John L. Tatta

Cable television pionner

Cable television pionner John L. Tatta died of cancer Feb. 3 on Long Island. He was 84.

Tatta worked with Charles Dolan to build Cablevision into one of the nation’s leading providers. He started his career as an installer at Dictograph, an interoffice communications equipment company, where he worked for 23 years.

He joined Dolan to start Sterling Cable in 1966, overseeing the laying of underground cable in Manhattan.

Dolan told the New York Times that Tatta had the idea to wire Manhattan for cable by hiring a tug boat and stapling the wires along the sea wall in the East River.

He later helped pioneer the televising of Knicks and Rangers games via cable from Madison Square Garden after Sterling Manhattan became the first cable company to win exclusive professional sports rights.

Tatta became president of Cablevision in 1981 and served on the boards of St. Francis Hospital and the National Cable Television Association and the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

He was also on the board of Cablevision.

He is survived by his wife Anne, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

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