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Posts Tagged ‘Ted Rogers’
Today, we proudly unveiled a statue at Rogers Centre to honour the incredible legacy of our founder, Ted Rogers. So we’ve invited Rogers historian Ian Anthony to share some highlights from the past few decades. Over to you, Ian!
Ted’s father, Edward S. Rogers Sr., laid the foundation for a proud tradition of simplicity and speed as early as 1924. At that time, radio receiver sets involved three large separate batteries and a mass of wires. Edward S. Rogers Sr. changed all that, inventing the first radio tube in the world operating from household electric current. That meant people only needed to connect their radios to their home electricity, then they were good to go. This revolutionized the industry, and was a leap forward in home entertainment. In fact, the first Rogers Radio slogan was ‘Just Plug In ~ Then Tune In!’ It was that simple.
Ted Rogers continued along his father’s path in telecommunications. Highlights from his career include:
- Ted began in 1959 as a partner in CFTO-TV, the first private television station in Toronto;
- In 1967, Rogers Cablesystems began bringing more clear television pictures to Toronto communities;
- In 1972, Rogers Cable offered the first cable converters for Toronto – now you could leap beyond 12 channels to 19;
- Rogers Cable brought Digital Cable in 2001
- In 2002, Rogers introduced the ‘On Demand’ video service so you could see the movies and shows you wanted when you wanted;
- Seven years later, Rogers On Demand Online offered those movies and shows as web-based entertainment streaming – a first for Canada.
The dawn of the cellphone era:
Ted Rogers launched Cantel and brought cellular telephones to Canadians on Canada Day in 1985. No longer would people be tied to a landline. Cantel allowed freedom and instant wireless conversation access. This was enhanced in 1991 with digital cellular, a vast improvement over analog in clarity and distortion-free conversations. Cantel expanded to offer paging in 1988, then BlackBerry service in 1999, which gave customers email on the go. That brand later became Rogers Wireless and then simply Rogers.
Rogers was the first to bring high-speed internet access over cable lines to Canada in 1994. Much speedier than sitting around for dial-up – you could visit websites and download content in the blink of an eye. Then in June 2009, the Rogers Rocket internet stick brought super-fast surfing from a mobile device.
A long legacy of speed and innovation:
From when your great-grandparents listened to clear radio in their parlor to the conveniences offered to today’s savvy tech crowd, Rogers has always been there to provide Canadians with reliable, simple and swift communication, information, and entertainment when you want it, as fast as you can take. With that proud heritage from our founder Ted Rogers, even more is in store as Rogers keeps racing ahead.
About Ian Anthony: In his role as Corporate Historian for Rogers Communications Inc. since 1998, Ian has compiled and continues to write a detailed chronicle of the Rogers Family and company history and assists with the online corporate museum. His first published book, a biography titled Radio Wizard: Edward Samuel Rogers and the Revolution of Communications was nominated for the prestigious National Business Book Award. His first novel, Ace Run won a Book of the Year Award 2001 from BB Press in Hartford, Connecticut. He has since written a sequel titled Hunter’s Moon in addition to assorted articles, and wrote a history of Grace Church on-the-hill in Toronto titled Abiding In Faith, which will be published this summer.
Rogers has been named one of Canada’s top employers for young people, an honour that recognizes companies that offer the nation’s best benefits for younger workers.
As a Rogers employee for more than two years, I can’t say I’m surprised that Rogers is ranked among Canada’s best. I knew this was a good place to work from my first day here. I mean,our office in Toronto has a choice of either Tim Horton’s or Starbucks coffee. How awesome is that?
Ok, Ok. Coffee availability is not part of the selection criteria. The award is actually selected by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The young person category specifically looks at things like the availability of co-op or work-study programs, mentorship, training and career management programs.
While Rogers ranked highly in these categories, another element I find inspiring for young people is what I consider one of Rogers’ most appealing attributes: the company’s “entrepreneurial spirit.” It started with Ted Rogers, one of Canada’s most well-known entrepreneurs. Back in 1960, Ted took out an $85,000 loan to buy a small FM radio station. From there, he built the country’s largest cable and wireless telephone companies. To find out more about Rogers history, check out this cool virtual museum.
