Individual 1997

Personal Award: R.E. Ted Turner

Ted Turner is a true visionary in electronic communications, who has made a profound impact in areas as diverse as television station ownership, cable and satellite distribution, entertainment and sports programming and electronic journalism. Today, Mr. Turner is vice-chairman of Time-Warner Inc. He oversees the Time-Warner cable networks division, including the former assets of Turner Broadcasting—Cable News Network, the Cartoon Network, Headline News, TBS Superstation, Turner Classic Movies, Turner Network Television, as well as Home Box Office, Cinemax and other Time-Warner entertainment holdings. This empire began modestly in 1970 with his purchase of Channel 17, an independent UHF station in Atlanta. He soon originated the “superstation” concept, making WTBS available throughout North America via satellite. He purchased the Atlanta Braves, and made them “America’s Team,” and soon made basketball’s Atlanta Hawks part of a burgeoning sports line-up. Mr. Turner changed the world of broadcast news and international diplomacy with the June 1980 launch of Cable News Network, the world’s first round-the-clock, all-news television network. The immediacy and independence of CNN accelerated the fall of international communism, and proved the power of freedom of the press as an agent of social change throughout the world. Mr. Turner has consistently combined the zeal of an entrepreneur with a passionate commitment to make the world a better place than he found it. While some disagree about his manners and his methods, there is no denying his many and lasting contributions in all forms of modern electronic media. Today, we add R.E. Turner to the select list of personal Peabody Award winners, whose singular achievements and lifetime of accomplishment set them apart as the true titans of television and radio.