Leroy E. “Ed” Parsons‘ wife had witnessed television in all its glory at a 1947 broadcasters’ convention in Chicago. On the couple’s way back home to Astoria, Oregon she informed her engineer husband that she wanted a television. At that early date there were no television stations on the west coast, and in fact Portland, the large city closest to Astoria, wouldn’t see television until 1952.
In early 1948 a Seattle station, KRSK (now KING), however, announced broadcasting plans. The manager, Bob Priebe, was a friend of Parsons. Working together they determined that an antenna placed atop the eight story Astoria Hotel just might be able to pick up the signal, and with the use of an amplifier, and coaxial cable, Parsons figured he might be able to extend the range of that signal. With permission from the hotel Parsons constructed an antenna, and gave his idea a shot; in his own words:
Well, I strung a cable from the top of the hotel roof over to the three-story building where my penthouse was, and we had the television set in our living room. By the way, going back, after we heard Priebe was going to build a television station, I ordered a television set from Chicago. It was only a 9-inch, black and white set, and I bought it primarily because it was a hi-fi set AM/FM and a record player. I told the wife that we were wasting our money with the television addition, but at least I would try to get her television. It was a Howard set. I ordered it from Chicago and had it flown out to Astoria. Told her it would be a great waste of money, but if you want it, you can have it. Use it for furniture if nothing else.
On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1948, KRSK went on the air, and the Parsons and his wife watched cable television. By the crowds his television drew, he knew he was onto something, and extended the cable network throughout Astoria.