Purchase of Cable System Revealed

    Announcement was made this week of the purchase of the John Day-Canyon City TV Cable company by a newly formed corporation, the Blue Mountain TV Cable Co of Mt. Vernon. The new firm is headed by Jack McKenna of Mt. Vernon as president.      
    The John Day-Canyon City Cable Company was begun in 1954 by Haskell and Kenneth Scott and has been steadily expanded until now the system includes Mt. Vernon, Long Creek, Dayville, Bates, Seneca, and Izee viewers in addition to the John Day and Canyon City areas.
    McKenna has operated the McKenna Radio and TV in Mt. Vernon for the past five years. As manager of the new operation he stated that a progressive program of expansion and improvement is planned for the grant county systems.                                                
    The Blue Mountain TV Cable company plans to employ the Gerald Electronics field engineer, who will be in the area mid September, to inspect and observe the operation of the systems and to make initial improvements. He will also outline an extensive improvement plan which will be completed within the next two years. The project will be no interruption of television service, McKenna said.         
    He also stated that there would be one full time lineman employed to insure prompt service for viewers who experience difficulty with reception. Temporary business phone for the corporation is West 2-2383

Unknown author

History of Blue MT TV Cable Co 1960

            Schools Ask
           TV By Cable

The John Day elementary school and the Humbolt primary school, Canyon City, will be con­nected with TV cable facilities through the Blue Mountain Cable Co., Inc., Mt. Vernon, Vernon L. Peterman, principal of the two schools, announced this week. Action to accept a special offer by the Mt. Vernon firm came by vote at the March 13 meeting of the John Day School District No. 3 board, he added.
Plans are to use the TV facility more or less on a "stand-by" basis, to make outstanding daytime broadcasts, especially those of an historical interest, available to pupils at the two schools. The schools have contemplated such a move for some time. The move for such facilities was accentu­ated by the launching of 'the first US astronaut. Some John Day pupils saw the historic telecast at home or at the homes of friends or teachers. At the Hum-bolt school, a "field expediency" antenna was rigged in the school­yard and a TV set borrowed to get a portion of the telecast.
In letters to principals of Grant county schools early in March, Jack McKenna, president of the Mt. Vernon cable company, of­fered $25 from the firm in ma­terial and labor toward install­ing a television connection. Mc­Kenna said he believed that sev­eral schools which were close to the cable service could be wired without any cost to the school. The firm will furnish the service to the schools without monthly charge.
A letter has been sent to Mc­Kenna asking for installation at the John Day' and Humbolt schools, Peterman stated.
The company's offer was made by letter to the John Day-Hum-bolt schools, to Grant Union high school at John Day and to schools at 'Mt. Vernon, Seneca, Bates, Prairie City and Dayville. Mc­Kenna said in that letter that, 'although no educational channel is received in this area, this could become a reality' in a year or so through joint efforts of the Blue Mountain Cable compa­ny and the Hi Desert Microwave corporation, Burns.

Blue Mountain Eagle 4-5-62

McKenna Donates Cable  Connection
Personnel and guests of the Blue Mountain Nursing home this week received a surprise gift. . television cable hookup, contributed by Jack MeKenna of Mt. Vernon, owner of the Blue Mountain TV Cable company.
   Acknowledgement of the gift was reported yesterday by admin­istrative personnel of the nursing home in Prairie City, which op­ened in December 1960. Announcement of the
gift cable connection or hookup was con­tained in an envelope which per­sonnel thought was a statement of charges before the envelope was opened.
    Nursing home personnel report that one television set is located in the recreation room for bene­fit of all nursing home guests, and several guests have their own personal sets in their rooms. They reported the reception is excellent with a very clear picture.

Blue Mountain Eagle THURSDAY,APRIL 12, 1962

Gets OK
For Site
Jack McKenna, owner of Blue Mt. TV Cable Co; has received an official OK from SAFE Engineering of Richardson, Texas, the spectrum analysis and frequency coordination firm that did the study to approve the. antenna site on Northeast Elm. It is necessary to locate the antenna down in the valley to be protected from possibly interfering with microwave signals; in the area, McKenna said.

