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Document Details


Title: Robert W. (Bob) Hughes
Document type: Oral history
Accessibility: Free Only
Repository: Cable Center. Barco Library. Special Collections
Collection: Cable Center Oral History Collection
Description: Bob Hughes developed and refined many of the innovative financing techniques that enabled cable television to grow through the latter half of the 20th century. Born in Oklahoma, Hughes graduated from the University of Oklahoma and Harvard Business School. While working for a venture capital firm in Austin, TX, he met two cable entrepreneurs - Jack Crosby and Fred Lieberman - and helped them start GenCo, which eventually became the foundation for United Cable Television. After GenCo was bought by Livingston Oil Co. in 1968, Hughes and Crosby along with Bill Arnold and Ben Conroy founded Communications Properties Inc. Starting with a franchise in Midland, TX, they built CPI into the 7th largest cable company in the US before selling to Times Mirror Co. in 1979. In his oral history Hughes recalls many of the innovative financial structures he used to raise money for the venture and the difficulties they had at times meeting payroll, coping with federal regulations and constructing some of the first systems in the big cities. After selling to Time Mirror, Hughes again founded a new cable company, Prime Cable, with some of his colleagues from CPI - Jerry Lindauer, Dan Pike and Ron Dorchester. This time they kept the company private rather than going public. They specialized in buying systems that were not working financially or technically and fixing them, starting with the system in Atlanta, GA. They also followed a strategy of keeping a system for only five to eight years before selling. A major coup was the purchase of the system in Las Vegas, NV, for $85 million in 1986. Prime sold the system in 1998 for $3.1 billion. By 1999 the company had sold all its systems and Hughes had formed a venture capital company, Prime New Ventures, to invest in a wide array of telecommunications enterprises. In his oral history Hughes also touches on some of the legislative and regulatory battles the industry fought during his time on the NCTA board; the mergers of AOL with Time Warner and AT&T with TCI; and the future of cable.
URL: http://www.cablecenter.org/education/library/oralHistoryDetails.cfm?id=117
Original Language: English
Video: [Video available]
Audio: [Audio available]
Time span: Not indicated ... to 2000 (Year of interview)
Speaker: Hughes, Robert W.
Speaker gender: Male
Speaker place of birth: Oklahoma; United States; North America
Speaker occupation: Businessman; Chairman; Director; Entrepreneur
Document location: Austin, TX
Document date: 21-Jan-2000
Interviewer: Keller, Jim
Locations discussed: North America; United States
Topics discussed - ASP terms: Broadcasting; Cable television--United States; North America; Oral history; Public broadcasting; Television; Television programs; United States
Topics discussed - Other terms: Cable administrators
ASP release: 2005-06
Document code: OHI0022750-24158