Editorial and -Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. AillOPPV complex, Shell Plaza and the Pennzoil Building in Houston. GC has three general partners Clive Runnells, president of Bay City Cable and a close associate of Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Jr.; Rotan, Mosle Dallas Union, Inc., a brokerage firm; and Communications Properties, Inc., one of the ten largest cable companies in the nation. CPI already has Texas francises in Cisco-Eastland-Ranger, Colorado City, Coleman, Marlin, Sonora, Junction, Bracketville, Del Rio, Kerrville, Uvalde, Center, Midland, Marshall and Texarkana. Patrick J. Nugent, husband of Luci Baines and son-in-law of Lyndon, is assistant vice-president of CPI, lending credence to the speculation that former President Johnson has an interest in the company. Last year, however, Ms. Nugent told a Houston Chronicle society page writer that her husband’s job “has absolutely nothing to do with my father’s properties, no conflict, no connections.” At any rate, the Johnson family is fully aware of the financial importance of the cable industry. Recently forced by the FCC to give up either her broadcast or cable holdings in Austin, Lady Bird Johnson sold KTBC-TV and held onto Capital Cable Co. Other directors and stockholders in Gulf Coast include David Askanase \(director of \(Vinson, Elkins, American General Life Insurance, General Crude Oil, Meyerland former president of Gulf & Western, director of Bank of the Southwest and Houston Tracor, Robertson \(director of Mid-Continent Oil Highland One of Gulf Coast’s most important stockholders is Gus Wortham, chairman of the board of American General Life. Wortham originally was on the boards of both GH and Gulf Coast. Under criticism by fellow businessmen for having a finger in both pies, Wortham pulled out of GH, but the president of American General remains on the Greater Houston board. IT’S GOING to be difficult for the city to choose between Greater Houston and Gulf Coast. Both emphasized that they are local, local, local. \(“Any witness who lives 50 miles outside of Houston is an expert witness,” one GH are Houston,” GH’s George Barry insisted. Houston’s corporate elite is equally represented on the boards. Both have ties to big banking, big law firms, big oil and insurance. Even their presentations were similar. Both provided copies of their witnesses’ speeches promising in unelucidating generalities to be a viable enterprise following the regulatory mandate to provide a rich mixture of programming including a forum for the free expression so vital to community life, and soon and so on. The Federal Communications Commission has specified what a cable company in the top 100 markets must offer viewers. Both companies, of course, promised to comply with FCC requirements. Greater Houston proposes a 54-channel system with 27 channels going to general subscribers and 26 bi-directional channels for schools and government offices. At the outset four of the public channels would have two-way capacities of some kind \(i.e. the viewer will be able to send a message back down the line to the building the system, laying cable, stocking studios with equipment, etc., will cost something more than $50 million. Gulf Coast plans to begin with a 30-channel service at a cost of more than $53 million. It would have a full color studio complex plus five “hub system locations” for individualized programming to various sections of the system. Their two FCC-required independent stations would include one station for community affairs and another station for sports. If the Houston City Council has much information on or knowledge of the cable industry, it failed to display it during the hearing. Not one question was asked any of the five applicants. Many individuals appearing before the council urged the members to get expert help in choosing a franchisee. “I’m not entirely sure we don’t need a consultant,” Mayor Welch said some time before the hearing, “but where do you hire one?” Councilman Johnny Goyen admits, “I’m just a layman. I can’t even spell megaHertz, much less know what it is. ,, It probably will be months before the city makel a decision. The cable contract will be written by the city attorney. There is speculation in Houston that the two major contenders may merge or be allowed to divvy the city into two service areas. K.N. EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Moll Ivies ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Ferguson EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger REVIEW EDITOR Steve Barthelme Contributing Editors: Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Sue Horn Estes, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. Sullivan, Tom Sutherland, We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with her. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that she agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1972 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices Vol. LXIV, No. 22 Nov. 17, 1972 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. BUSINESS STAFF Sarah Boardman Joe Espinosa Jr. C. R. Olofson David Sharpe The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $7.00; two years, $13.00; three years. $18.00; plus, for Texas addresses, 5% sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. 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