Ted’s entrepreneurial spirit is what started this company and as a result, it’s embedded in our culture. Even employees like me, who never had the opportunity to meet Ted, recognize that. And it shows in everything we do here. There’s something pretty awesome about working for a homegrown success story.
The other big thing is people. Ask anyone about what’s important to them in a job and they’ll tell you, it’s the people. This is a company of diverse people with big ideas and a passion for technology. And whether you love digital technology and media or you’re a geek with a passion for mobile technology and wireless, there are opportunities for every kind of person to fit in here.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out some of these videos from my fellow employees about their experience with Rogers.
Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard
What a year it’s been for us here on RedBoard.
Launched in March, we’ve published more than 100 posts, seen thousands of comments, served up hundreds of thousands of pageviews and even launched a companion blog – RedBoard Biz.
Looking back, if there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that you’re passionate about the products and services we offer. We’re happy to have been able to share our stories as well as listen to what you have to say about how we can work better together. That’s the beauty of this medium – the two-way dialogue it facilitates and the creation of a real-time record of what’s important to you.
Indeed, we’ve heard you loud and clear.
In part one of our series looking back at our favourite RedBoard moments, we asked each of our contributors to pick their favourite post of the year, as well as why they’ve chosen each. Tomorrow, we’ll post our favourite videos.
- Highlights & video from Rogers TabLife TO (Rob Manne): If you couldn’t make it to our conference here at Rogers HQ in Toronto, you can experience every minute thanks to the wonders of Internet video.
- Let’s talk: Rogers unwraps RedBoard blog (Keith McArthur): The post that started it all, detailing what this site would be all about and getting your thoughts on what you want to discuss on RedBoard.
- Txting in a time of crisis: Answering the call for help (Miranda MacDonald): Rogers customers regularly open their wallets to help those in need by donating to important causes via their mobile phone. This post gave an overview of mobile giving as well as provided an update our Haitian relief efforts.
- Rogers Super Sports Pak: Every NFL snap in HD plus hockey, basketball and more (Richard Bloom): Is there anything better than watching the big game on a big screen with buddies? Heading into the 2010 NFL season, we launched some sweet new sports programming, including my personal fave: NFL RedZone.
- Rogers turns 50 today and we’re celebrating with a contest! (Stacey Fowler): How did we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our founder Ted Rogers’ purchase of a fledgling FM radio station and transforming into the company we know today? By getting your thoughts on how technology has changed your life for the better – and giving away a Wi-Fi + 3G 32GB iPad.
Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.
Today marks a major milestone for Rogers. On September 30, 1960, Ted Rogers purchased a fledgling FM radio station with an $85,000 loan. His vision and passion built a business that is now a national telecommunications and media powerhouse with the fastest and most reliable network, 53 radio stations, over-the-air and specialty television stations, a stable of magazines, and the country’s only Major League Baseball team, the Blue Jays.
Throughout these 50 years, Rogers has also been a company of many firsts. We were the first cable company in North America to launch commercial high-speed Internet service. We were also the first to launch HSPA+ wireless network technology in North America. Rogers also launched the first BlackBerry service in the world, and we were the first to bring Android phones and Wi-Fi + 3G netbooks to Canada.
We’re celebrating this milestone with a contest for our RedBoard readers: Just tell us in the comments section of this post, in 100 words or less, how technology has changed your life for the better and you could win a Wi-Fi + 3G 32GB iPad.
Stacey Fowler is a regular contributor to RedBoard.
Contest closes at 2:30 p.m. ET on October 1, 2010. Open to residents of Canada who are 18 years or older, excluding residents of Quebec. To enter, tell us in 100 words or less, on the RedBoard blog, how technology has changed your life for the better. Prize: one (1) Wi-Fi + 3G 32GB iPad valued at $779 to be won. One entry/person. Odds of winning depend on the quality of the post and the number of eligible entries. Mathematical skill-testing question to be correctly answered to win. No Purchase Necessary. Full rules here.
Update (October 1, 3:48 p.m.): The entry period for our Rogers 50th Anniversary contest has closed – we had a blast reading how technology has changed your lives for the better in so many different ways. Well done!
