Suddenlink Ties to Cable’s Origins


Sixty years ago, the cable industry was born, and while there is some argument over precisely where that birth occured, a recent Multichannel News story notes that “the first published account” can be traced to a Nov. 18, 1948 article in a Tuckerman, Ark. newspaper. Today, Tuckerman is served by Suddenlink’s Newport, Ark., cable system.

From the Multichannel story:

In Tuckerman, Ark., population 2,000, appliance store owner James Y. “Jimmy” Davidson, and his sole employee, Louis French built a 100-foot-high tower on top of a two-story building and ran a coaxial cable down to television sets in his appliance store, where he successfully received test broadcasts from WMCT-TV, which was located over 100 miles away in Memphis, Tenn.

After WMCT-TV began fulltime transmission on Jan. 1, 1949, Davidson began looking for other locations for community antennas. After completing a system in Batesville, he began building other systems in Arkansas, financing each from the revenue generated from the others.

Davidson also founded a company, Davco that supplied equipment and expertise for would-be cable operators in Arkansas and other southern states.

A quarter-century later, in 1974, Davco and Mr. Davidson provided a young man from Newport his first job in cable. Today, that young man is Suddenlink’s MidSouth Region Vice President Randy Goad.