owner Gary cocola of Fresno pounded his fist into his palm,
over and over, telling entrepreneurship students Friday how
he got into business.
kept hitting the wall, hitting the wall, hitting the wall,"
said Cocola, owner of Cocola Broadcasting.
is what you have to do, said Cocola, entrepreneur in residence
this week in the program run by California State University,
Fresno. He said later that he donated 30 to 40 hours to tell
students how you do it, at least what you have to go through
to become your own man or woman, a capitalist, an entrepreneur
with something to sell.
Broadcasting now operates 20 stations, 19 of them low power,
and the other, KGMC, Channel 43, a Fresno UHF station.
first got into television as a 17-year-old in 1957, broadcasting
live in black and white in Fresno television's fledgling days.
Before he knew it, he said, he was recognized as, "a local
checked into a television career but went instead into the
produce business. He discovered something he didn't like about
in the produce business is having a bad day every day," he
decay. Prices aren't right. Shipments arrive late.
solution? Do something you enjoy every day.
it was back to television just short of his 40th birthday.
He got his Federal Communications Commision permit. He met
with a 350-pound Las Vegas hotel owner about financing but
decided to look elsewhere.
thought, 'Oh my God. If he gave me the money, I would have
been in partnership with Tony Soprano.'... So I hocked everything
I had," he said, "but I had a piece of paper that said I could
build a TV station."
said this was too risky, he told students, but he got his
start-up money plus a mentor, Paul Bartlett, longtime Fresno
broadcasting and railroad expert.
also devised a broadcasting formula he thought would work.
went on the air in July 1985. The rest is success.
he's into Internet business as well.
donated this week to students because he wanted to give back
to his community, Fresno.
parting words to students:
are here today because you are in a business or want to start."
must persevere. Keep hitting the brick wall. Maybe you will
find a crack."
Bee article by Jim Steinberg
reprinted with permission