John Walson Sr.
Service Electric Cable TV, Inc. is a successor corporation to a community antenna television business started by John Walson in June 1948. Prior to beginning the nation's first community antenna television system, later known as cable television, in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Mr. Walson was employed by the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company. In addition to that occupation, he and his wife also operated an electric appliance store under a General Electric franchise. In 1947, the Walsons began selling television sets at their appliance store. It was impossible to receive the three Philadelphia network stations in Mahanoy City because the town is surrounded by mountains. Because of this situation, an antenna tower was built on top of a nearby mountain. Mr. Walson was able to demonstrate his new television receivers at this mountain top location. In searching for ways to increase television sales, a line was constructed from that antenna site to his appliance warehouse.
In June 1948, that line was extended on utility poles to the Walsons' appliance store. Along the way, several families were connected to his community antenna system. Three television sets were displayed in the window of the store. Many people congregated in front of the store to view either channel 3, 6, or 10 from Philadelphia. As a result, a new industry was started in America.
Mr. Walson's pioneering achievements were recognized by the Congress of the United States and the National Cable Television Association in the spring of 1979. Quoting from the 96th Congressional record: By adding new antennas and boosters, and by starting to wire individual homes, Mr. Walson was able to create the Nation's first cable television system in 1948...
From this early beginning of cable television, Mr. Walson began constructing systems in nearby communities. Others, who observed his success, were quick to follow in areas where reception of television signals was difficult or impossible. His faith in the future of cable television never diminished. As systems were offered for sale, he purchased them. When franchises were available, he applied. Mr. Walson was guided by the one fundamental principle, people wanted television service. They were entitled to receive it, and his duty was to provide quality access to television.
With an alertness to change, adaptability to improving technology, and a conscientious responsibility to its customers, Service Electric continues to build its reputation in the cable television field. This requires the combined efforts of many dedicated people. This company is fortunate to have such people and we value them.