Ed Allen, 75, a onetime MSO executive who served as
chairman of the National Cable Television Association in 1984 and 1985, died at a hospital
in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., last Monday. Friends said he had long suffered from emphysema
Jim Mooney, a past NCTA president, called Allen "one
of my heroes."
"In the summer of 1984, he was one of the few people
in the industry who believed the cable-deregulation bill could be salvaged," Mooney
said. "And as NCTA chairman, he continued to push for it. He just wouldn't give
On a personal note, Mooney added, "He was one of the
finest men I've ever known -- smart, unflappable, always courteous, a natural
gentleman. It was an honor to have known him."
The Weather Channel president Decker Anstrom, another past
NCTA president, said Allen's role in passing the Cable Act of 1984 was perhaps his
greatest achievement. Without that comprehensive legislation, cable networks' hefty
programming investments would not have occurred, he added.
As chairman, Allen also "set very high standards to
understanding how important values are in the business we run," Anstrom said.
"And he considered cable fundamentally a local business and felt that we needed to be
involved in the local community."
C-SPAN chairman Brian Lamb said Allen, while on
C-SPAN's board circa 1982-83, "committed to carrying C-SPAN's two networks
full-time." He remembered Allen as being "an extremely positive person" who
felt that any problem could be solved.
Allen was president of Western Communications, the cable
division of Chronicle Publishing Co. in San Francisco, before cofounding MSO InterMedia
Partners with Leo J. Hindery Jr.
Allen served as NCTA chairman for two consecutive terms,
starting in April 1984.
A broadcaster prior to entering cable, he had "a great
radio voice," as one friend recalled.
Lamb said Allen's wife told him last week that some of
the last programs he watched at home were on C-SPAN. That was fitting, Lamb added, because
"it was something he helped create."
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