Remembering Howard Horton, SCATV founding father

The Somerville Media Center is mourning the passing of Howard Horton, a founding father of Somerville Community Access Television, SMC’s predecessor.
Working on behalf of Somerville Mayor Gene Brune, Howard Horton, with Peter Miller, negotiated a ten-year cable television contract to make sure Warner-Amex would grant the general public access to cable broadcasts. The city of Somerville insisted that a non-profit be formed to manage access, taking it out of the hands of Warner-Amex and separating it from the politics of city hall.
That nonprofit became SCATV, the first cable access center in Massachusetts.
“It was a great day when Howard Horton and Peter Miller asked me if they could join my administration,” said Mayor Emeritus Gene Brune, the founding mayor of SCATV. “Their communication skills were so helpful when we were negotiating our ten-year contract with Warner Cable.
Our plan was to set up a nonprofit and keep it out of the hands of politics. We called the nonprofit SCATV and our plans for SCATV have been proven successful over the past several years.”
“Howard, being a Somerville resident, has given so much of his time, energy and money to help make Somerville. a great city and has collaborated with every Mayor on various programs as well as his work with the Chamber of Commerce,” Brune continued. “Howie was my friend, and I will miss him.”
SMC gave Howard Horton an award honoring his work in 2020. The pandemic halted that award ceremony, but Horton was able to see his award at the Somerville Museum, in a 2022 exhibit of SCATV archives called “The Firehouse Reels.” As part of that exhibit, Horton joined Dead Air Live to talk about the early days of access television.
Horton went from city government on to a career in communications and education, leaving Somerville at first to be the state’s executive director of the Cable Television Division under Governor Mike Dukakis, regulating the roll-out of cable television systems in Massachusetts. He was most recently  Executive Director of Cambridge College Global which houses the fully online programs of Cambridge College.

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