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Monday, January 12, 2015

Broadcast Pioneer Lowell "Bud" Paxson Dead at 80


Bud Paxson, creator and co-founder of Home Shopping Network and PAX TV has died at the age of 80. Paxson began his career as an owner of WACK Radio, a 500 watt radio station in the village of Newark, New York. Paxson would later purchase AM station, WWQT in Clearwater. In 1977, an advertiser had plenty of product to sell?avocado-green-colored can openers?but ran out of funds to purchase airtime. Paxson instructed talk-show host Bob Circosta to sell the can openers live over the air and both men were stunned at the audience response. All 112 can openers were purchased within the hour on August 28, 1977. Sensing the sales potential of live, on-air product selling, Paxson and Roy Speer co-founded a local cable TV channel in 1982 that sold products directly to Florida viewers, and then launched nationwide in 1985. The channel was the Home Shopping Club, later Home Shopping Network.

Paxson went on to buy more television, radio and media properties and engaged in a federal campaign to ensure diversity in broadcast television as a David to the Goliaths of the big three broadcast networks and cable.  He was the driving force behind the landmark must-carry language in the 1992 Cable Act and the 1996 Communications Act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1997 and transformed television in the modern age to ensure local community voices were not lost.  He became the largest owner of broadcast properties in Florida, started the 7th largest broadcast television network in the United States, and raised the standard of television programming with his network, PAX TV, which he insisted only air family-friendly programs and commercials.  He was the recipient of numerous awards including induction in the Broadcast & Cable Hall of Fame, the Worldwide Electronic Marketing Association?s International Lifetime Achievement Award, Florida Entrepreneur of the Year Award and many others.

Paxson was a man of deep faith, family and philanthropic endeavors.  His personal commitment to his faith was a hallmark of Bud?s character.  His devotion to Christianity was matched only by his love for this wife Marla, his constant and committed partner along his many life journeys, his children Todd, Devon, Julie and Nicole, his daughter-in-law Dorian and his wonderful grandchildren Riley, Talon, Levi, Dakota, Austin, and Colton, who are his most enduring and proudest legacies.  Services will be held at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida at 4:00pm on Thursday, January 22nd.

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