Paul Kagan, a cable television pioneer who was among the first to discover the potential of the medium and became a key voice of the industry over decades, died of kidney failure on August 23. He was 82. A private burial was held August 27 in Pacific Grove, CA due to COVID-19, but a celebration of his life will be planned for a later date.
The eclectic New York native graduated from Hunter College ad held a series of media jobs, including as a radio sports announcer, deejay, newspaper editor and and PR rep for Stan Lee. His love affair with cable was sparked in 1968 as a broadcast securities analyst for E.F. Hutton on Wall Street. He left to found Paul Kagan Associates in 1969 and in short order published the first newsletter in the field, Cable TV Investor, as financial players grew interested in the space, developing public company valuations based on multiples of cash flow.
He moved his growing business and family to Carmel, CA in 1978.
Over the span of his almost 50-year career, Kagan, dubbed the Cable Guru, and PKA published more than 38 different newsletters and 95 data books. Topics included cable TV, radio, movies, newspapers, Internet media, sports, advertising and finance, and he expanded his research to companies in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Kagan was ubiquitous at seminars and conferences internationally and was widely quoted and interviewed. He served as an appraiser of media values, managed stock and bond funds, consulted for leading companies and government agencies, and provided expert witness testimony.
Kagan co-founded and financed Cable World Media and also created Euromedia, the first pan-European business magazine. In 1989, he opened an office in London, later adding offices in Los Angeles, Denver and Hong Kong.
PKA published Asia Cable, Satellite World and Asia Broadband magazines, and launched his first website, pkbaseline.com, in 1995 with pay-per-view data. His internet “Media Investor” newsletter in 1996 was the first publication to recognize the role of Internet search engines in media.
In 2000, Kagan sold PKA to Primedia, which was later sold to MCG Capital and renamed Kagan Research. That was ultimately acquired by SNL Financial, which was purchased by McGraw-Hill in 2015. The research company continues to operate as SNL Kagan, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
In 2006, Kagan launched PK Worldmedia, continuing as a thought leader, providing research and consulting services to executives, financiers, and investors in digital entertainment and communications.
He also co-founded and was director of The Cable Center in Denver, and was co-founder and director emeritus of the John Bayliss Broadcast Foundation, which offers grants to students seeking careers in radio. He was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2011.
After college, the Bronx born and raised Kagan was a sportswriter at The Binghampton Sun and play-by-play radio announcer for the New York Yankees’ farm team there. He was sports editor of the Endicott Bulletin and a deejay at WBRX in Pennsylvania.
Back in New York City, he did PR for Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, sold radio advertising at CBS and WOR-FM, and was a freelance writer.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Florrie; his daughters, Melanie and Linda; three grandchildren; sister Beatrice; and a large extended family.
Donations in Paul’s memory can be made to the Warriors Community Foundation which is dedicated to making a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of underserved youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. More info here.
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