Many people know of the Turner name though his work developing his media empire, Turner Broadcasting. But many people do not know what drove this man to becoming one of the most visionary media leaders of our time. I had the opportunity to talk to Ted this past weekend at his annual event, The Captain Planet Foundation Annual Gala. Not only was I surprised at Ted’s work with Turner Broadcasting but I couldn’t believe that he had also created the environmental cartoon series Captain Planet, which inspired him to start his charitable foundation “The Captain Planet Foundation.”
Ted Turner took over his father’s advertising business (focused on billboards) after his father committed suicide. At the time, Ted was only 24 years old. Ted decided that the business was a great avenue to get a healthy revenue stream and that he would use the excess capital to invest in different areas of media. Turner next bought a series of radio stations in the South. After a few years of turing those into a healthy profit, he sold them to buy his first TV station in Atlanta, GA. From here Turner made a deal with some students from MIT and got his programming on one of the first satellites and the rest is history.
Deciding he wanted to give back, Ted Turner established the Captain Planet Foundation. He felt that though all his success, he wanted give back to the community. His charity and TV program, Captain Planet, were his way of helping future generations understand the importance of a clean environment. His charity has helped countless people and his TV show became the voice of a younger generation.
Ted Turner has helped transform the way we watch media. He is a great example of someone who created an empire and decided to give back to the community.