Microspace! CBC WARP Drive

Throwback Thursday: CBC History

Microspace is almost stealth-like among all the divisions at CBC. We know they are there, but they excel without fanfare. In most of our CBC work-a-day world we are dealing with terrestrial matters, but at Microspace they are launching digital data packets faster than the newsroom can consume caffeine.

Microspace was formed March 4, 1988. It is the off-spring of an ol’ legacy CBC company called Seeburg, established by CBC Founder A.J. Fletcher back in the day.  Years later, CBC CEO Jim Goodmon tapped then WRAL Operations Manager Steve Grissom to transform Seeburg from a company existing on CBC’s fringe into a top performer. For the whole story about how Seeburg morphed into Microspace, watch and listen to Steve Grissom’s CBC History interview:

Microspace had an impressive launch. In fact, Steve Grissom – who was elevated to CBC Vice President – was quoted in a 1988 CapCom article saying, “Microspace is one of the most successful start-up companies in the history of the 10 year old satellite industry.” Right off the bat, Microspace inked deals with many of America’s big blue chip companies. Even Seeburg’s two biggest competitors, 3M and Muzak, acknowledged their former business rival’s reinvented service line was unique and delivered with quality. Oh, and they also became customers of Microspace.

Gary Owen

(1988) Microspace system engineer Gary Owen showing a small 30” Ku-band receiver antenna at the Capitol Earthbase south of Raleigh.

Gary Owen

(1988) Microspace system engineer Gary Owen adjusting injection levels in a spectrum analyzer.

Microspace continued to research and explore new business frontiers that could benefit from its technology. As it turned out, the market became ripe for more bandwidth. As the demand expanded, so did Microspace.

True to its Capitol Broadcasting Company’s DNA, it became a pioneer credited with many “firsts”. In 2007, Microspace recognized Hollywood’s move into digital distribution of movies via satellite. CBC’s “mighty mo” division swooped in and accomplished an impressive list of firsts:

  • Delivered the movie Transformers to theaters
  • Delivered first 3D movie via satellite to multiple states (Beowulf)
  • Delivered first movie via satellite to ShoWest (Disturbia)
  • Delivered first movie via satellite to the LA Film Festival (Transformers)
  • Delivered first 4K movie via satellite (The Da Vinci Code)
  • Delivered the first super-HD college football game to multiple theatre locations (West Virginia vs Louisville)

When one takes a look at the current job descriptions of “Microspacers”, you’ll discover that 13 of the 19 employees have “engineering” associated with their job title! You name it, they will deliver it. On any given day, Microspace delivers content to well over a quarter of a million locations around the globe. This makes it one of the world’s largest satellite based networks that exclusively serves business applications.

Chris Collins & Michael Mintz

Microspace engineers Chris Collins (front) & Michael Mintz work in the control room.

Michael Mintz

Microspace engineer Michael Mintz work in the control room.

Today, as an industry leader that serves Fortune 500 companies and small companies alike, Microspace delivers digital signage, digital cinema, multi-media entertainment, corporate communications, radio broadcasting, wireless, messaging and private data networks.

And what about the future? Microspace continues to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new revenue streams where no man has gone before.

Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story & these photos. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.

Comments are closed.