Lowell White Paxson was born in Rochester to Donald and Maybelle Paxson on April 17, 1935. His father was a tool and die maker for the Eastman Kodak Company. A graduate of Syracuse University, he was just out of college when he invested in his first radio station.
In later years he was a frequent speaker to Christian groups and a financial contributor to Republican candidates.
A high-rolling entrepreneur who eventually started his own broadcast network, PAX TV, Mr. Paxson, who was known as Bud, began his career in radio as a disc jockey, salesman, general manager and small-station owner.
Mr. Paxson and Roy Speer began contracting with cable systems around the country to carry the Home Shopping Club, and it went on the air nationally in 1985 — the first national 24-hour shopping network on television.
Still, distribution was limited because the larger cable systems declined to carry the channel. Then Mr. Paxson hit on the idea of buying his own local stations carried by the larger systems.
To finance the expansion, Mr. Paxson and Mr. Speer took the company public in 1986 — the same year its chief competitor, QVC, was founded — and within a 12-month period were able to buy as many as 12 television stations. In addition, they helped support other station owners who would agree to carry Home Shopping Network programming. Growth was immediate and astonishing: Sales reached the $1 billion mark in 1990. The network was sold in 1995 to Barry Diller, and for a time was part of his media company, IAC/InterActiveCorp. It is now called HSN, a division of HSN Inc.
Mr. Paxson, who had homes in Las Vegas, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Lakeside, Mont., was divorced twice. He is survived by his wife, the former Marla Bright, whom he married in 1990; two sons, Todd and Devon; two daughters, Nicole Paxson and Julie Paxson-Linder; and six grandchildren.more » « less