Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christopher H. Sterling
Since the late 1970s, the number of American cable television networks, services, or channels (but never “stations”) has greatly expanded—and continues to do so. While most of them are devoted to some type of entertainment, news and public affairs content is well represented among the many networks available in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Indeed, operation of various types of cable news net-works—from general news to finance, sports, and more specialized types of programs—served to substantially diminish the journalistic importance of the older broadcasting networks, as audiences gained a greater variety of cable viewing options with 24/7 service to which to tune. Several factors converged in the mid-1970s to lay the groundwork for the creation of cable networks. The technological basis came first—geostationery orbit communication satellites were well proven by the mid-1970s. By orbiting a satellite about 22,300 miles above Earth, the “bird” would appear ...