Viacom co-COO Feston to be inducted into cable television hall of fame

MUMBAI: US cable television organisation The Cable Center which aims to create further awareness about the cable TV industry has announced the presenters for The 2005 Cable Television Hall of Fame Celebration, to be held on 19 October 2005 in Denver.

Seven industry leaders will be inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame in 2005. One of them is Viacom co-COO Tom Feston. Membership in the Cable Television Hall of Fame is an honour bestowed annually to those whose achievements have contributed significantly to the growth and development of one or more components of cables diverse industry and to the people, communities, organisations and institutions it serves. Each year, The Centers board of directors appoints a Cable Television Hall of Fame selection committee.

Freston served as MTV Networks chairman and CEO since 1987. With Freston as CEO, MTV Networks grew to reach over 400 million households in 164 countries and 18 languages through 96 channels worldwide. Freston's leadership produced many commercial and critical successes for MTV Networks, including: Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer; Rugrats, SpongeBob SquarePants, MTV's Emmy-winning reality show The Osbournes, and The Real World.

Another television executive being inducted is the former HBO CEO Michael Fuchs. Fuchs pioneered HBO's original programming, which was the first original programming on cable. This original fare transformed HBO from primarily a cablecaster of movies after their theatrical release to a network noted for the breadth and quality of its original programming.

Meanwhile the late John Walson who is recognised as being one of the first cable operators in the US will be inducted posthumously. His love of electronics led him to obtain a General Electric franchise in 1945, selling appliances in Mahanoy. In 1947. Walson began selling television sets. It was very difficult, or impossible, to receive the three Philadelphia network stations in Mahanoy City because the town is surrounded by mountains and located some 86 air miles away.

Because of this situation Walson erected an antenna tower on top of a nearby mountain so he could take his customers to that location and demonstrate his television receivers. In searching for ways to increase his sales, in 1947 Walson decided to purchase some heavy duty twin-lead army surplus wire, and ran the wire on trees from a nearby mountain to his appliance warehouse. Eventually, the line was extended to Walson's appliance store, and several homes along the way were connected to the community antenna system.

In addition to starting the US' first community antenna television system in Mahanoy City . Walson can also claim several other pioneering firsts, including a five channel system using adjacent channels, importation of distant signals using microwave technology, and use of coaxial cable. Walson passed away in 1993.      

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