In Memory of Joseph Sakey

Joe Sakey, long-time director of the Cambridge Public Library,

died November 22, 2004.

In the early 1980’s, in anticipation of the franchising of cable television for the City, City Manager Robert Healy appointed Joseph Sakey to head the city’s Office of Cable Television. Joe researched cable companies and cable licenses from around the country in order to

develop the best possible system for Cambridge. He shepherded the City through the process of choosing our first cable provider, and set up the public, educational, and municipal access entities.

But these facts do not adequately reflect what Joe Sakey brought to

his assignment. He was passionate about democracy and ideas and

community, and recognized that the diversity of the City enhances the lives

of all. His vision for the library was one of outreach and inclusion and he carried
that vision to this task. Joe was excited about what the cable system

would bring; he educated anyone who would listen and sought input from

all corners of the community. His requirements for the Cambridge cable

system far exceeded those of other municipalities: eight local cable channels,
a robust institutional network, generous capital and operational support
 – and he convinced the cable company to provide it all. He zealously

advocated for a private nonprofit to operate public access television in

Cambridge, ensuring that municipal and corporate interests not dictate

what would be on the channels. Cambridge Community Television is the

fruit of his labor and love; the impact of his vision is with us every day.

Since 1988, when he was the first recipient, CCTV has awarded the Joseph

Sakey Award to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the

development of access to the media in Cambridge. We are committed to

continuing Joe’s legacy, and extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife

Shirley and his entire family.

-      Susan Fleischmann