Cable TV Pioneer Thom Keith Dies at 69

He designed and built the first cable television system in California in 1963.

Thom Keith, a pioneer in cable television, died Dec. 13 of cancer at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas. He was 69.

In 1963, Keith designed and built the first cable television system in California. Located in Laguna Hills, it was then known as "the world's largest closed circuit system" and included a TV station.

Later, Keith served as a special consultant to Congress under a directive from President Nixon to develop cable TV legislation, and he conducted seminars with Walter Cronkite about the potential of cable as a programming and advertising medium.

Keith also began a cablecast from the Capitol in Washington known as The Congressional Report, which was a forerunner to C-SPAN.

Keith most recently was developing programming for local television in Las Vegas through his production company TKO, During his career, he produced and/or directed more than 6,000 television shows, six motion pictures and 1,200 television commercials.

Survivors include his two daughters, Shannon Keith, an animal rights attorney, and Jennifer Keith, an actress and recording artist, and a brother, David Keith.