In 1993, I was in Korea teaching English. It was fun and adventurous; I was 24. Meanwhile my dad, Hal Hunter, was 58 and had recently been right-sized, downsized, outsourced—fired from his job. He was cooking up a new adventure himself.
My father had been working in the human-resources research and development world for decades, mostly in the Washington, D.C., area for government contractor firms. He had been developing an interest in what was then called “distance learning.” A number of emerging technologies were available to deliver such virtual learning, including expensive laser-disk technology (predecessor of CD-ROMs and DVDs) and audio-graphics (which evolved into WebEx and other online sharing tools).
My dad had assembled a group of key people from around our nation's capital, all of whom had similar interests on the customer side of the equation. The one thing he could get them all to understand and agree on was that television should be a main component in the approach. Television was the one technology everyone easily understood.
My dad contacted me to tell me he was starting a business focused on televising training and was interested in broadcasting it live by satellite to distant, remote audiences. I had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded like fun. I had saved about $5,000 from teaching, so I jumped on a flight and joined him.
The basic idea was to take talented instructors into television studios and broadcast them live to remote ...