The antenna will be approximately 12 feet in diameter. It will point to the SAT-Corn 11! satellite that is 22,300 miles out in space.
McKenna says he expects to have
the earth station on order by the first
of the year. Delivery is expected some
time in the spring. It won’t be deiced
what channels will be added to the
cable system until the station is built.
The new channels first will be
received in the John Day-Canyon City
area and extended to Mt. Vernon after the rebuilding of five miles of plant. This is necessary, McKenna said, because the rural area was built for five-channel capacity. It will be increased to 12 channels. Most of the John Day, Canyon City and Mt. Vernon City areas already are built for 12
channels McKenna said new equipment on order for delivery in 1980
will be capable of carrying up to 35

Blue Mountain Eagle December 1979

YULE DECORATING—Once again the John Day city maintenance crew dug out and installed the city’s Christmas street decorations for the holiday season. Installing the decorations were Eddie Wright, Ken Bremner, Herb: Bezona, Robert Shannon and Jim Thomason: of the Blue Mt. TV Cable Co. who provided the truck for the project.

Blue Mountain Eagle December 15, 1966


Blue Mountain TV Cable Company, Mt. Vernon, made the last splice for its long-awaited Portland television service last week, Owner Jack McKenna is on the ladder, while Or­ville McKenzie assists from the ground. More tests remain before the signal becomes operative, the firm says.

Blue Mountain Eagle March 16, 1972

TV service to reach area of
                 John Day

MT. VERNON-A television translator station atop Elk Horn Mountain is ex­pected to serve areas be­tween Prairie City and John Day that are not on cable service.
The new translator will be installed by Jack McKenna, owner of the Blue Mountain Cable Co., and stations
KBOI and KPBB, both Boise.
McKenna said signals from the translator
will be fed into the cable service for John Day, Canyon City, Mt. Vernon and Prairie City.
McKenna said he hopes to have the translator in opera­tion before winter.
 Oregonian October 19, 1973

FCC issues permit for education TV•

MT.VERNON Blue Mountain TV Cable Company announces that a construction permit has been received which will allow construction of receiving facilities for educational television in the county.
Jack McKenna, owner and operator of the cable television firm, said construction will begin soon.
The permit was sought by and obtained by the Prairie City Lions
Club. McKenna said the signal of a Boise, Idaho, educational TV station will be picked up at. Elkhorn Mountain in conjunction with, the two Boise signals already received and, transmit­ted there.
"This will eventually be received in Prairie City, John Day and Mt. Vernon," McKenna added.
The educational TV signal will be bounced from the mountain to Prairie City and John Day receivers. McKenna plans to put the signal on Channel 6 in. John Day but is not sure which available channel will work best in Prairie City.
The, bid by the Lions Club for a Boise educational TV signal was not well-received by the 'State Board of Higher Education, which felt an Oregon signal should be picked up. However, McKenna noted, there is no physical way not to capture the Oregon educational television signal in Eastern Oregon.
The 19.75 'Legislature considered purchase of Channel 13 in La Grande but it failed to put up the money for it. A year's renewal of the option is to be asked, he continued.
However, to get, a signal from La Grande, McKenna continued, it would be necessary to put in another repeater station somewhere between the local area and La Grande.
McKenna 'said permission has been received also from the Federal Communications Commission to put one Portland channel into Prairie City. He said he has ordered the equipment and expects to have it by Oct. 1.
McKenna hopes, to have the installation of this equipment done by the beginning of the year and, with the new educational TV, channel, this would give Prairie City viewers four TV choices.
Since the Boise educational TV station does not broadcast all day, he plans to fill in with Channel 6 in Boise, an ABC affiliate, during the times the Boise educational station is off the air
Blue Mountain Eagle July 24, 1975

Decorations Go Up

Holiday decorations went up in Mt. Vernon Tuesday as personal from the City of Mt. Vernon and the Blue Mountain TV Cable company worked on the high-rise equipment. There were a few sidewalk engineers watching the operation, too.

