f
ARCHIVED  March 1, 1997

EchoStar’s rise signals realization of father’s dreams

CHEYENNE – My father, the late Fred J. Curran, was a conservative traditionalist in many ways, but he was a visionary when it came to predicting scientific and technological advancement years ahead of his time.As a youngster, I remember huddling in our backyard for a glimpse of Sputnik and listening as my father confidently predicted that humans one day would walk on the moon and travel to Mars. He even envisioned Americans and Russians working together on a space station.
Back before cable television or remote controls, my father was an inveterate channel-changer who probably saw more parts of more old movies than anyone in Madison, Wis., by pulling in late-night signals from Chicago and Milwaukee. Today, almost two decades after his death, he would be enthralled – but not surprised – by the banks of 150 television monitors at EchoStar, each carrying a different program pulled down from modern-day Sputniks.
Dad missed the mark a little with his prediction that one day the newspaper he edited for some 35 years would “come out of a little box underneath the television set.” Instead it emanates from that other little box that looks like a TV with a keyboard – your home personal computer. But he was correct that readers would be able to select what they wanted from the box.
As a teacher, my father would have been thrilled to see journalism students such as Rosalind Schliske’s at Laramie County Community College taking the lead in using the new online technology.
Not that Dad necessarily embraced all the new technology. He retired before newsrooms went electronic and stubbornly clung to his portable Remington and soft-lead pencils. Were he alive today, he probably would grumble about the flaws and shortcomings of today’s technology and question some of the “news” on the Net.
But you can bet that late at night he’d be hunkered down in front of the newfangled computer contraption, manipulating that mouse-thing to surf the Net, in between watching snippets of old movies on EchoStar.EchoStar, Murdoch Merge
CHEYENNE – EchoStar is reaching for the Sky, while back on earth EchoStargazers will be keeping a close eye on the planned merger of the Colorado and Wyoming-based direct-satellite-broadcasting company with a one-time rival owned by Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
They also will be watching closely as the new $2 billion company called SKY challenges the nation’s cable-television systems for primacy and takes aim at the 65 million consumers who subscribe to a cable-TV service, including industry giant Tele-Communications Inc., also based in Colorado.
Murdoch’s American Sky Broadcasting, a joint venture with MCI Communications, is investing $1 billion in EchoStar for a half-interest with EchoStar in the new company, which will remain based in Englewood, and continue to operate uplink facilities in Cheyenne.
On paper, the merger looks good for both interests. As one Cheyenne observer put it, “Murdoch needs EchoStar’s technology, and EchoStar needs Murdoch’s money.”
But of particular interest in Cheyenne will be how the merger affects plans to double the size of the uplink facility. With more than $50 million invested in its Cheyenne facility, EchoStar – soon to be Sky – won’t go away, company officials pledged, but its expansion could be altered in favor of a planned American Sky Broadcasting uplink facility near Phoenix, Ariz.VAE Nortrak on track in Cheyenne
CHEYENNE – VAE Nortrak is on track with its new railroad-switch manufacturing plant in Cheyenne – thanks in part to a green-light signal from the Cheyenne City Council.
The council has authorized issuance of $4 million in industrial-development revenue bonds for the VAE Nortrak construction project. The city incurs no liability or obligation with the bonds and in fact receives a $10,000 fee from Nortrak for issuing the tax-exempt bonds, which will help Nortrak with its overall financing of the project.
VAE Nortrak, based in Austria and Canada, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-speed railroad turnouts and track equipment. Its plant in Cheyenne will be its second in the United States and is located along the Union Pacific Railroad mainline through Cheyenne. U.P. is expected to be one of its major customers.Dennis E. Curran can be reached at (307) 778-3666. His fax number is (307) 778-3600, and his e-mail address is
denncurran@aol.com.
ÿ

CHEYENNE – My father, the late Fred J. Curran, was a conservative traditionalist in many ways, but he was a visionary when it came to predicting scientific and technological advancement years ahead of his time.As a youngster, I remember huddling in our backyard for a glimpse of Sputnik and listening as my father confidently predicted that humans one day would walk on the moon and travel to Mars. He even envisioned Americans and Russians working together on a space station.
Back before cable television or remote controls, my father was an inveterate channel-changer who probably saw more parts of…

Related Content