Television's Pirates

The real story . . .

. . . covering 5 and a half decades of television's development written by the only person who could bring it all together in one coherent, factual, dramatic report covering 'little people' who made big (even huge) contributions to the technology. This 928 page analysis makes all of the pieces fit beginning with low power TV 'booster-transmitters' installed by rural folks on hilltops near their homes in the 1950s to the totally current creation of broadcast-quality Internet video allowing virtually any location in the world to access essentially any television programming world-wide. Buried in these 60 years, the dramatic rise and subsequent failure of C-band TVRO (home dishes) revolving largely around a 1977 business plan conceptualised at Microwave Associates (where W1CF was 'CEO'). Author Bob Cooper was 'there' as a participant while it all unfolded and his first-person narrative is riveting, pulling no punches, leaving no scallywag unturned.


This is a chronological visit with the actual people (see "Who's On First" list, to left) who created today's complex television delivery systems with enlightening way-station stops at important points between 1950 and today which resulted in foundation anchors linking the past and the present. Popular lore attributes television's invention to corporate RCA during the mid 1930s. In fact, RCA created "a" television transmission system which on July 1, 1941 evolved into America's first "commercial television broadcasting". More pointedly, RCA created a foundation from which today's television would grow. Today's television, in the context of automobiles, is a 2010 Chevrolet Corvette while RCA's 1930's effort was a Henry Ford Model A.


"Television Pirates: Hiding behind your picture tube" explores television's transition from Model A to 2010 Corvette. And because the author actually lived the 56-plus year story within his own lifetime, this is also a 'memoir' of an uncanny ability to be at the correct spot on the globe at a precise moment when a new chapter was created in television's evolution. No other living person had Coop's good fortune to be "there" (wherever "there" turned out to be) with such precision timing.


And further, because Coop was active as a trade magazine publisher/writer from 1956 through 2008, his full set of publications covering 50-plus years have provided an invaluable set of words - he estimates more than 30 million! - from which to draw the essence of "Television's Pirates". For the real enthusiast, more than 70% of his 30 million words, in their original as-published form, on “alternate” web site postings (click alternate to left, here). The guy on the right? (ham N2HWA/VP5JR) John Ramsey (with XYL) who tuned a table-top 'ham radio business' into a multi-million dollar empire; 'Ramsey Electronics'.


If you have only one reference book covering television's developmental years, this is the one. It is filled with facts, people, trade secrets never previously revealed, humour and believe it or not - even sex! Welcome to Coop's World of Television Fantasy - a really excellent read.


For your copy go to under Robert B. Cooper.


RB Cooper, 23B Bayside Drive. Coopers Beach 0420, New Zealand