Book Review – BROADCASTING & CABLE Magazine

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Thank you to Michael Malone for his review in Broadcasting & Cable (see below)… 

As an aside, when Bill started in the broadcasting industry in 1958, Broadcasting (as the magazine was then called) was the go-to trade publication for people in the business and it’s still going strong today. 

REVIEW by Michael Malone
William L. McGee has authored The Broadcasting Years, 1958-1989: Memoir of a Television Pioneer. As the title suggests, McGee spent three-plus decades in the broadcasting business, initially selling syndicated shows, then helping launch KBHK in San Francisco, managing stations, and finally launching his own ad sales outfit, Broadcast Marketing Company.

A cowboy before he worked in television, McGee is a prolific memoirist. He’s written books about several chapters of his life, including Montana Memoir: The Hardscrabble Years, 1925-1942Bluejacket Odyssey, 1942-1946, Guadalcanal to BikiniOperation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946; and The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler, 1947-1949.

McGee, who is 93, publishes his books through BMC Publications. His wife Sandra is his co-author….

The Broadcasting Years begins with McGee toiling at a dude ranch in Reno, and shifting to television sales after meeting director Norman Tokar. Much of The Broadcasting Years reads a bit dry, though McGee does offer a somewhat compelling glimpse at another era in television, when the martinis flowed during lunch, and the local newspaper was viewed as the enemy of television.

McGee took painstaking notes from his time in television. . . . but he never completely breaks from his cowboy past, leavening the boardroom anecdotes with climbs of Mount Everest and Mount McKinley, hikes through the wilds of Hawaii, and river rafting in Colorado.

A natural raconteur, McGee comes across as a likable chap, with some hard-earned business lessons to pass along. It’s a little hard to imagine the book’s readership extending beyond those who work in local TV sales–or those who know McGee. But his writing is engaging, and the book moves quickly.

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