Limping on Water, by Phil Beuth, with K.C. Schulberg. Smart Business Network. 360 pages. Hardcover $24.95.
In a plain, clear style, Mr. Beuth recounts (says the subtitle) “My 40-year adventure with one of America’s outstanding communications companies.” The author’s outlook is consistently one of thankfulness and optimism. He feels blessed by having been in the right place at the right time, and having been trusted with important responsibilities at an early age. His growth as a business executive parallels the growth of this marvelous company, the name of which is less well known today than it was when it swallowed a media giant.
The company was Capital Cities Communications, often referred to as CapCities. The giant swallowed in 1985 was the American Broadcasting Company. In time, Phil Beuth became the ultimate insider, being among those first hired by CapCities head Tom Murphy in 1955. It was a new company, with plenty of ambition. CapCities brought on many established media professionals, and young Phil Beuth, just twenty-three, was smart enough to learn from them, just as they were smart enough to put challenging opportunities in his way.
Mr. Beuth’s personal narrative has to do with his growing up in New York City, family matters, and learning to live with a physical disability that never became an excuse. His high school years included enjoying the great sportscaster Red Barber, holding afterschool jobs, and meeting Betty Yost, who would become his wife. His scholarship to Union College in Schenectady (followed by a master’s degree from Syracuse) supplied one part of his education; a job at a local radio station initiated another set of learning experiences.
Then came WROW-TV in Albany at the outset of the deals that launched CapCities. Mr. Beuth’s detailed description of Tom Murphy’s tutelage helps readers understand how the CapCities management style groomed beginners for success. By 1957, the young media employee was making purchases of the just-issued CapCities stock.
It was in the building called the Nunnery, WROW-TV’s headquarters, that Phil Beuth met one of the many entertainment celebrities he came to know over his long career. This was Ted Knight, known best for his portrayal of the Ted Baxter character on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Limping on Water is filled with many delightful anecdotes about celebrity performers and other prominent individuals including Lowell Thomas, Charles Gibson, Warren Buffett, Burt Reynolds, Barbara Walters, and Paul McCartney. . . .
To read the full review, as it appears in the April 13, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the April 14 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Limping on Water