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Frank Batten

Born: 11-Feb-1927
Birthplace: Norfolk, VA
Died: 10-Sep-2009
Location of death: Norfolk, VA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Publisher

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder, The Weather Channel

Military service: US Merchant Marine (1945-47)

His father dying while he was an infant, Frank Batten was raised by his uncle, Samuel L. Slover, publisher of the Virginian-Pilot. While in school Batten worked as copyboy at the paper, and upon the death of his uncle, catapulted unprepared to become publisher. After mastering that business, he founded a local cable system, TeleCable, building it from the ground up. In 1967 Norfolk Newspapers was renamed Landmark Communications, and it began acquiring newspapers and a television station, KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. In 1982 he founded The Weather Channel, which was not an immediate success but became a staple on every cable system in the nation. TeleCable was spun off in 1984, eventually being sold to TCI. Batten turned the reins over to his son in 1998, but remained active as a consultant with the company. According to Forbes in 2008, his estimated net worth was $2.3B. In the last decade of his life Batten made very large philanthropic contributions to the universities to which he and his family had been associated.

Father: Frank Batten (bank auditor, d. 1928)
Mother: Dorothy Martin
Wife: Jane Parke (secretary, m. 1957, until his death, one son, two daughters)
Son: Frank Batten, Jr.
Daughter: Betsy ("Maitri Leela Bavana")
Daughter: Dorothy

    High School: Culver Military Academy (1945)
    University: BA, University of Virginia (1947-50)
    University: MBA, Harvard Business School (1952)
    Administrator: Rector, Old Dominion University
    Administrator: Trustee, College of William and Mary
    Administrator: Trustee, Hollins College

    The Weather Channel Founder (1982)
    Landmark Communications Founder and Chairman (1967-98)
    TeleCable Founder (1964-95)
    The Virginian-Pilot Publisher (1954-78)
    Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch Publisher (1954-78)
    Associated Press Chairman (1982-87)
    Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
    Norfolk Chamber of Commerce President (1961)
    Surgery laryngectomy (1979)


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