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Schildhause Dies at 89

Attorney and longtime champion of cable-television development Sol Schildhause died in his sleep Friday, Sept. 15, in Bethany Beach, Del. He was 89.

Schildhause’s landmark involvement in cable came in 1966, as a staff attorney at the Federal Communications Commission. The government, reacting to pressure from broadcasters and politicians, had imposed a freeze on all cable development that would last for the next six years, and Schildhause was asked to head a special cable-television task force.

Despite opposition by the Broadcast Bureau at the FCC, Schildhause and his team -- with support from then-FCC chairman Dean Burch -- convinced the commission to adopt the 1972 Report and Order that effectively ended the freeze on cable development, according to Gregory Liptak, the former Jones Intercable president who organized Schildhause’s collection of papers at the Barco Library at the Cable Center in Denver.

“Let us not forget Sol -- he perhaps was the most important government official in the history of cable TV in the United States,” Liptak said in an e-mail message.

A November 1991 interview with Schildhause by E. Stratford Smith is available in the Research and Education section of the Cable Center’s Web site (www.cablecenter.org).