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Media Pioneer Paxson Dies

Developer of Home Shopping Network started in radio

Lowell White Paxson, better known as Bud, passed away Friday.

Paxson was a DJ in upstate New York at the age of 14, and as soon as he was an adult, purchased a small New York station. He initially experienced his ups and downs with ownership of radio and TV stations.

In 1977, his legend began. Owning WWQT(AM), a radio station in Clearwater, Fla., Paxson accepted a load of more than 100 can openers in lieu of an overdue ad bill. They were in classic 1970s avocado green. Paxson and show host Bob Circosta began hawking the can openers over the air and quickly sold them all, to their surprise.

Paxson understood that he had stumbled onto a lucrative commercial broadcasting concept and eventually took it to TV, creating the Home Shopping Club, later the Home Shopping Network. Paxson eventually sold HSN.

Personal difficulties led Paxson to a spiritual awakening. He started PAX TV, a family-friendly religious TV network. That was eventually bought by NBCUniversal and renamed Ion Television.

Paxson was involved in several federal reforms of TV regulation. The NAB released this statement from President and CEO Gordon Smith: “Broadcasters have lost a friend and a legend in the passing of Bud Paxson, who was a tenacious advocate for over-the-air radio and television. Bud’s support for program carriage rules as part of the 1992 Cable Act helped sustain diverse voices on the airwaves and allowed free and local broadcasting to remain a competitive force in today’s multichannel world. NAB mourns the loss of a true giant of broadcasting.”

A note from Dean Goodman says that services will be held at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., at 4 p.m. on Jan. 22.