Pioneering Cable Exec Carolyn Chambers Dies, 79

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Chambers Communications founder and chairwoman Carolyn S. Chambers died on Monday of cancer at age 79, her company reported.

Chambers, who among many accomplishments served on the boards of the National Cable Television Association and of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, began Chambers Communications with a license for TV station KEZI in Eugene, Ore., in 1959, at age 25, according to a biography on the Cable Center Web site.

Carolyn S. Chambers

KEZI-TV became the start of Liberty Communications, which grew to include six TV stations and 33 cable systems in 11 states, according to a biographical video shown at her Cable TV Hall of Fame induction in 2006 and which can be viewed at this Cable Center link.

Liberty Communications was sold to Tele-Communications Inc. in 1983, with Chambers retaining KEZI-TV and four cable systems in Washington and California as Chambers Communications. After other acquisitions and sales, Chambers Communications was left with three TV stations, a cable system, a video production company and an Internet service provider, the Cable Center biography reported.

Chambers also was was president of Chambers Construction, which was started by her husband, and owned owned Hinman Vineyards, Panther Creek Cellars and a real estate holding company, according to KEZI-TV's Web site. She made several large donations to arts organizations in Oregon, including one which helped the eventual construction of the Hult Center in downtown Eugene, the station said.

In 2002, she produced a movie, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, based on a novel by Robert Waller ("The Bridges of Madison County"), rights to which she had acquired.

She also co-produced a Broadway play, "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," which opened in 2003 and starred Polly Bergen and Mark Hamill, according to In 2005 she helped produce the movie The Sisters, an adaptation of Chekov's "The Three Sisters."

She was a charter member of what was then called Women In Cable and served as its third president.

In addition to serving on the NCTA board she served on boards for state cable organizations for Oregon, Washington, and California; the Pacific Northwest Cable Television Association; C-SPAN; and two Fortune 500 companies, according to the Cable Center. She was a member of the Cable TV Pioneers organization.