Ted Rogers, founder and CEO of media, cable and wireless giant Rogers Communications Inc., which counts Canada's largest magazine business among its assets, died at 12:05 a.m. this morning at his Toronto home. He was 75.
Rogers, who will likely be remembered for bold risk-taking and as a confrontational, aggressive micromanager, founded the company in 1960 when he purchased CHFI, Toronto's first FM radio station. Over the years, he built a diverse and extensive portfolio that today includes Internet service, cable, wireless, television and radio stations, magazines, websites and the Toronto Blue Jays.
"His major contribution has been to recognize that you need to always evolve as a company, and in terms of technology," journalist and biographer Caroline Van Hasselt, who wrote High Wire Act: Ted Rogers and the Empire that Debt Built, told CBC.
Rogers Communications entered the magazine business on Apr. 7, 1994, when it purchased Maclean-Hunter in a $3-billion deal that included 70 consumer and b-to-b titles—Maclean's, Chatelaine, L'actualité and Flare among them—as well as digital properties and directories.
Many suspected Rogers would sell the magazines, but it never happened. Instead, a separate division, Rogers Publishing Ltd., was created under the larger Rogers Media Inc. banner. "He was the rare communications titan to solve the convergence conundrum, combining media content and transmission in a single corporate entity," writes Gordon Pitts in the Globe and Mail.
Because Rogers had purchased Maclean Hunter's cable assets, the sale had to be approved by the CRTC. In making his case, Rogers argued that Canada needed its own large multimedia company to ensure that foreign giants such as Time Warner wouldn't dominate the Canadian market.
"If we don't create our own strong multimedia and technology companies, Canadians will lose control of the means to describe themselves," he stated at the time.