Nittany Media’s Hain receives industry honor
LEWISTOWN –An area technology leader was recently honored with an industry award at a New York City ceremony. Michael Hain, of Nittany Media, was named by Cablefax Magazine as the Independent Tech Executive of The Year. Cablefax Magazine is a widely respected publication in the cable industry.
Hain is the general manager and chief technology officer for the company, which has been serving the region since 1956. His parents, Harry and Anna Hain, started the family-owned business back in the early days of the cable TV industry. Hain, along with his parents and brother Jonathan, has been actively involved with the company since he was a child.
“When the other kids were going down to the river fishing, my dad and I were going up the mountain with an inch and quarter mast with an antenna, and we were fishing too, fishing for a distant signal,” Hain said.
As a second-generation executive in his family business, Hain has climbed more poles and run more cable and fiber than many of his peers.
“We brought the internet to a very rural community, and we did it early, by 1997, and we did it as a community service,” Hain said.
True to its motto, “Bringing Technology Home,” Nittany Media, according to a press release, has brought many firsts to the area including:
¯ In 1963, the world’s first all-aluminum and solid state cable system.
¯ In 1976, the first cable operator in central Pennsylvania to utilize satellite technology to receive television programming.
¯ In 1992, the first intra-county fiber optic trunk.
¯ In 1996, the first county-wide educational Wide Area Network, linking the schools of the Juniata County School District using state-of-the-art network technology.
¯ In 1999, the first fixed wireless internet service. That same year Nittany Media was first to deploy Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification technology in the area, bringing broadband internet service to many area households and businesses.
¯ In 2002, built the first sustainable Gigabit municipal network, running on fiber optic technology. Today Nittany Media provides fiber optic wide area networking services that link medical facilities, government offices, schools, manufacturing facilities and more.
¯ More recently, Nittany Media, in a partnership with the New York City firm USTVNow, developed TV Everywhere technology to stream American TV channels to military and diplomatic personnel overseas. The service, one of the first of its kind anywhere, provides TV channels to mobile and other streaming capable devices everywhere. The idea had its inception back in the days of the Gulf War, when Hain worked to provide a global video stream to local troops overseas so they could see their children playing high school football.
Hain is not only active in the family business, but also as a member of the Board of Directors for the Broadband Cable Association of
Pennsylvania. He is an active member of the American Cable Association, which represents small- to mid-sized cable operators nationwide.
The press release states he has visited Washington, D.C., petitioning lawmakers for consumer-friendly TV industry reforms that would make for a fairer marketplace and for cable operators to be legally allowed to offer their subscribers channel choice.
“We are enablers,” Hain said of the cable industry. “If it weren’t for us, pushing ahead and using economies of scale and developing standards such as DOCSIS, we’d still be in the kilobit age, not the megabit and gigabit age. We brought the internet to our communities and our schools and we keep them connected with the world.”
He also actively serves as a member of the Mifflin County Internet Advisory Committee, comprised of citizens, government leaders and industry representatives seeking to extend internet access throughout the county.
“None of us could be here in this room doing the things we do without the shoulders we stand on,” Hain said while receiving his award in New York City. “My dad, at the age of 14, had his first class FCC (Federal Communications Commission) license, he was chief engineer of two radio stations through high school… my mother is just a fantastic manager. I’m especially grateful to my team at Nittany Media.”
Hain said receiving the award is a tremendous honor for him, Nittany Media and the local community.
“So often we don’t realize what we have here in this wonderful community,” Hain said. “We have a lot of excellence that comes from here. A lot comes from this community along the Juniata.”