Lawrence “Bud” Rogers has no reservations about tooting his own horn in this short memoir centered on the biggest deal of his life.
Readers meet the author as he retires from Taft Broadcasting Company in Cincinnati Ohio in the late 1970s. He was chief operating officer and president for almost two decades but he wasn’t having fun. Rogers isn’t even out the door when his buddy Orin Atkins CEO of Ashland Oil offers him a proposition he can’t refuse:
“You go out and find radio or television stations to buy—or both—and Ashland will put up ninety percent of the capital in return for sixty percent of the stock” Atkins tells him. “You have to provide ten percent of the capital for which you get forty percent of the stock. You can split the stock any way you want among your equity partners if you need any and you’ll be the CEO.”
This opportunity takes Rogers to TV Channel 35 in Orlando Florida. Ted Turner has forced the television station into bankruptcy and Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network bought off the equipment basically gutting the station. Both communication giants maneuver to acquire the defunct station’s license; they see big rewards in the Orlando area now that Disney has turned it into one of the fastest growing regions in the United States.
The maneuvering sounds like a ping pong game with deals and dirty tricks flying fast and furious. Yet Rogers insists he was a man of integrity throughout. We have only Roger’s word for the accuracy of his recollections; there are no footnotes endnotes references or bibliography. A few glaring factual errors may make readers suspect his accuracy or at least a lack of fact checking.
Rogers a graduate of Princeton University and a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker in the broadcast industry for forty years tells a good story. Readers can feel the author’s joy in writing this memoir and hear him chuckling as he recalls his moment of triumph. The writing flows smoothly. He incorporates enough detail to make it interesting but not enough to really draw readers into the story. For those who may not be excited by accounting or feel the “thrill of totting up a balanced book; a thousand ciphers neatly in a row” this read may get old fast.
For those unfamiliar with the players a quick Google search provides fascinating facts about the people and companies who have connections to current businesses. With the heavyweights (Turner and Robertson) in a David and Goliath stand-off against Rogers and friends an exotic setting and the romance of the early broadcast industry Orlando Shoot-Out is a fun insider look at events that shaped today’s business of acquisitions.
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