Web site, cable network prep for business

Live auctions are coming to cable TV and the Internet.

Tapping into the expertise and clout of the National Auctioneers Assn., the Auction Network plans to open for business this fall as a Web site and, early next year, as a 24/7 cable net. TV personality Tava Smiley will be the network’s main host.

Based in Tulsa, Okla., the ad-supported Auction Network will be run by a group of executives with both cable TV experience, mostly at TV Guide Channel, and with auctioneering experience at Williams & Williams Auctions, also based in Tulsa.

Net’s CEO and founder is Pam McKissick, who was prexy of TV Guide Channel and chief exec of Williams & Williams Auctions.

Calling live auctions “an untapped niche” on cable TV, McKissick said that viewers will be able bid by logging on to the website or using their cell phones. People will be drawn to bid, the network said, on such things as “high-octane automobiles, million-dollar thoroughbreds, exclusive wine collections and their favorite celebrity’s private collections.” All of the on-air auctioneers will be licensed by their individual states.

The network added that people will get information on products up for auction through “online catalogs, high-resolution photos and live streaming videos.” Although headquartered in Tulsa, the network will carry auctions from all over the world. During lulls in the live bidding, the net will program taped material such as behind-the-scenes footage on how auctioneers go about their jobs and feature stories on collectors and the things they collect.

McKissick’s Auction Network staff includes Fontana Fitzwilson as general manager, Suzanne Meeks as exec VP, Toby DeWeese as VP of business development and Doug Turner as VP of operations.

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