Research Pioneer Leghorn Honored

Richard S. Leghorn, founder of industry consortium CableLabs, has been named a recipient of a Special Vanguard Award for Outstanding Contribution by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

CableLabs celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

The NCTA’s top honor will be presented May 20 during the The Cable Show 2008 in New Orleans.

“Dick Leghorn is a true visionary who conceived of the concept and value of a centralized technology laboratory for the cable industry—and who was singularly committed to making CableLabs a reality,” said Richard R. Green, CableLabs president and CEO its entire existence so far. “This recognition is a fitting tribute for the remarkable success of Dick’s dream.”

Starting in 1984, Leghorn worked with the NCTA to creating the entity that would plan, introduce and help develop new and innovative technologies for the cable industry. He personally funded a significant study by RAND Corp. that led to the structuring and establishment of CableLabs in 1988. He now serves as director emeritus on the CableLabs board of directors.

CableLabs most recent work includes standards-based high-speed Internet and digital voice businesses through the Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) and PacketCable initiatives, and interactive digital video under the tru2way brand.

Leghorn became a cable operator and a major participant in cable’s first fight against must-carry regulations and lobbied the industry to establish a research and development laboratory. He began acquiring cable systems in 1966 after he had difficulty attempting to view over-the-air television signals from Boston stations at his home in Hyannis, on Cape Cod, Mass.

He ultimately owned nine cable systems, the last of which he sold in 1985.

A graduate of MIT, Leghorn is a retired Colonel of the USAF Reserve who served as a combat reconnaissance pilot. A member of the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame, Leghorn also created a company named Itek that developed and built the photographic system of the CIA’s top secret Corona program of satellite reconnaissance of the USSR between 1960 and 1972.