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A Broadcast Pioneer, and It Started at Hunter

Paul Kagan
Kagan discusses his career with Hunter business students at a forum sponsored by the Leon Cooperman (’64) Pre-Business Program.
When Paul Kagan ('58) got the chance of his dreams - to be the Hunter basketball announcer as a freshman in 1954 - it was a happy accident: The new automated scoreboard annoyed the student who was running it, so he passed that job to the student announcer, Sam Samuels ('57), sports editor of the Arrow. Samuels turned to his new cub reporter and said, "Paul, you take the microphone," Kagan recalled. "I took it over, and I never gave it up."

He worked as athletic announcer for four years, became sports editor for the Arrow, managed the baseball and soccer teams, helped organize the intramural tournament, and ran WHCB, the campus radio station at the Bronx campus. (The station, he said, was really a public address system on the roof of a building.)

Looking back on his college days, Kagan said, "What I remember most about Hunter is the opportunity it gave me to develop my skills. I was doing things that required responsibility right from the very beginning."

His life at Hunter paved the way for his career in the communications field. His first business - an investment newsletter he wrote and mailed from a dining-room table in Long Island - grew into an international powerhouse, with a 140-person staff and offices in California, Colorado, London and Hong Kong.

The idea for the newsletter was born at E.F. Hutton where he began working in 1968 analyzing the nascent cable broadcasting industry for investors. He went on to develop a new method for analyzing the value of publicly held companies based on cash flow. The method is now in widespread use in many industrial sectors.

Kagan expanded his research to provide trend and financial analysis of media growth in Europe, and then extended his coverage to Asia. Eventually he was producing more than 100 publications.

He sold the newsletter in 2000 - only to begin another company in 2005, also focused on analysis and consulting. Kagan is now a director of the Cable TV Center in Denver.

He returned to New York in October as sponsor of the Paul Kagan Conference on 3D Media Markets at the Waldorf-Astoria, which attracted many of the nation's top media executives. During the trip, he took time to meet with Hunter students at Roosevelt House.

"I tell young people to think about what you want to do after college - even if you change your mind later - and use college to learn about that," he said. "I knew what I wanted to do, and I went to a college that gave me an opportunity to train for it right from the beginning."

He added, "The Hunter students are great! These people really have their lights on. Some people may think you have to go to the Ivy League, but Hunter is clearly a major-league college with a lot of spirit."

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