Blue Mountain Eagle 12-20-79

Blue Mountain TV has been doing business in and supporting Grant County since August 1960, we are family owned and serve the John Day, Prairie City, Canyon City, Dayville, Seneca and Mt. Vernon areas.
Blue Mountain TV Cable began service with two Boise channels. During the early 70’s the first Portland channels were microwaved into the area, in 1981 the first satellite channels were made available to our customers.
Due to the rural settings of Grant County and customer input, Blue Mountain TV Cable offers a good variety of channels at a very reasonable price. Channels are added after careful consideration and input from our customers, keeping in mind, additional channels add to the monthly cost of cable.
Our office is open each weekday 8:00am to 5:00pm but closed holidays and for the noon hour. If necessary, “after hour” appointments may be made.
Your cable payment is due the first of each month in advance and may be made at our office, by mail or placed in our drop box located at 255 NE Elm Street John Day.
We also offer discounts for six month and year advance payments, please contact our office for more information.

Author unknown


A rate increase in Seneca cable TV service beginning Feb. 1 has made many residents of that town rather irate. But Jack McKenna, owner of Blue Mountain TV Cable feels that the rate increase from $4.50 to $5.50 per month is justified.
"This will be the first rate increase in 23 years," said McKenna. "During that time antenna site rental, pole rental, insurance, labor, transportation and other costs have all gone up."
Margaret Lindley, Seneca postmaster, says there are two main reasons why people in Seneca oppose the rate increase. One, when the TV cable was first brought to Seneca the initial users had to pay $150.00 to get service. This fee was to help with the construction and installation of the antenna. Secondly, she said there has been no improvement in the system since its initial construction and there have been few repairs. "It isn’t right that after all we had to pay to get the cable here in the first place and with no further improvements that we should have to pay a higher rate," she added.
McKenna said improvements have been made. "In 1970 or 1971 we replaced all the mainline TV cables in Seneca with new ones," he said. He added that their service attempts to be good. "We try to respond as quickly as possible whenever we hear of a problem," he said.
Another Seneca resident, Irma Beverage, said that she doubted if people would mind a rate increase if Seneca could receive the Portland TV stations.
McKenna feels that to get Portland TV’ stations into Seneca would be, prohibitively expensive. "A micro-wave receiverwould cost between $30,000 and $40,000," he said. "In order for that to be practical there would have to be near 1000 hookups in Seneca instead of the present 85 to 90."
Seneca residents have also wondered about the feasibility of getting a cable from Burns. "Too expensive," Jeff Walker, manager of the Burns-Hines TV’ Cable Company said. "To run a cable up there would cost $2,000 a mile." He too said that a micro-wave receiver would be too expensive, costing around $20,000 per channel.
But Walker did give one ray of hope by saying that he thought the present antenna should be able to pick up Channel 6 out of Boise, an ABC affiliate. McKenna agreed that it probably could if some modifications were made.’
Another possibility is for the people of Seneca to set up their owns translator. There are local reports that if an antenna was placed on one of the Bald Hills or Aldrich Mountain or near the relay antenna of- the Edward Hines Lumber Company TV reception would improve. McKenna doesn’t think so. "This fall I tested the valley around Seneca and even up by the, Hines antenna. I couldn’t find any signal stronger that the one we are receiving on the present antenna."
Also, if the’ residents are dissatisfied with the service they might consider forming a cooperative. That is, the residents of Seneca get together and form a company that would buy out the installation presently owned by Blue Mountain TV Cable Company. "If a cooperative had the appropriate bonding and insurance, I would consider selling the Seneca installation," McKenna said. He did not say how much he would sell it for, however.

The Blue Mountain Eagle, John Day Or Thursday February 2, 1978

Jack Mckenna, president of Blue Mountain TV Cable Co. makes adjustments to the 4.5 meter satellite receiving station being installed at the company's property on NE Elm in John Day. The receiving station will allow the cable company to receive additional TV channels for the area from the RCA Satcom I satellite. McKenna said he expects to be adding two additional channels in the John Day-Canyon City area by September and later will add premium channels, such as Home Box Office or Showtime. He said new cable and hardware will be Installed to allow expansion of the system into the Mt. Vernon area.

