Ex-NCTA Chairman Harris Dies at 81

Broadcasting and cable pioneer Burt Harris, founder of Harriscope Broadcasting, succumbed to cancer July 29 in Los Angeles. He was 81.

He and family members toiled in multiple industries after World War II, but he got into media in 1953 when he bought a library of wrestling films to sell to burgeoning television stations.

In his oral history for The Cable Center, he recalled being only one of five exhibitors at the National Association of Broadcasters convention that year.

He unsuccessfully pursued a cable-TV-system purchase later that year, but then successfully bid for a TV station in Casper, Wyo. -- a move that put him in direct competition with other cable pioneers, young Bill Daniels and Gene Schneider.

He moved into cable TV in 1965, purchasing the first of his cable operations in Palm Springs, Calif., and Flagstaff, Ariz.

Over the years, he held titles including vice chairman of Warner Communications and chairman of the National Cable Television Association.

His wife, Shirley; a brother and sister; four children; and seven grandchildren survive him.

His funeral was scheduled for Monday at the Hillside Mortuary in Los Angeles.