Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Electronic communication remained captive of wire for more than a half century before a technique could be found to set it free. A major breakthrough in electronic communication occurred in 1873 when James Clerk-Maxwell published A Treatise on Electricity & Magnetism in which he established the theory of electromagnetic energy, supported by mathematical proofs and based on observation of visible light. Within a decade experiments conducted by Heinrich Hertz which confirmed Maxwell’s concepts served as the scientific basis for the first radio transmissions. Radio telephone instruments were perfected by the inventor Guglielmo Marconi which stimulated experiments in similar areas of wireless transmission. By 1907 Lee de Forest had patented the vacuum-tube which set the stage for television broadcasting. Within two decades an entertainment information industry began to form around this new technology. Now, a half century later, radio and television stations have access to nearly every American family. Yet, in this time of spiraling scientific advances the broadcast industry faces a new challenge, not from a more complex mode of electronic signal dissemination, but from a system which has returned to wire to deliver its message. This is but one paradox in the maze or contradictions known as community antenna television (CATV).


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Speech and Drama and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska at Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts. Copyright 1973, Pauline E. Henderson

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