Austin, Texas – Another city and another cable system to sell on the ’round the clock – 24/7 sports network. Upon landing, I checked with our office in Connecticut and found that George Conner wanted me to call ASAP.
I picked up the rental car and stopped at the nearest pay phone (yep, no cell phones then – just a pocket full of quarters for the nearest phone booth). I brought George up to date and on a hunch called Community Properties, Inc. (CPI) to confirm that I had arrived and would see Greg Liptak as scheduled.
Imagine my surprise when his secretary told me he was out of town and wouldn’t be back for the rest of the day. She added that she hoped this wouldn’t inconvenience me too much.
I guess it just depends on your interpretation of inconvenience. I had flown from Denver to Dallas to Austin and rented a car which I now returned with just four miles used to the car rental agency and flew back to Dallas. Obviously the stop in Austin hadn’t gone very well.
I spent the weekend at a Dallas/Fort Worth airport hotel wondering what Monday’s meeting with the President of Sammons Communications would bring.
Read all of the hectic day to day happenings during the birth of ESPN in Sports Junkies Rejoice – The Birth of ESPN available with an attractive 25% discount for the holidays. Go to http://espnfounder.com/sjr_discount2011.htm for you copy today.
Denver, Colorado – What a day! Back to United Cable headquarters with our new concept of becoming the cable industry’s first ad-supported network. Gene Schneider and his Regional Managers, Bob Ball and Harvey Boyd, could hardly believe their ears. What they had mentioned tongue in cheek just ten days earlier was now roughly our new plan.
I updated them on my travels of the last ten days – Getty, NCAA, etc. – and they were suddenly enthusiastic. The whole plan was on a single sheet of paper that carried only eleven typewritten lines. “If you pull this off, I want to be your first affiliate,” Schneider said. Now THAT was really good news.
Next stop was just around the corner to TCI – Telecommunications, Inc. – Graham Moore was Vice President of Programming for this huge MSO. He listened attentively and said, “I like your idea very much. This is something TCI will be interested in, but frankly, I don’t see how you can pull it off. I wish you well, but I don’t see how you can do it.”
Talk about emotional highs and lows. Coming on the heels of the positive United Cable visit, Graham’s comments ended this particular Denver visit on a down note.
Summing up the two days in Denver was a bit sobering: One strange visit (ATC); One disbelieving visit to the point of barely concealed smiles (Daniels); One “I want to be our first customer;” and One, “You’ll never pull it off.” Not a promising beginning, but it was time to head for the airport again – destination, Austin, Texas to get acquainted with CPI – Community Properties, Inc.
The entire whirlwind month of December is detailed in the book: Sport Junkies Rejoice – The Birth of ESPN. Great Christmas gift for you or for any ESPN fan on your list. You’ll save 25% at http://espnfounder.com/sjr_discount2011.htm.
Posted in Excitement builds
Tagged ATC, Bob_Ball, CPI, Daniels, Gene_Schneider, Graham_Moore, Harvey_Boyd, JB, NCAA_TV_Committee, TCI, United_Cable