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The way is clear for Cable TV

Photo caption: An IA hairdresser working on the set of the popular television series Northern Exposure.

Cable television first came on the scene in the early 1960s, with Subscription TV, Inc.  This scheme was linked to the movement of the Giants and Dodgers baseball teams to California, but in 1964 the plan was halted by a referendum.  Then, in 1966, the California Supreme Court declared the referendum outlawing pay-TV to be unconstitutional.

IA would have to fight for the jobs that would be generated by cable television.  During the 1970s, the number of local cable systems grew to about 4,000, with more than 15 million homes subscribing.

In just a few years, the face of television was transformed, with Home Box Office, ESPN, Cable News Network, MTV Music Television, even so-called “superstations” like WTBS in Atlanta. Nevertheless, Alliance members would have to struggle to gain even a measure of the work these new systems would generate.

HBO and the other pay-TV services came about because of the remarkable improvements in transmission of programming by satellite.  Satellite transmission also brought major changes to television.  Satellites also brought the Vietnam War into our living rooms, and spurred a rising tide of anti-war sentiment in the United States.

In just a few short decades, viewers have grown accustomed to seeing major national and world events played out “live” on television.  The most recent example is the dramatic nighttime footage of the bombing of Baghdad during Desert Storm.

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