July 10, 1980 Blue Mountain Eagle

Your Best Entertainment Combination:
HBO Cinemax


                                                                          FIRST HOME TERMINAL UNITS

                 BLUE MOUNTAIN TV CABLE CO.
                                                                               PHONE 932-4613

                                                                                                Blue Mountain Eagle Feb 12, 1981

Oregon PBS Welcome, But It Took Too Long
The recent addition of an Oregon public broadcasting television signal to Grant County was a welcome relief to those who have pestered state and federal agencies for the past four and a half years.
But the process was also a sobering experience in just how slowly the bureaucratic wheels sometimes turn.
District 3 Librarian Ray Dinsmore, John Day Councilman Charlie Mills and Jack McKenna of Blue Mountain TV Cable Co. are some of the principles who kept after the problem. The Blue Mountain Eagle reported on the status of the project, and we were happy to add our editorial voice to push on the project.
Dinsmore recently relayed to us the comment of an Oregon PBS official who said if people in Grant County had not kept pushing the issue it still would not have been completed.
But it still took too long. Oregon PBS has had the equipment ready for more than four years to put the PBS signal on line. It has been held up with frustrations over getting license approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
We understand that the licensing problem arose after the FCC lost the original Oregon PBS license, then when it reapplied was thrown among thousands of other low power television applications.
The issue was finally resolved when the FCC turned up the original application which gave Oregon PBS preference for a license.
It was a bureaucratic foul-up that fuels distrust for government bureaucracy.

Blue Mountain Eagle May 8, 1986

Survey shows Opposition To Portland TV Signals

A survey of the subscribers of the Blue Mountain Television Cable Co. indicates that a slight majority oppose plans of adding three Portland television channels to the present arrangement.
With 70 per cent of the returns in, 55 per cent opposed plans of adding, Portland channels to the cable system at an additiona1 cost.

The remaining 45 per cent favored adding at least one Portland channel.
Jack McKenna, owner and manager of the cable system, said he is going ahead to investigate other possibilities of securing Portland signals for the John Day area.
McKénna noted that a large number of people have misinterpreted the reason for rates increase by suggesting that the Boise stations be dropped and add the Portland channels for the same price.
This is impossible said McKenna. To bring in the Portland channels the distribution cost will remain the same, but there will be an additional cost of purchasing the signals. This extra cost is the cause for the rate increase of $1.50 to $1.75 a month.
The cable system does not pay for the signals from the two Boise stations. An antenna is used to pick up the Boise signals. To pick up the Portland channels the signals must be sent in via microwaves.
McKenna said since there was enough interest shown in favor of adding Portland signals to the cable system that further studies will be worked with the Burns-Hines cable system. He hopes to arrive at a more definite cost figure.
New equipment can drastically reduce the expense to bring in Portland signals. Possibilities in this area will be checked into.
To bring in three Portland channels by micro-waves will cost roughly $60,000. Between $4,000-5,000 is needed to make necessary adjustments at the Pine Mt. micro-wave station.
Approximately $40,000 is required to build, and maintain a relay station on Aldrich Mt. This includes the building, power and maintenance cost.
An additional $15,000 will be necessary for receiving equipment in John Day to receive three channels from Portland. It would cost a little less to bring in only one station.
The one hop from Bend to Aldrich Mt. onto John Day is the best method ‘to acquire Portland signals said McKenna. To bring in the signals via Burns would not only be too expensive, but the picture reception would not be as clear.

Each time the signals have to be retransmitted the lesser the picture quality will be. It would take five relay stations to transmit signals into John Day via the Burns route. It would also double the expense.
John Day rates now are below the national average. To add Portland signals will raise the rates slightly above the average. The national rates for 3,000 cable television systems in the country averages $5 per month. Burns’ rates are $4.95 and $5.95 depending on the type of a hook-up. La Grande cable co. has 6,500 sub- scribers and charges $4.35 or $5.00. a month.
In Eugene, the rate is $4.00 a month for seven channels, but Eugene also has 7,000 subscribers and does not have relay stations to bring in the signals from Portland. Subscribers of the Tillamook cable co. pay $7.00 a month for five channels.

Blue Mountaind Eagle Volume 97 number 9

Articles used on this web page with permission from Blue Mountain Eagle , John Day OR