Abstract: Communities and Practices: Accounting for the Development of the U.S. Cable Television Industry in Pennsylvania's Anthracite Coal Region

Megan Mullen


During the late 1940s and 1950s, early cable television (CATV) entrepreneurs, particularly a critical cluster located in Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region, shared technical, business, and, eventually political advice with one another. Informal gatherings and the sharing of know-how gradually developed into a formal trade association—eventually a very large one, the National Cable-Telecommunications Association (NCTA). I draw from theoretical scholarship on the structures and processes of innovation as well as from the interdisciplinary fields of historical and economic geography in order to develop an analysis of the formation of the CATV industry. My main inputs come from management scholar Michael C. Porter, organizational scholar Etienne Wenger, and communication scholar Everett Rogers.