||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (June 2012)|
Ken Schaffer (born October 19, 1947) is an inventor and, in the late 1960s, was publicist for such rock stars as Jimi Hendrix, Steve Tyler of Aerosmith, Todd Rundgren, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper and for the Comet Kohoutek (on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium). During this period, Schaffer designed and custom built the guitar John Lennon used on his last album, Double Fantasy and introduced John Lennon's favorite movie, Alexandro Jodorowsky's El Topo which ignited the cult of the Midnight Movie. El Topo (1970 film).
A lifelong amateur radio enthusiast, in the 1970s he invented the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System, a low-noise/wide dynamic range wireless microphone and then a wireless guitar system. He made more than a thousand systems (at $4,400 each). Among the first bands to adopt the Schaffer system were the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger used a Schaffer microphone when he danced around the stage, as did nearly every other major touring rock group in the 70s and 80s. What made the Schaffer mic and guitar system worth so much was not just that it just kept rock stars from being electrocuted (KISS switched to Schaffer after a band member was seriously injured), but that it had excellent reliability and sound quality. NASA became a customer and used Schaffer's innovative preprocessing circuits to improve astronaut voice communication.
In the 1980s, Schaffer developed a complex satellite tracking system that made it possible for US agencies to monitor the internal television of the then-Soviet Union. The system tapped into the Soviet Molniya non-geosynchronous satellite constellation, which carried Moscow television to the Far North. A system based on a red 3 meter dish on the roof of Columbia University's International Affair Institute in Manhattan allowed Soviet Studies graduate students to watch live Russian television. Other systems were installed at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). the University of Pennsylvania, and a various private owners. Schaffer then conceived and executed a project through which the then fledgling Discovery Channel devoted a week to carrying Russian TV, for which he shared the National Cable Television Association's Golden Ace award.
Schaffer became fascinated with the changes he observed going on in Russia and started a company to bring modern voice communication to western companies operating there, later selling that company to COMSAT Corporation, the biggest player in satellite communications, now part of Lockheed Martin. Concurrently, Schaffer conceived of a project which brought the iconic Boris Grebenshikov, often described as the "Bob Dylan of Russia" to the West, where he recorded an album for Columbia Records produced by Dave Stewart and featuring Eurythmics's Annie Lennox and The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. The year-long odyssey was documented by director Michael Apted, who filmed Schaffer and Grebenshikov through St. Petersburg, Moscow, London, New York and Los Angeles for the film, 'The Long Way Home.' 
In 2003, Schaffer invented a device called TV2Me, which enables customers to access their cable TV channels from anywhere in the world via a broadband Internet connection. The concept TV2Me introduced became known as 'placeshifting', as opposed to 'timeshifting'. The first TV2Me unit was purchased by musician Sting, who used it especially to follow his team, Newcastle United as he toured.
- The New York Times, Should 'El Topo' Be Elevated To 'El Tops'?
- Guitar Player Magazine, Eliminating the Physical Link Between the Guitar and the Amplifier, (PDF)
- The New York Times, Columbia Tunes In Soviet Television
- NCTA List of Golden Ace Winners
- Boris Grebenshikov: The Long Way Home
- The New York Times, I Want my Moscow TV
- PBS.com, How Ken Schaffer's TV2Me Will Change Television Forever
- Alla Kliouka, IMDB