Batten, Frank 1927-

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BATTEN, Frank 1927-

PERSONAL: Born February 11, 1927, in Norfolk, VA; son of Frank and Dorothy (Martin) Batten; married Jane Neal Parke; children: Frank, Mary, Dorothy. Education: Culver Military Academy, 1945; University of Virgina, A.B., 1950; Harvard University, M.B.A., 1952.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Landmark Communications Inc., 150 West Brambleton Ave., Norfolk, VA 23510-2018.

CAREER: Norfolk Newspapers Inc., assistant secretary-treasurer, 1952; Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA, reporter, vice president, 1953, publisher, 1954—; Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, VA, advertisement salesman, 1952, vice president, 1953, publisher, 1954—; KLASTV, chairman; Landmark Communications, chairman of the board, 1967-97, chairman of executive committee, 1998, retired, 1998; Associated Press, second vice chairman, 1977-79, first vice chairman, 1979-81, chairman of the board, 1982-87; Weather Channel, founder, 1982; Telecable, founder; Trader Publishing Company, cofounder with Cox Enterprises; Greensboro News & Record, Greensboro, NC, chairman; Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA, chairman; Capital-Gazette Communications Inc., Annapolis, MD, director. Virginia State Council for Higher Education, former vice chairman. Military service: U.S. Merchant Marines, World War II.

MEMBER: Newspaper Association of America (Director).

AWARDS, HONORS: Citizen Award, Norfolk, VA, 1966; Alumni Achievement Award, Harvard Business School, 1998.


(With Jeffrey L. Cruikshank) The Weather Channel:The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon, Harvard Business School Press (Boston, MA), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Frank Batten began his career in the newspaper industry with the family owned newspapers the Norfolk Ledger-Star and the Virginia-Pilot. He began as a copyboy at the age of thirteen, and by the time he was twenty-seven he had become publisher of the two newspapers. Starting in 1964 and over the following years Batten bought or began ten daily newspapers, over one hundred non-daily newspapers and magazines, and many cable television and radio stations. In 1967 he combined all his holdings under the name Landmark Communications, in which he was chairman until 1998. In 1982 Batten founded the Weather Channel, which is seen in over eighty million homes in the United States.

In The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon Batten tells the story of the creation of the Weather Channel, which began as an idea of Good Morning America weatherman John Coleman. Batten discusses the difficulties getting funding and interest to start the Weather Channel, the rough first years, problems that occurred along the way, and what happens at the Weather Channel. "Batten's book offers valuable business lessons that many entrepreneurs can learn from," concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer.



Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, "Tube Twosome," p. 162; April 15, 2002, review of The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon, p. 55.

Variety, June 17, 2002, Thomas M. Kostigen, "Forecast Calls for Showers of Cash," p. 33.

Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2002, Paula Throckmorton School, "Cold Fronts with Warm Reception," p. D7.


Culver, (July 18, 2002), "Frank Batten Biography."

Harvard Business Online, http://www.harvardbusiness (July 18, 2002), review of The Weather Channel.

HBS Working Knowledge, http://www.hbsworking, Amy Blitz, "Frank Batten: Thriving on Challenge."

I Want Media, (July 18, 2002), "Frank Batten: 'The Weather Channel's Success is Due to a Brilliant Concept for Serving a Human Need.'"

Old Dominion University, (July 18, 2002), "Frank Batten."

University of Virginia Web site, http://www.virginia. edu/ (July 18, 2002), Carol Wood, "Entrepreneurial Spirit Continues to Feed Frank Batten's Success."*