Satellite Program Network

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Satellite Program Network (SPN) was a satellite and cable TV network which broadcast in the United States from 1979 to 1990. SPN was created by Ed Taylor, an associate of Ted Turner and the head of the Southern Satellite Systems company. In 1985, SPN was acquired by Satellite Syndicated Systems.[1]

In the 1980s, Satellite Syndicated Systems changed its name to Tempo Enterprises, and SPN and SPN International were changed to Tempo Television and TEMPO International, respectively. Tempo Television was a 24-hour national cable network serving all contiguous states, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The network, which began in 1979, was the second-oldest cable-only network.

Using a counter-programming philosophy, Tempo Television fulfilled viewer needs by dividing its program schedule into various dayparts including international programming, finance, sports, leisure and classic films.

Market studies clearly indicated that this unique programming approach attracted and retained upscale audiences who were looking for entertainment that was informative and substantially different from the standard options.

Among the programs broadcast on SPN were Video Concert Hall, an early music video show (before the launch of MTV); News from Home, a program for Canadians in the US, hosted by early CNN news anchor Don Miller; The Shopping Game, a Nicholson-Muir game show produced in Nashville and hosted by Art James; The Susan Noon Show, featuring celebrity interviews; Nutrition Dialogue, hosted by Dr. Betty Kamen; Sewing with Nancy; The Paul Ryan Show, another celebrity interview program with the actor/interviewer of the same name; and Moscow Meridian, a current-affairs program produced by Soviet authorities and hosted by Vladimir Posner. Reruns of old situation comedies and movies, mostly from low-budget studios, rounded out the schedule.

SPN later became Tempo Television.[2] A Canadian regulatory description of the channel in 1988 said that Tempo's "schedule consists of outdoors, travel, general information and entertainment programming and classic feature films that are in the public domain."[2] In 1988, by which time Tempo had 15 million subscribers, the channel was purchased by NBC, mainly for its existing carriage and not its programming.[3] It was relaunched on April 17, 1989 in a new guise as the business news channel CNBC.


  1. ^ "Satellite Syndicated Systems reports earnings for Qtr to June 30." The New York Times. August 6, 1985. [1]
  2. ^ a b "Public Notice CRTC 1988-58: Revised List of Part II Eligible Satellite Services and List of Part III Non-Canadian Eligible Satellite Services." Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. April 13, 1988. [2]
  3. ^ "The Media Business: NBC to Buy Cable Service." The New York Times. May 3, 1988. [3]