Captain Bo Coppedge gave me 2 minutes of his time the morning of the UConn-Navy football game. He became an ally with me and the NCAA as he was Chair of the TV Committee.
This meeting came on the heels of the best timing on September 1st when I scrambled to get our transponder confirmation in the mail – just before an article in the Wall Street Journal launched a flurry of activity with people wanting transponders, and doing anything to get one!
Ten days later, I spoke with JB Doherty for the first time. Turns out he was the one who brought the financing together several months later.
Scott and I met with JB two days later and laid out our plan.
Then we were off to Chicago to share the excitement with my family. They believed in me and our project and agreed to put up the seed money for the E.S.P. Network.
We were in business!
A simple telephone call – Locking up the satellite transponder with RCA!
September 1, 1978 – Plainville, CT: We got a sneak preview that something big was about to happen in the young life of the E. S. P. Network when I returned a call to Al Parinello, the RCA Americom satellite transponder salesman. Although we had committed to a 24 hour transponder weeks earlier, we had yet to send written confirmation to RCA. Al said, “Things are heating up. You’d better get that letter in the mail today. There will be a real scramble after Labor Day and I don’t want you guys to lose you slot.”
The letter went out that day and it’s a good thing it did. As Parinello had predicted, “things were heating up.” An article in the Wall Street Journal right after Labor Day forecast the impending boom in the cable television business because of advances made in satellite communications technology. Requests for transponder space flooded RCA Americom’s offices … everybody wanted “in” on the new technology’s path to cable TV gold.
And so it was that a phone call, a confirming letter and great (albeit almost accidental) timing landed transponder 7 on RCA Satcom 1 for the E. S. P. Network just days before the the world was informed via the Journal that a communications revolution was on the way.