Cable Co-op Archives

The Media Center of Palo Alto

The formation of the Cable Co-op of Palo Alto was a bold creation of a group of Palo Alto’s technological innovators and political activists who made more headlines locally than most others could ever hope to grab. In 1973 a member of the Food Co-op, Nancy Samelson, proposed that a Cable Co-op get started, and by the spring of 1986, the new group won the right to operate as a franchise from the City of Palo Alto. The ambitious leadership set out to build a cable system which would provide a two way communication system of locally controllable information, available to new members for $10.00. In a town where no one wanted to publicly admit they watched TV, this hard sell skyrocketed to a record membership roster in the 1990’s, as the leaders of the Cable Co-op transformed the technological landscape.

Available at the Media Center of Palo Alto is a comprehensive archive of primary sources generated by the Board, the Staff and the members of the Cable Co-op spanning the years of 1979 until the dissolution of the Cable Co-op in 2003, which includes;

  • collected minutes and agendas of the Board
  • personal notes, speeches and papers of the Board
  • newsletters, print media and promotional materials
  • confidential and public standing committee minutes
  • special reports, financial records
  • City of Palo Alto Council Reports pertaining to the Co-op
  • Board election materials
  • legal and bookkeeping documents
  • an extensive clippings file about the Cable Co-op
  • records of sales and sales proposals
  • the legacy gifts of the Cable Co-op
  • DVD and VHS production about the historic first 15 years