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From the archives of BarterNews...

Creative Barter Arrangement Launched Paxson’s Home Shopping Network

Lowell Paxson, of Home Shopping Network fame (now Florida-based Paxson Communications), has assembled a group of 55 TV stations...with a value of $400 million. Like many, his enormous success began with a barter assist.

Paxson grew up in Rochester (NY) and spent 30 years in radio—as a disk jockey, salesman, general manager, and owner of small-town stations. He was still struggling to make ends meet when he stumbled into barter.

It happened when an appliance-store owner who owed the station $1,000 couldn’t pay his bill, and Paxson took 112 electric can openers in lieu of payment. The next morning Paxson went on the air and sold them all for $9.95 each.

Thus was born the Suncoast International Bargainers Club, a radio shopping show that migrated to TV after Paxson leased a channel from a local cable operator. At its peak Home Shopping Network (HSN) was selling over $1 billion a year of downscale goods, like imitation diamonds and porcelain plates. In 1991 he sold HSN, and ever since has been buying TV stations.