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King: The Bullitts of Seattle and Their Communications Empire Paperback – September 1, 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

When you think of Seattle, what come to mind may be airplanes (Boeing), coffee (Starbucks), or software (Microsoft). Now you can add broadcasting with this family saga of the Bullitts and the King Broadcasting Company. Corr, a reporter for the Seattle Times with a knack for turning a phrase, tells how Dorothy Bullitt, a woman born to privilege, became a broadcasting pioneer after the death of her husband, living to 97. He weaves together three stories: the family, the company's operations, and how both related to the civic life of Seattle. Sometimes, especially when detailing the inner workings of the news division of anchor TV station KING, there is an overload of detail. Still, Corr's book belongs in serious broadcasting and history of the Pacific Northwest collections and may also appeal to readers of another family media saga, Marie Brenner's House of Dreams: The Bingham Family of Louisville (Random, 1988).
-?Bruce D. Rosenstein, USA Today Lib., Arlington, Va.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Though she regularly wore prim pearls and a hat and gloves, Dorothy Stimson Bullitt was far from a typical elderly lady. When she died at age 97, Bullitt, a friend of FDR, had turned the American broadcast industry into a powerhouse. As the owner of six TV stations, she had parlayed KING broadcasting into a $400 million operation; her personal income exceeded $200 million. Corr, a reporter for the Seattle Times, traces the history of the Bullitt empire from Dorothy's purchase of its first station in 1947 to 1992, when her daughters sold off the entire company. The intervening years were filled with the turbulent machinations of big business as Dorothy (followed by her son Stimson and, later, Ancil Payne) tried to serve the public interest by providing high-quality children's programming, public affairs broadcasts, documentaries, cutting-edge editorials, and investigative reports. The company evolved into the hallmark of aggressive, award-winning journalism. This is impressive, required reading for anyone with a passion for broadcast journalism history. Patricia Hassler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295975849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295975849
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,817,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on March 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Corr's book is more valuable than the narrow title suggests. More than a history of a powerful Seattle family and its TV-Radio empire, Corr's larger theme is the post-war growth of Seattle, the price of its progress and the universal tension between idealism and commerce. This story is interesting because Dorothy Bullitt did not set out to make money in the new medium of TV. Rather, she and her son, Stimson, created a new media force that shook up the sleepy newspaper-dominated local media. Well into the 70's KING-TV scooped many big stories. Corr does a masterful job of tracing the early deviations from the "King ideal"--Dorothy's dumping of her son in favor of Ancil Payne, the shift from hard news to TV celebrities, and the ultimate cash out by Payne and Dorothy's daughters. Along the way Corr paints many colorful portraits--the Machiavellian Payne, Dorothy's hopelessly dysfunctional grandchildren, the bright and attractive Jean Enersen--the lone remaining link to the glory days, the irasicble Don McGaffin--a throwback to the hard drinking, hard working, macho muckrakers of the turn of the century, and the glib, shallow Jim Foreman--the self-described "ratings machine" and low water mark for KING's television journalism. There is much to savor in this well written and colorful book. One hopes that Corr will soon devote his considerable talent to a subject with broader appeal.
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Format: Hardcover
Corr has done lovers of radio, and television, specifically those of us in the Pacific Northwest a tremendous favor, capturing the drama of the Bullitt family.

His writing is lively and the story is compelling in its narritive detail. You'll learn of the struggles, gambles and tremendous paybacks the Bulletts made as they began and grew their broadcasting kingdom.

If I had any criticism, it would be that the book is a little short of details concerning KING-AM and KGW-AM's heydays as Top 40 Rock N Roll outlets. The author completely fails to include, KINK-FM, one of the most interesting and hybrid FM radio stations in the country.

If you are at all interested in radio, television or Northwest business history, this is definately a book worthy of purchasing.
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By A Customer on November 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books about the Northwest. Corr does a great job blending the story of an activist family with the rise of Seattle after World War II. Next to "Skid Road," my favorite on Seattle. Should be a movie. A great female lead character in Dorothy Bullitt.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book fascinating having grown up in Seattle from the 40's and knowing so many of the names of the pioneers and politicians as well as the streets and areas mentioned. In high school history class I had written a term paper on the early history of Seattle so knew already of some of what was written in the KING book. I also had previously read the book on Harriet Bullet Stimson, founder of KING radio and T.V.
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