Our wire service provider was United Press International. I’d grown close to their management and continually looked for ways to save cost on the service. JIm Darr was their vice president of technical operations. Years before, he’d developed a multiplexing system where multiple channels could be transmitted on a single wire; transforming to the industry. Later he pioneered multiplexing on satellite transmission–a technology we would need if we were going to move to satellite. The way the satellite spectrum was divided in those days prohibited those of us who wanted only a narrow (7.5khz) bandwidth.
Darr introduced me to a Harris guy named Diz Caldwell whose company was building the demodulators for this multiplexing scheme. We needed each other. I had to have the technology to “go satellite”, and Caldwell saw his first customer for this new technology. None of the others (CBS, NBC, ABC) were close to changing over. Only NPR had made the commitment to satellite, and they were using the wider spectrum without a need for multiplexing. Further, they controlled their affiliates and had federal subsidies.
Caldwell left Harris and founded his own business–ADCOM–with two others on the expectation he’d get our business. And, indeed, we were his his first customer buying the $550,000 uplink and related electronics, the first of several major purchases over the years. We continued to buy the receive antennae (downlinks) from Harris. Here’s a picture of Diz in my office signing the documents.