1979-00-00 HBO's Take 2 channel (PAY) aimed at families was launched. It ceased after a short existence.
1979-01-00 Modern Satellite Network (five hours a day on an HBO West feed).
1979-01-01 Star Channel was uplinked to satellite as it became a nationally distributed service.
1979-01-01 "C-3", a cable children's network which launched the "Pinwheel" program on a QUBE system in Columbus, Ohio, changed its name to the "Pinwheel Channel". It was still only on a local cable system at the time.
1979-01-03 the satellite-delivered national Madison Square Garden Network (not the UA-Columbia/MSG regional network) was renamed UA-Columbia, serving as the cable syndicated arm of the New York regional network Madison Square Garden Network, PRISM in Philadelphia, and whatever pay/cable outlets were around. The regional UA-Columbia/MSG regional network could use the name Madison Square Garden Network, one of its original names, to refer to the network for regional cable usage to not be confused with the satellite-delivered national UA-Columbia network.
1979-03-00 SPN or Satellite Program Network expands to a 13-hour schedule.
1979-03-19 C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) daytime only, shared with but is not part of the UA-Columbia network. Funded by cable television companies, C-SPAN, under the direction of Brian Lamb, launches live, gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives.
1979-04-00 WOR EMI Service, operating as a superstation feed of WOR-TV, was uplinked on satellite, day unknown, by Syracuse, New York-based Eastern Microwave, Inc. Through the service, it began distributing WOR-TV to cable and C-band satellite subscribers.
1979-04-01 "Pinwheel" became a cornerstone block for the just-launched-on-this-date Nickelodeon cable network. It began featuring "Pinwheel" as a series of three to five-hour blocks that is part of its broadcast schedule. Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment developed and began satellite distribution of the first channel programmed exclusively for children. It was initially distributed to Warner Cable systems via satellite on the RCA Satcom-1 transponder.
1979-04-01 Star Channel shared space with Nickelodeon for a while at this point. Nickelodeon aired from 7am Eastern time (there was no Western feed as of yet) until 7pm Eastern time. Star Channel began at that point of time and ran until 4am Eastern time.
1979-04-02 Galavisión (PAY) was launched. (some say October 1979)
1979-04-15 Cornerstone Television was launched.
1979-04-16 Cinemerica (PAY) was launched around this date. It was movies for adults age 50 and older.
1979-06-19 American Educational Television Network (sharing with the Showtime West feed).
1979-07-01 Christian Communications Network (San Diego, full time).
1979-08-00 (some say Oct 1979) ACSN or Appalachian Community Service Network on satellite.
1979-08-00 SPN or Satellite Program Network expands to a 21-hour schedule.
1979-08-27 WTCG was renamed WTBS.
1979-09-00 Sports Channel America (PAY), day unknown.
1979-09-07 ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) was launched part-time for now.
1979-12-01 Star Channel was relaunched as The Movie Channel. It shared transponder space with Nickelodeon until the end of the year.
1979-13-00 by the end of 1979 the UA-Columbia/MSG regional network was using the full name Madison Square Garden Network.
On December 12, 1979, a shortage of satellite transponders is created when Satcom III is lost shortly after launch. It was successfully launched, but failed during geostationary transfer orbit, resulting in a dead satellite.
In 1979, TRW announces development of 400 MHz hybrid technology which provides capability for cable systems to offer greatly expanded channel capacities of 60 to 80 channels.
In 1979, American Express gets involved in cable by acquiring 50 percent of Warner Cable Company. One division, Warner Amex Cable Communications, Inc. (WACCI) becomes an MSO with the goal of using QUBE technology to secure franchises in major urban markets. Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company (WASEC) is formed to provide programming to the industry, which includes The Movie Channel, Nickelodeon and MTV.
In 1979, The FCC allows use of small earth stations without licenses, but also without protection from interference.
Source: The Cable Center website: Cable History Timeline: http://www.cablecenter.org/resources/exhibits/cable-history-timeline.html