St Pete’s Home Shopping Network Started With 112 Can-Openers

floridatraveler hsn-officeIn 1977 Lowell “Bud” Paxson, owner of WWQT 1470 AM Radio in Saint Petersburg had a problem – an advertiser dropped out leaving the station with 112 avocado green-colored can openers.

Paxson assigned his top on-air personality Bob Circosta three hours station time to unload the can-openers for $9.95 each. The can openers easily sold and Paxson realized the power of using the media for home shopping.

As a result of the can-opener crisis, Paxson and Roy Speer in 1982 started the Home Shopping Club, on a local cable channel in Pinellas County. The popularity of the televised sales pitch boomed and three years later the Home Shopping Network was offered to cable firms around the nation.

Bob Circosta was the original HSN selling over 75,000 different products in over 20,000 hours of live television for a value over “one billion dollars.” Circosta, who lives in Clearwater, now helps other firms make use of television and the social media.

With call centers all over the nation, a Spanish network, other electronic retail ventures, websites, and retail outlets, locals in Florida often forget HSN’s roots. Just off I-275 is the headquarters of HSN and their far-reaching studio and broadcasting facilities.

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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