They’re pissing on Ted’s legacy.

Did you know that a company that started business with giving cheap FM radios to all the advertising agencies in Toronto is today worth billions? The company was the brain child of the late Ted Rogers. He started with a FM radio station that nobody else wanted in the 1960s.

Ted was a nice guy. He was the kind of person that you were inclined to help when he asked for something. After he got his radio station into the black, he thought cable television might be a comer. He branched out. He got our mutual friend, a senator, who was president of the liberal party at the time to pressure me into producing some programming for his free cable channels. Ted was always the entrepreneur. The senator and I laughed about idea but we told Ted, sure.

Luckily, I got some good tips from my brother who was a producer/director for the CBC at the time. I was still surprised by the rudimentary switcher in Ted’s makeshift studio on Adelaide Street. At least it had three black and white cameras, even if I only had two camera operators. We produced some good shows on Canadian politics, with me calling the shots, working that switcher and Ted cycled the taped shows through cable operations across Canada.

Ted’s next venture was cell phones. I traded in my Bell radio telephone for one of his first cell phones in my car. It left me with room in the trunk for luggage when needed. And I had no compunctions about calling on Ted’s people for loan of a telephone bank of cell phones when needed for a political event.

Today, Ted’s empire includes sports venues, broadcast channels, national telephone networks, cabled cities and faceless executives. It has lost the charm and personality of the guy that created it. I have no idea who to call at Rogers today. The company is fronted by a hopeless maze of cold, uncaring call centres that are being phased out because of covid-19. What will replace these call centres, we are not sure. It is now an impersonal, unlikeable company that has lost its charm and is only known for its corporate greed. The family should be ashamed of what they have done to Ted’s legacy.

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Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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