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Ted Turner

Looked To Expand

With this plethora of programming at hand, Turner sought a wider outlet. He found it in late 1974 when he decided to send television signals to an orbiting communications satellite that, in turn, would relay them to dishshaped receivers owned by the cable television stations across the country. Thus on December 17, 1976, Turner's "Superstation" was born. The signal was seen from Honolulu to the Virgin Islands and throughout all of North America. "Ted's strategic thinking was sound and foresighted. He essentially was doing an end run around the networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—and their huge investment in landlines," says Jeremy Byman in his short biography, "Ted Turner, Cable Television Tycoon."

To ensure that the Braves would remain a TBS regular, Turner bought the money-losing team in 1976. Because the Braves provided guaranteed programming, Turner said he could afford to lose $5 million a year on team operations and still come out ahead.

But such subsidies did not sit well with Turner. To bolster the sagging team's fortunes and endear himself and the team to a nonplussed Atlanta, Turner became its prime cheerleader and marketing guru. Seemingly nothing was off limits when building Braves mania. Promotions included Easter egg hunts, ostrich races, free halter-top giveaways and belly dancer performances.

His work paid off when the Braves captured the first professional sports championship for Atlanta after they beat the Cleveland Indians, four games to two, in the 1995 World Series. Through the 2002 season, the team won 11 straight division titles.

Chronology

1938 Born November 19 in Cincinnati, Ohio
1976 Starts TV "SuperStation" concept, transmitting by satellite from WTBS in Atlanta to cable systems nationwide.
1977 Wins America's Cup match, world's top sailboat competition.
1980 Founded Cable News Network, the first 24-hour, all-news network, through his company, Turner Broadcasting System.
1985 Makes unsuccessful $5 billion bid for CBS
1986 Buys MGM's prized film library from Kirk Kerkorian for about
$1.5 billion, providing raw material for Superstation TBS.
1986 Stages Goodwill Games, Olympic-style competition between communist and capitalist countries, that continue in 1990, 1994 and 1998 in New York
1991 Purchases Hanna-Barbera cartoon library, which consists of 8,500 espisodes of such cartoon classics as the Flintstones and Yogi Bear, providing basis for 24-hour cartoon network
1991 Marries actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda on December 21; his third marriage
1996 Sells TBS to Time Warner Inc. for $7.6 billion and becomes vice chairman and a company director of the media conglomerate.
2000 Contributes $34 million to United states to help reduce U.S. dues to international body.
2000 Turner and Fonda announce separation; divorce becomes final in 2001
2002 Instrumental in ouster of CEO Steve Case as chairman of AOL Time Warner
2003 Announces resignation as AOL Time Warner Inc. vice chairman, effective May 2003

Awards and Accomplishments

1970 U.S. Sailing Yachtsman of the Year
1973 U.S. Sailing Yachtsman of the Year
1977 U.S. Sailing Yachtsman of the Year
1979 Outstanding Entreprenuer of the Year, Sales Marketing and Management Magazine
1979 U.S. Sailing Yachtsman of the Year
1984 Lifetime Achievement Award, N.Y. International Film and TVFestival
1988 Citizen Diplomat Award, Center for Soviet-American Dialogue

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBaseballTed Turner Biography - Brash And Abrasive, Looked To Expand, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Clashed With Baseball Hierarchy - SELECTED WRITINGS BY TURNER: