PRWID Board Gives go Ahead for Water System Redevelopment
|Two of the men responsible for running Community Television Company of Price, D.A. Luske and Maynard Anderson, the head technician, pose with a new vehicle the company bought in 1957. At this point the company was rolling along well, but within a couple of years it would die when Carbon County put in their own translators to provide free county wide service of the same stations the company had been charging for in Price.|
It's hard to imagine in todays electronic age, where television signals are everywhere, in the air and on cable, where the internet can bring people almost any photos or video they want, that less than a half century ago most rural areas couldn't even get a network television signal. Carbon County was one of those areas.
While television had been available in big cities since the early 1940s and moved into markets like Salt Lake late in that same decade, in areas like Price people could buy televisions, but they just couldn't receive anything.
That was a big problem for local appliance dealers that wanted to cash in on the latest trend in home entertainment. The screens for the home viewing weren't exactly what we would think of as state of the art today, but in those days that large wooden box in the living room, that showed monochrome images and gave scratchy sound, was all the rage.
Then on Nov. 17, 1954, a company called Price Community Television appeared on the scene. The non-profit corporation was organized by residents who wanted television service in the area and by a group of merchants interested in selling television sets.
The retailers loaned the company an initial $4500 to get started. It took all of that to buy the equipment, which included a reception antenna (to get signals from the Wasatch Front where three stations were up and running) and a transmission system to send the signal out to those who lived in Price. The money was also provided to buy a site on Wood Hill from Mrs. Drucilia Powell to put the towers up.
In early December of 1954 the system began broadcasting it's signal. By 1956 the system had 425 subscribers, had paid back the loan of the money from the merchants and in fact had done so well that it provided three months of free television to it's customers during the months of July, August and September in that year.
"Our system is completely installed and paid for and we have no obligations," said George Grivet, who was the manager of the organization at the time. "So we might as well do away with monthly charges for the whole third quarter."
In those days the connection charge to hook up to the system was $100 and the monthly service charge was $3. And up until 1956, the connection charges had been enough to pay all of the companies maintenance costs and by May of that year the company had $11,000 in the bank. That equals to over $71,000 in terms of today's dollars.
The construction of the system was almost entirely done by Maynard Anderson, and he was assisted in it by William Nielsen, James Burgess and Roy Grogan. The sponsoring merchants which included such companies as Wasatch Furnace and Appliance Company, Oliveto Furniture and Appliance Company, Eastern Utah Electric Company, Carl Nyman and Son, Helper Furniture Company of Price, the Western Auto Associate Store and the Price Trading Company, all contributed labor and equipment toward the installation too.
But nothing lasts forever. Despite the good work of the company, pressure was exerted by the public to bring television signals to the rest of the county. In 1959, the county commissioners decided that it was time that the government get involved and they had towers erected and a broadcast antenna put up that would serve most of the county over the air waves, broadcasting the very same television stations that Price Community Television had been handling and charging for the last five years.
It was the end of a beginning era and the start of air wave television in Carbon County.