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Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television Hardcover – January 28, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1592132874 ISBN-10: 1592132871

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Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television + The Cable and Satellite Television Industries: (Part of the Allyn & Bacon Series in Mass Communication)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (January 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592132871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592132874
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"What is new here is the degree of detail and description Parsons gives to the people and events that brought about the evolution of cable television in the United States. The links his book forges between cable pioneers and the chain of events that created the enterprise is fresh material, no longer clouded by speculation and guesswork." -- William R. Davie, Associate Professor of Communication/Broadcast Coordinator, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

About the Author

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.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Coldwell on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the blurbs on the back cover of this book puts it succinctly, "Scholars have long awaited a comprehensive volume on cable television ..." (Megan Mullen, Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Parkside). This book fills that gap, and the subject itself is fascinating and very relevant.

However, after reading the book I have to wonder if an editor ever did. It seems like every fifth page contains a grammatical, factual or spelling error of some sort, which became very distracting. Here's an example of a cluster of errata that is very typical of the rest of the book:

Page 570: "The Bush administration opposed legislation, and the FCC and NTIA released a joint statement in March 1987 stating that the marketplace was resolving the problem." March 1987 was during the Reagan administration.

Page 575: "He [Senator Al Gore] had called Malone the 'Darth Vadar' of the television industry ...." George Lucas spells it "Darth Vader".

Page 579: "Broadcasters, moreover, were partly successful in gaining retransmission consent, the right to withhold heir signal or, ...." It should be "their signal".

Page 588: "The amplifiers boost the signal, but also introduce addition electronic noise ...". It should be "additional electronic noise".

Page 592: "Two students at MIT learned of Robert's interest in a basic program for the Altair and said they could write it. Bill Gates and Paul Allen successfully wrote the primitive software, ...". Arguably, this contains a spelling error because "BASIC" is an acronym, and should be in all-caps. Indisputably, this contains a factual error because Bill Gates and Paul Allen were students at Harvard, not MIT.

The whole book is like this.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on July 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Communications researchers now have a definitive scholarly chronicle of the cable industry. Parsons delivers an immense and exhaustive history of the industry, from its earliest days as a small town community antenna service to the modern mega-conglomerates delivering hundreds of channels of on-demand programming. Here we learn that cable isn't much younger than broadcast television, and the two industries have had a fractious but symbiotic relationship, made more complex by interloping technologies like satellite transmission and the Internet. Decades of inconsistent regulation by the FCC have added to the complexity of the industry's relations with the public. Parsons combines his strict chronological political and business history with the social construction of technology as a theoretical backdrop, showing that the public's changing perceptions of cable's technical possibilities and programming choices are a key influence on the development of the industry and its modern structure and practices. This extensive and encyclopedic tome will prove to be essential for interested students of the field for years to come. [~doomsdayer520~]
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Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television
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