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Ted Turner

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Ted Turner

Robert Edward Turner, most known as Ted Turner is one of the most important media magnates. He started with a small family business and made his way into big international projects such as CNN, MGM and TNT. For years he has been turning small companies into leading empires. These reasons make him the best and most accurate media magnate.

This important figure was born on November 19, 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father, Robert Edward Turner Jr, was known as Ed. While Ed Turner served in the Navy during World War II, the family followed him to his Gulf Coast post; every member went, except Ted who was left behind in a boarding school in Cincinnati. When Ted was nine, the family moved to Savannah, Georgia, where Ted’s father, Ed, purchased a small billboard company he renamed Turner Advertising. During his early years Ted attended Georgia Military Academy, near Atlanta. Ed insisted in Ted’s working experience, therefore he began to work from an early age, learning every aspect of the outdoor advertising business, by the end of his teens he had become an effective salesman. Later on he went to Brown University where he was suspended during two occasions for breaking dormitory rules, but due to his grades and better behavior he received his degree. After graduation he returned to Georgia and very soon he got married. His first marriage didn’t last long and besides that deception he had to deal with his sister’s death after a long painful illness. Ted decided to focus on his work and his father promoted him as the manager of his company and future owner after his death.

He worked day and night, struggling at first but he stabilized the business and built a large fortune. By the end of the decade, Turner Advertising was the largest billboard company in the Southeast but he realized he needed advertisement in television, radio or other media so he saw opportunities in broadcasting. Three major networks dominated television business; only the largest cities could support a fourth or fifth one. After investing in some radio stations, Turner purchased a UHF (new range of Ultra-High Frequencies) station in Atlanta and changed the name of his firm to Turner Communications Group and after that he renamed the station WTCG. He soon began buying old movies, TV shows and promoting his business.

In the next years Turner bought the Atlanta Braves baseball team, and began broadcasting its games live. By the end of the year he was also broadcasting games of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. The combination of sports and old movies gave him great success. Turner renamed his satellite channel WTBS (Turner Broadcasting System). He was achieving all his goals but his ambitious venture was to have twenty-four hours of all news channels. He made his way to create and purchase his Cable News Network (CNN) and later on CNN Headline News. Eight years later, Turner began another station, Turner Network Television (TNT is currently viewed in over 61 million homes across America).
By this time he was a billionaire with a huge interest in deploying his wealth in behalf of the worthy causes, therefore he founded the Better World Society to fight against the nuclear weapons. In 1886, Turner purchased MGM Entertainment Company but unexpectedly he sold it back to his previous owner and only kept the studio’s film library. This library within the years made a fortune. Turner was proving the world how powerful his creations where, but mostly CNN, broadcasting every single piece of news there was. Thus, in 1889, Time magazine named Ted Turner its “Man of the Year”.

In August 1990, he launched a network that stretched across the Southeast called SportSouth, providing coverage of Atlanta Braves baseball and Atlanta Hawks basketball team. Eventually he sold the network to FOX Sports but in 1996 he finalized a deal with Time Warner who gave him the ownership of TBS and everything under it. Later on he created more foundations, quoting that 'A billion's a good round number' and that’s why he will donate one by the next decade to the United Nations. He has also created more known foundations, such as Turners Foundation which is a private, independent family foundation committed to preventing damage to the natural systems - water, air, and land - on which all life depends or the Nuclear Threat Initiative that is an operational organization actively engaged in developing and implementing projects that bring new strategies, new partnerships and effective action to reduce the dangers from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Today, Ted Turner is America’s largest private landowner, owning two million acres, greater than land areas of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. He owns most of the lands in America but, that doesn’t make him a selfish or shallow men, after his donation to the United Nations, he created the United Nations Foundation which builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems. In 2006 Turner received the Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute.

For Ted Turner “life is just a game and money is how we keep score”, his success and his only failing selling MGM, prove that he is a businessman that knows how to confront problems. His favorite quote is “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise”, he never gives up and that’s why he is the most successful media magnate.



• Academy of Achievement (1996). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from

• Interactive Media Lab (1982). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from

• Los Angeles Times (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from

• Turner Foundation (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from

• CNN (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from

• TNT (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from

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