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November 09, 2009 21:32 ET

Peter Storer, Broadcaster and Philanthropist, Dies at 81

SARATOGA, WY--(Marketwire - November 9, 2009) - Peter Storer, a noted leader in the radio, television and cable industry and longtime philanthropist, died Sunday, November 8, at his home in Saratoga, Wyoming after a lengthy battle with cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. He was 81.

Peter Storer was a well-known and widely respected figure in the media industry. Following in the footsteps of his father, broadcast pioneer, George B. Storer, Peter grew the family's company into the fourth largest multiple system cable operator in the country. He was also a recognized leader in the television industry. He served several terms on the National Association of Broadcasters board and was Chairman of the Television Board in the early 1970s. Additionally, Mr. Storer was instrumental in the founding of the Television Information Office, an industry research organization. He was inducted into the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Management Hall of Fame in 2006.

Born Peter Francis Storer in Toledo, Ohio in 1928, he was the third of four sons of Mary Perley and George B. Storer. Mr. Storer grew up in Michigan where he attended the Cranbrook School and the University of Michigan. In 1951, he graduated from the University of Miami where he met his future wife, Virginia Parker.

His career in broadcasting began at WJBK-TV in Detroit, a Storer Broadcasting Company television station owned by his father. He also worked for CBS Radio, but he returned to the family business as General Sales Manager at WJW-TV in Cleveland. Later, he was named General Manager of the original Storer Broadcasting station, WSPD (now WTVG) in Toledo. In 1960, Mr. Storer opened one of the first national TV representative firms, Storer TV Sales, in New York City. After heading STS for seven years, he became Executive Vice President of the broadcasting company and moved to Miami, Florida. Mr. Storer was named CEO after his father's death in 1975 and guided the company through a period of tremendous growth. Under his leadership, the company expanded into the emerging cable industry and changed its name from Storer Broadcasting to Storer Communications. In the mid-1970s, he also managed the operation of Storer subsidiary, the Boston Garden Corporation, until its sale to the Jacobs Brothers in 1975. By 1985, in addition to its seven television stations, Storer Communications held franchises to provide cable television services to more than 500 communities in 18 states, making it one of the largest multiple system cable operators in the country. It also became a target for takeover, and in 1986, Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts acquired the company in a leveraged buyout. Mr. Storer stepped down as CEO at the age of 57.

Bill Michaels, former Chairman of Storer Communications with whom Mr. Storer worked for many years, recently remarked how hiring the son of the founder could have made for a difficult relationship, but said Pete "was a great partner and always a joy to work with."

Retirement allowed Mr. Storer and his wife, Ginny, to pursue their favorite activities of fishing, hunting and golfing near their homes in Saratoga, Wyoming and Islamorada, Florida and in many locations around the world. Mr. Storer continued to serve as President of the George B. Storer Foundation, a private foundation established by his father that has contributed to many medical, environmental and educational non-profit organizations throughout the United States. Fly fishing was one of Mr. Storer's great loves and his involvement with various conservation groups was well known throughout the West. According to Charles Gauvin, President of Trout Unlimited, "Under Peter's leadership, the Storer Foundation helped rewrite the playbook for conservation campaigns long before they became a priority for some of the larger foundations."

In addition to his generous grants, Mr. Storer gave unselfishly of his time. He was a founding board member of both the Wyoming Community Foundation and the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy; he helped establish the Wyoming Water Project at Trout Unlimited and served on TU's national board; he also helped lead the effort to build the Platte Valley Community Center and supported many other projects in the communities where he lived. In 2008, he was honored by the Wyoming Community Foundation with the Newell B. Sargent Spirit of Philanthropy Award, an honor given biennially to an individual who has demonstrated philanthropic leadership and an extraordinary personal commitment to preserving and enhancing the quality of life for Wyoming citizens.

Mr. Storer is survived by two brothers, Jim and Robert; his four children, Peter Jr. and his wife, Jean, Leslie Smith, Elizabeth Storer, and Linda Anderson and her husband, John; four granddaughters, Megan Smith, Kimberly Storer Kryder, Lindsay Smith and Kelly Storer. Adrienne Reese, Jennifer Green and Scott and Greg Fassett are also step-grandchildren. His brother, George, and his beloved wife, Ginny, predeceased him. The birth of his first great-grandchild is imminent.

Services will be held at 3:30 pm Saturday, November 14, at the Platte Valley Community Center in Saratoga; a reception will follow at Peter and Ginny's nearby home, Riverbend. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Platte Valley Community Center or the Corbett Medical Center, both of Saratoga, WY, or Trout Unlimited.

Contact Information

  • For more information contact:

    Elizabeth Storer
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    Peter Storer, Jr.
    President, StorerTV
    Email Contact