We had to narrow it down to the top five entries, and the winner was chosen from that pool of five by random draw.
Here are the four runners-up who get an honourable mention:
Technology has changed my life for the better in so many different ways. I thought I would express my love for technology in a poem. I hope you enjoy:
so C ial Networking
H i Speed Internet
iPho N e
Rogers O n Demand
L CD TV
Y fi (wifi)
That “Rogers On Demand” is a total life saver. I mean it…especially when 24 was on and you wanted to rewatch an episode…5 times!!!
Without technology, I’d have to actually hand write this comment and mail it in… then I’d have to wait 6-8 weeks to see if I won or not. Technology is the best!
I have 4 kids playing house league hockey and coach a couple of the teams. I use my Blackberry for everything from tracking ice times, checking web sites and sending out team e-mails in real time to calling my wife to find out what is happening at the rink I can’t get to. Having the technology to do everything at the rink gives me back time to spend with the kids.
When I was young, I had anger problems. My parents took me to tons of specialists and I ended up getting myself in a lot of trouble growing up. Eventually I ended up in a group home and one of the staff members there introduced me to computers. I immediately latched on. They gave me a focus. This focus grew and grew as more and more technology came out. I was able to change my life for the better and accomplish my Business degree and now I work around technology selling it and passing my passion and knowledge to others.
And here is our winning entry! (Jay, we will get in touch with you via email to arrange delivery):
I remember when calendars where tethered to kitchen walls, contact information to little black books, and communications to paper, pen and telephones. I now carry all that (enhanced) functionality in my pocket and share it with the people I need to. Technology helps set me free.
As summer officially winds down, it was 25 years ago this summer that Cantel (later known as Rogers Wireless) began offering cellular service in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Oshawa – the foundation for what would soon become the world’s longest contiguous cellular network (Windsor through Quebec City) only a short time later, and the wireless network we know today.
Most of us can’t imagine a world without our cell phone. For many, it’s the first thing they check when they wake up and the last thing they look at before bed.
But it all began with just a few thousand subscribers back in 1985 using what was then a brand-new – and unproven – technology.
Bob Berner, Rogers Executive Vice President Network and Chief Technology Officer, joined Cantel as employee number 41 a few months before the Canada Day launch in 1985.
I sat down with him to look back at the historic event. Here are the highlights from our conversation.
Can you describe what it was like to work at Cantel in 1985 as the network was launching?
It was an exciting and risky proposition because nobody at that time had predicted the success of the industry. Everybody who came to the company in those days was taking a big risk. Cantel – which got its license in 1983 and started deploying networks in 1985 – had big aspirations and attracted people to the business who actually thought it there was huge potential for growth. From an employee standpoint, it was great fun. It was a young organization and people took the risk of coming here without knowing how it would turn out.
We never thought that Cantel would be as big as we became. We predicted that there were going to be 10,000-15,000 customers in the first year when the telephone companies were only predicting a couple of thousand. So we built our networks with much more capacity than the telephone companies. Immediately on launch, they had way more customers than they could handle and they had a terrible mess. Cantel was in a much better situation.
Looking back, we all like to poke fun at how large and clunky the phones were. I can’t seem to get Michael Douglas in Wall Street out of my head. What was your first phone like?
My first phone was a Mitsubishi car phone. It was on a cradle on the dashboard with the amplifier in the trunk and the antenna installed on the roof. Most phones we sold in the early days were car phones and had to be installed – they cost between $2,500 and $3,500 all in. There was also a bag phone version you could get, which was essentially a car phone in a satchel. Transportable phones soon became available – they were full-power, 3-Watt phones with a big battery and carrying handle attached – sort of like an army radio. The first handheld portable phone we sold was the Motorola 5000. That was an incredible piece of technology for the time and they sold for about $5,500 in Canada –that was real money back then! These phones now seem so large and clunky compared to what we are accustomed to today, but were they ever durable!
Who were the Cantel customers in 1985?
The earliest adopters are similar in any technology industry: they’re high income people who use the service as a convenience, plus forward-looking enterprise customers who believed that being connected will provide advantages in sales or operations over their competitors. Our first customers were leading-edge consumers ‘of means’ who were trend setters as well as forward-looking business customers.
What was the perception of the cell phone industry when it first launched? Were there concerns this thing wouldn’t catch on?
Well, it was initially broadly viewed as a niche business with limited growth potential. It was a whole new paradigm: paying per call. It was very uncertain whether very many people would pay per call in North America and pay a lot of money for their device. So if you take a look at what happened to really accelerate penetration in the marketplace, the industry began to subsidize handsets in order to reduce the price of entry, and to create price plans that had buckets of minutes to make the service cost more predictable.
What role did Ted Rogers play in the launch?
Ted was always the catalyst to pretty much everything. Big picture thinker, he was among the first to recognize the potential of wireless. And he always thought of the tactical stuff too. For example, he recognized that we should quickly build in the Muskoka cottage country north of Toronto. Everyone thought he was way out there, but he said: ‘Look, this is where the executives and the decision makers have their cottages. Those people are managers and executives and owners of companies, who will make business decisions based on how they perceive the value of the product. And if it works in the places they go, then they’ll want their people to use the service — because it’s all about mobility and coverage.’ Based on Ted’s long experience in Radio, he knew that to be successful, coverage and quality of signal were everything.
What has been the one striking change or thing that occurred over the past 25 years in the wireless industry?
The impact of digitization has been enormous. We wouldn’t have had the radio spectrum capacity to handle this number of customers in urban markets without digitization. Based on a country or a region, the frequencies may change but the fundamental technology becomes global in scale. That’s driven entire levels of economic growth just in creating the technology, let alone using the technology. It’s quite remarkable.
What was your first cell phone? Were you on the Cantel network back in 1985? Tell us your story.
Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.
To mark the holiday, we asked our colleagues here at Rogers a simple question: In 140 characters or less, what does Canada means to you?
The response was fantastic: from personal anecdotes and memories to observations about diversity and freedom, our co-workers clearly share our founder’s passion for Canada and her future.
Here’s a snapshot of the submissions:
“Canada is full of my favourite things: Canadians.” – Stephanie M., Rogers Digital Media, Toronto, ON.
“We waited patiently for over 3 years to move to Canada & have never looked back. One day we will celebrate Canada Day as Canadian citizens.” – Amy M., Retail Sales, Kitchener, ON.
“Canada means freedom, diversity & comfort. I am lucky to have been born in this wonderful country, a place that welcomes the war torn & weary.” – Lisa S., Star 98.3, Chilliwack, BC.
“It is my home; a safe place where my healthcare is assured, my right to marry my same-sex partner is granted and my poutine is delicious!” – Daryl B., Human Resources, Toronto, ON.
“After traveling around the world, for me Canada is Home Sweet Home.” – Andrew J., Rogers Publishing, Toronto, ON.
“A place where the beauty of nature can co-exist with the diaspora of multi-cultured inhabitants and naturalized individuals under one banner, one flag, one country. I am Canadian. Or as I say each day: I’m Canuck from the east coast, and I love this land which was made for you and me! Peace.” – Joanne C., Western Region Facilities, Burnaby, BC.
“Diversity, acceptance of cultures, freedom, prosperity, peace, beauty, desire to help others, being proud. But most of all … HOME.” – Ming L., Rogers Digital Media, Toronto, ON.
“Canada means to me a land of the free. Free and liberty to worship, speak, choose, from oppression, democracy and most of all free to live. A home that I love to come back to.” – Gloria S., Rogers Cable, Brampton, ON.
“It means being able to walk downtown in any province from sea to sea and travel the world through the diverse ethnic districts and through the many diverse Canadians that make up this land! Where else could you ride the elevator with the whole world?” – Lorena F., Corporate Communications, Toronto, ON.
“From wildness to metropolitans, from nature to science and technology, from individual pursuits to multi-cultures coming together – joined by a common thread of modern values, hockey and a balanced sense of when to party and when to work.” – Todd S., Customer Care, Toronto, ON.
On behalf of all of us here at Rogers, happy Canada Day – whether you’re celebrating with friends, fireworks or texting from the dock.
Now it’s your turn. In 140 characters or less, what does Canada mean to you?
Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.