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Monday, June 20, 2005

American Ingenuity

John Rigas, the founder of Adelphia Cable, was just sentenced to prison. I have no comment on that but it reminded me of a great story which may or may not be true. My grandmother lived in Minersville, PA and she had cable TV for as long as I could remember. Now, keep in mind, she passed away in 1977 and had had cable for about 15-20 years. That means cable was available in her town around 1960 or two decades before it became available in Philly.. Why was that you ask? There were two reasons for that. Number one is she lived in a mountainous area of Pennsylvania and the TV signals without cable were really bad. Number two is that Philly is corrupt and inept and so cable companies were kept out until the pols agreed how to carve up the payoffs from the cable vendors.

But I digress- the great story is that cable service was devised in my grandmother's area by a guy who owned a TV store. He could not get a good TV signal at his store so he built a high antenna out back of the store and hooked it up to the TV set in his store's window. He figured that would help him sell more TV sets and he noticed people on the street lingering outside and watching his TV with the great reception from his improvised antenna. But very few of them purchased a TV from him. When he asked why, many replied that they could not get as good a reception at their homes so why would they buy a TV. That set a light bulb off in his head and he began to develop a cable TV service. Now, this story may or may not be about Adelpia's John Rigas but in any event it is a great story about American ingenuity!

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