to present cable's case to both government and the public. Under his direction, the association was able to persuade the Californian State Legislature to pass landmark legislation governing the cable industry and protecting operators from unreasonable increases in pole attachment rates. He also played a key role in national debates over cable, helping to educate and influence California members of the U.S. House and Senate about cable issues.
In addition, under his direction, CCTA's Western Show grew to be second only to the NCTA convention as the largest and most important cable industry show.
Walter Kaitz died on December 30, 1979 and was succeeded by his son Spencer as leader of the CCTA. Financial contributions, given in honor of Walter, formed the basis of the Walter Kaitz Foundation. Initially, activities were driven only by the desire to do something to honor the memory of Walter, but by 1981 a focus developed. Gwen Moor, the cable industry's first ethnic minority chair, was interested in developing opportunities for more minorities in this growing industry – opportunities that would come from the cable industry's efforts to try to integrate from within, rather than being foisted on the industry. With the assistance Spencer received from of the founding members including Don Anderson, Ralph Baruch, Ray Joslin and Paul Maxwell the mission of the Foundation was borne. The cable industry embraced the concept that those in its executive suites should mirror its customers, and Spencer strongly agreed.
Founder & Chairman, Discovery Communications, Inc., 2003 Cable Hall of Fame
It seemed to me very obvious that after the creation of movie channels, after the creation of sports channels, news channels, that cable television would emerge with a documentary service. But it never came. So, in 1982, I decided if no one's going to create it, I would.
On June 17, 1985, John Hendricks launched the Discovery Channel to 156,000 subscribers in the United States. Since then, Mr. Hendricks has been the driving force behind Discovery's dramatic growth of global operations that currently reach 1.3 billion total subscribers in over 160 countries and territories.
The flagship network was originally called the Cable Education Network. The name of the network later changed to the Discovery Channel, but education remains a core component of Discovery's mission. Mr. Hendricks created the Discovery Channel as the first cable network in the United States designed to provide high quality documentary programming that engages people around the globe to explore their world and satisfy their natural curiosity.
Under Mr. Hendricks' leadership, Discovery's stable of networks now encompass over 90 networks of distinctive programming representing 25 network entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids and Discovery Times Channel. Discovery's other properties consist of Discovery Education and Discovery Commerce, which operates 120 Discovery Channel Stores.
As one of the leading visionaries in the media industry, Mr. Hendricks has been honored with a Primetime Emmy Award and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences highest honor, the Governors Award, for conceiving the TLC series, Great Books. Mr. Hendricks was the first corporate leader to receive the National Education Association's Friend of Education award for "innovations in education and technology and greatly expanding educational opportunity for America's schoolchildren." In 2003, Mr. Hendricks was inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame.
Mr. Hendricks serves on the Board of Directors of a number of non-profit organizations including the American Film Institute and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. Mr. Hendricks also serves on the Advisory Board of Lowell Observatory.
Previous to 1982, Mr. Hendricks founded and served as president of the American Association of University Consultants (AAUC), a private consulting organization, which specialized in television distribution, marketing and fundraising for educational programs and services.
Mr. Hendricks holds a B.A. in History (magna cum laude, 1973) and an honorary doctorate (1991) from the University of Alabama, Huntsville.
Former Chairman & CEO, Warner Cable Communications, 2003 Cable Hall of Fame
A Harvard-trained international lawyer, Gustave Hauser is truly a pioneer of the modern cable television industry, and his career has included highest-level participation in telephony, cable television and satellite communications.
Hauser served from 1973-1983 as chairman and CEO of Warner Cable Communications (which in 1980, became Warner-Amex Cable Communications, a joint venture of Warner Communications and The American Express Company). During this period, he built Warner into one of the largest cable companies and served frequently as a prominent industry spokesperson on legislative and regulatory affairs.
Under his guidance, Warner developed many new cable service innovations which demonstrated cable's potential to become a major communications business and which foresaw many of the important programming and technological services which have marked the progress of today's cable industry. These innovations were undertaken by way of an experimental cable system in Columbus, Ohio called "QUBE". It included offering, for the first time, a package of 25 totally new, special-interest or themed programming channels, such as movies, sports, documentaries, culture and childrens'. Having been responsible for the concept and development of these "niche" channels, Hauser is recognized as the "father" of the highly successful national childrens' network Nickelodeon, out of which evolved the national network MTV Music Television.
Hauser's QUBE innovations also included the earliest computer-based "two-way" or "interactive" cable services, including subscription, "pay-per-view" (video on demand) and subscriber participation in TV through polling, shopping, and games. (CTAM recognized Hauser as the "father" of pay-per-view.)
Under his guidance, Warner was awarded a major share of new franchises in major cities and/or their suburbs, including such areas as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Dallas, New York, Houston, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Chicago. As an example, during 1980, Warner was awarded 1.1 million of a total of 1.6 million newly franchised homes.
After leaving Warner-Amex in 1983, Hauser founded his own company, Hauser Communications, Inc., which built and operated some of the earliest and largest cable system clusters, becoming the dominant operator of cable systems around Minneapolis/St. Paul and Washington, DC. Hauser Communications' systems were ultimately sold for then record prices. In 1993, he sold to Southwestern Bell Corporation (now SBC Communications) large cable systems serving Montgomery Country, Maryland, and Arlington County, Virginia. This transaction marked the entry of Bell Telephone companies into the cable television and video distribution business, and according to a major industry analyst, "shook both industries".
Hauser is widely recognized for the large number of current cable, television and communication industry leaders who began their careers and developed their talents as members of his business organizations.
Founder, Director and Vice Chairman (Retired), Comcast Corp., 2003 Cable Hall of Fame
The Comcast alumni, in particular, tell me that the experience (educational efforts such as CTAM's) truly kicked their thinking and skills on business and marketing strategy into high gear.
Julian A. Brodsky, a founder of Comcast Corp., has also served as a director and vice chairman of the company, one of the nation's leading multi-system cable operators. Brodsky served as chairman of Comcast Interactive Capital Group, the venture capital fund arm of Comcast, which seeks and manages Internet-related investments complementary to core Comcast activities.
Prior to his election as vice chairman, Brodsky served as senior vice president and CFO of Comcast. As one of the company's three founding principals, he has been the chief architect of the conservative fiscal policies and creative uses of capital formation techniques for which Comcast has built a solid reputation. As CFO, he oversaw the company's merger and acquisition efforts, international development and expansion as well as capital formation and accounting activities.
Brodsky was elected to the Pennsylvania Cable and Telecommunications Association Hall of Fame and has received the National Cable Television Association's Distinguished Vanguard Award. He is a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a Director of the RBB Fund, Inc., a mutual fund, Internet Capital Group and NDS Group PLC, and serves on the Board of Directors of The Cable Center as well as that organization's Capital Campaign Steering Committee. He is a Certified Public Accountant and was graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania.