Edward (Ted) Rogers was literally born into a world of mass communications. His father, Ted Sr., who died at the young age of 38 when Ted was only five years old, had invented the world’s first alternating current radio tube, the technology that made radios a commonplace fixture in Canadian homes in the 1930s.
After graduating from law school and while still articling, Ted launched Rogers Radio Broadcasting Limited, which acquired the nation’s first FM station, CHFI-FM. In 1962, he pioneered stereo broadcasting in FM with CHFI, and also founded CFTR-AM in Toronto. CHFI-FM quickly became one of Canada’s most listened-to FM radio stations, becoming the most popular and profitable FM radio station in Canada. Rogers’ interest in radio broadcasting naturally led him to the emerging world of television, and in 1967, he was awarded the cable TV licenses for areas in and around Toronto.
During the 1970s, Rogers Cable TV became Canada’s most innovative cable company. In the mid-1970s, it was the first cable company to expand past 12 channels, and specialized in adding a wider choice of programming, in particular multi-cultural television through the founding of CFMT (Channel 47). In 1979, Rogers Cable TV Limited acquired control of Canadian Cablesystems Limited, and one year later, purchased Premier Communications Limited, almost doubling Rogers’ cable subscribers and making Rogers the largest cable television company in Canada.
As the next innovation of cellular telephony came on-stream, Rogers was in the forefront once again. Rogers became the founding shareholder of Rogers Cantel Inc. (now called Rogers Wireless), which began cellular telephone service in 1985, growing to become a national cellular telephone network in Canada that successfully competes with the more established telephone companies.
The Rogers media empire expanded to print in 1994, when Rogers Communications Inc. successfully completed its offer for the shares of Maclean Hunter Limited, Canada’s leading name in consumer and trade magazine publishing. The Maclean Hunter assets were subsequently combined with Rogers’ existing radio and television operations to form Rogers Media Inc.
In September 2000, Rogers Communications Inc. acquired the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and several years later, in 2004, acquired Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome) which is the Blue Jays home venue and largest covered indoor entertainment complex in Canada. In 2001, Rogers Media acquired Sportsnet and The FAN 590 sports radio station along with 14 Northern Ontario radio stations.
Today, Rogers Communications is a formidable and innovative competitor in almost every aspect of the Canadian communications and media landscape, engaged in cellular, Digital PCS, paging and data communications through Rogers Wireless; in cable television, high-speed Internet access and video retailing through Rogers Cable Inc., and in radio and television broadcasting, tele-shopping, publishing and new media businesses through Rogers Media Inc.
Ted Rogers was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990 and was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 1994. He has been a strong supporter of Junior Achievements of Canada, and has had a significant contribution to the establishment of a communications centre at Ryerson University.