On August 7, Joseph A. Flaherty Jr. passed away at the age of 87. Dr. Flaherty, who held a doctorate in physics, was the subject of a September 1984 front cover feature in VideoAge.
In 2007, after having been at CBS for 49 years, he semi-retired from his position as Senior Vice President of Technology, responsible for CBS television technology, as well as national and international television standards. He fully retired in 2013, according to his Linkedln profile.
In 1958, after a two-year stint at NBC in New York City, he joined CBS as a Television Design Engineer. In 1959, he became the network’s Director of Technical Facilities Planning. In 1967, he was promoted to General Manager, and was subsequently appointed as Vice President and General Manager of the Engineering and Development Department, a position he held for 23 years.
In the 1970s, Joe (as he liked to be called) revolutionized the television news industry by changing the process by which stories were recorded, replacing the 16 mm film that was typically used with real-time Electronic News Gathering (ENG), which eliminated the time-consuming process of transporting and developing the film.
In the early 1980s, Joe began developing High Definition Television, and on February 7, 1981, he demonstrated “Hi-Vision” to the Hollywood production community. This led to his appointment as the Chairman of the Planning Committee for the U.S. regulatory communication agency’s (FCC) Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service, which produced the current U.S. Digital High Definition System.
In February 1985, Flaherty was decorated as an Officer de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur by French President Jacques Chirac, and in June 1989, he became a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France. On 2002, he was elevated to the rank of “Officer” in the French Legion of Honor.