Joseph A. Flaherty, Jr.

A case of "Father follows in son's footsteps."

Award-winning television engineer Joseph A. Flaherty, Jr., served at Signal Corp Photographic Center from April 1953 to November 1955 as Technical Director and Design Engineer of the Army's first Television Studio making training films via 35mm kinescope recording.  He was followed in service at SCPC/APC by his father Joseph A. Flaherty, who served as civilian Chief Engineer for TV Division circa 1959-1963, Assistant Chief, TV Branch, Pictorial Facilities Division.

Joseph A. Flaherty, Jr.*, Sergeant, who served at Signal Corps Photographic Center from April 1953 to November 1955, as Technical Director and Design Engineer of the Army's first Television Studio making training films via 35mm kinescope recording, wrote:

*Not to be confused with the listing for my Father, Joseph A Flaherty. in the personnel roster, as he served at the APC as a civilian after my tour of army duty. A case of "Father follows in son's footsteps".

I designed and supervised the installation of the Army's first television studio, built in the old Special Effects Stage on the second floor, to make training films via monochrome 35mm kinescope recording in the pre-videotape days. A number of films were made in the studio, and, in fact, the studio originated a section of the first CBS Morning Show on March 15, 1954. March 15th was then income tax day, and the insert covered the Army's portion of the U.S. tax dollar.

All things considered, my SCPC tour of duty was a fantistic experience and the turning point for the launch of my television career in New York!

At the risk of telling you more than you ever wanted to know, my career following my army tour kept me in New York television, I have been at CBS for 46 years where I am presently the Senior Vice President of Technology responsible for CBS television technology, national and international television standards and credited with the development of Electronic News Gathering that replaced 16mm news film worldwide, and as the father of High Definition Television. I was most responsible for the development and introduction of digital TV and HDTV in the Unites States and at CBS.

I am presently a member of the Board of Directors of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), and was Chairman of the Planning Subcommittee of the FCC's Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service and Co-chairman of its Technical Subgroup that developed the ATSC DTV and HDTV standard. 

I am also the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and Past Chairman of the World Broadcast Unions Technical Committee (WBU-TC).  

I am a Vice Chairman of the International Telecommunications Union ITU-R Study Group 6 on Broadcasting, and Chairman of the ITU-R Task Group 6/9 on Large Screen Digital Imagery (LSDI). 

I am an Honorary Member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and have been the SMPTE Vice President for Television Affairs, Financial Vice President, and Executive Vice President.  

I am a Fellow of the British Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), a Fellow of the Royal Television Society of the United Kingdom, a Fellow of the Chinese Institute of Electronics, an Honorary Member of the German engineering society Fernseh-Kinotechnischen Gesellschaft (FKTG), a member of the French Societe des Electriciens et des Radiolectriciens (SEE), one of the five International Honorary Members of the Institute of Television Engineers of Japan (, and a member of the Cosmos Club, Washington, D. C. 

I was a recipient of an Emmy Award Citation for the CBS Minicam Color Camera in 1969, and was the 1974 recipient of the SMPTE David Sarnoff Gold Medal for progress in television engineering. I received the 1975 Technical Emmy Award for Electronic Newsgathering, and in 1979 received the Montreux Achievement Gold Medal for the development of the concept and the operational implementation of Electronic Newsgathering.

In 1983, I was the recipient of the National Association of Broadcasters Engineering Award, and in 1984 the recipient of the SMPTE Progress Medal Award, and the New York State Broadcasters Award.

In February 1985, I was honored to be decorated as a Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur by President Mitterand of the Republic of France.

In 1986, I received an Emmy Award for electronic editing systems for programs produced on film, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree by Rockhurst College, Kansas City, Missouri.

In June 1989, I was conferred the rank of Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, and on September 26, 1989, I received a CBS Emmy Award for the development and installation of the first Digital Computer Automation System for television station and network use.

In December of 1991 he was inducted as one of the first 60 Charter Members of the Broadcasting & Cable Magazine Hall of Fame.

In June 1993 I received the International Electronic Cinema Festival "Pioneers" award in Montreux, Switzerland for pioneering work in High Definition Television Production.

In March 1994 I received the 1994 MSTV Engineering Award from the Association for Maximum Service Television, and the Alumnus of the Year Award for Outstanding Achievement from Rockhurst College.

In October 1994, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented me a Personal Emmy Award for "Lifetime Achievement in Contributions to the Development and Improvement of the Science and Technology of Television".

On October 26, 1996, I became one of the five Charter Members of the Rockhurst College Science Hall of Fame, and, on November 19, 1996, was awarded a second personal Emmy - the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Hollywood.

In April of 1998 I received the first Digital Television Pioneer Award from the Broadcasting & Cable and Digital Television magazines, and in May of 2000, I received the International Electronic Cinema Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, the Festivalís highest award, for my achievements in the field of electronic cinematography and high definition television.

In 2002 I was elevated to the rank of "Officer" in the French Legion of Honor by French President Jacques Chirac. 

The foundation of much of my television work was my experience at SCPC working with the dedicated group of experts there!

Posted July 23, 2004; updated October 3, 2020.


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