Cable television is arguably the dominant mass media technology in the U.S. today. Blue Skies traces its history in detail, depicting the important events and people that shaped its development, from the pre-cursors of cable TV in the 1920s and 1930s to the first community antenna systems in the 1950s, from the creation of the national satellite-distributed cable networks in the 1970s to the current incarnation of "info-structure" that dominates our lives. Author Patrick Parsons also considers the ways that economics, public perception, public policy, entrepreneurial personalities, the social construction of the possibilities of cable, and simple chance all influenced the development of cable TV.
Since the 1960s, one of the pervasive visions of "cable" has been of a ubiquitous, flexible, interactive communications system capable of providing news, information, entertainment, diverse local programming, and even social services. That set of utopian hopes became known as the "Blue Sky" vision of cable television, from which the book takes its title.
Thoroughly documented, carefully researched, yet lively, occasionally humorous, and consistently insightful, Blue Skies is the genealogy of our media society.
Patrick R. Parsons is Don Davis Professor of Ethics, College of Communications, Penn State University. He is the co-author (with Robert Frieden) of The Cable and Satellite Television Industry. He is also the author of Cable Television and the First Amendment and co-editor (with Steve Knowlton) of The Journalist's Moral Compass.
The Evolution of a Revolution (Origins-1930s) 1
Pioneering Efforts (1930s-1952) 37
Mom 'n' Pop Business (1951-1958) 77
Abel Cable Goes to Washington (1950-1960) 122
Cable's New Frontier (1960-1966) 170
The Wired Nation (1966-1972) 232
The Cable Fable (1972-1975) 297
The Phoenix (1975-1980) 341
Cablemania (1980-1984) 403
The Cable Boom (1985-1992) 480
The Cable Cosa Nostra (1986-1992) 543
500 Channels (1992-1996) 581
"What's Gonna Be Next?" (1997-2005) 636