An honored and accomplished Jackson High School graduate who has distinguished himself in the fields of electronic media and communications will serve as the toastmaster for the 137th Reunion and Program of the Jackson High School (JHS) Alumni Association this Saturday evening, May 25.
Rodney Warner, a 1953 JHS grad whose class in observing its 60th-year anniversary will have the honor of being toastmaster for the 2013 Reunion and Program, which is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. in the Jackson Middle School auditorium.
Warner, although he now lives in Florida, has been a steadfast supporter and participant in the JHS Alumni events over the years. He served as toastmaster in 1993 and in 2003 delivered the toast for the Class of 1953 on its 50th-year anniversary. He attained one of the school district’s highest honors when he was inducted into the Jackson Schools’ Hall of Honor in 1994.
Warner will introduce other speakers who will be giving toasts this year: Mona Hutchinson Flax (Class of 1963), Kenny Valentine (Class of 1973) and Megan Malone (Class of 1988).
Other highlights of the program will be live music, including selections by a Dixieland-style band, the roll call of classes, the presentation of a scholarship, and the presentation of the class key from the president of the JHS Class of 2012 to the president of the JHS Class of 2013 and comments by JHS Alumni Association President Vicki Williams and Jackson Superintendent of Schools Phil Howard.
About Rodney Warner
Warner is the son of the late Rachel and Jack Warner. Rachel was a teacher in the Jackson Schools and Jack was a county commissioner.
At JHS, Rodney was president of the Class of 1953, editor of The Osky Wow, played varsity basketball, and was in the marching and concert bands among other activities.
His media career began before he was out of high school in 1952 at radio stations WKOV in Wellston, and at WLMJ in Jackson, While attending Ohio Wesleyan University, from where he graduated in 1957, he became general manager of the university radio station.
He also worked as announcer at WBNS Radio in Columbus — along with fellow 1953 JHS alumni Dean Lewis while earning his masters degree, which he received in 1961 at Ohio State University.
After completing service with the U.S. Air Force with rank of captain, Warner, in 1962, joined the management of WLW-C TV, Channel 4 in Columbus. This station was the predecessor to the current Channel 4, WCMH-TV.
In 1970, he was recruited to Storer Communications, then the nation’s largest owner of radio and television stations, initially at WJW-TV, Cleveland, then to a vice president of the company’s cable division.
Forming his own company in 1981, The R Corp, he began investing and consulting in electronic media. Separately, he founded Wireless Cable of Florida, and was president of Wireless Telecommunications Inc. Both companies aggregated spectrum licenses that were then sold to Sprint and others.
His work meant international travel and business relationships with CBS, the National Basketball Players Association, TV Guide, Merrill Lynch, Paramount, MGM, Universal Studios, and others. While in London and Belfast, he often side-tripped to Wales to visit his Rees relatives near Blaengarw.
The cable industry’s “Pioneer” honorary inducted Warner for “outstanding contributions to the development of the cable industry.” His career included being a founding board member of C-SPAN, cable’s public affairs channel, and chair of the HBO National Affiliates Committee, among other industry service.
He also wrote for trade publications and spoke to conventions and seminars, most recently for the Federal Highway Administration.
In Sarasota, Warner is on the Government Issues Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, on the advisory committee to the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which prioritizes federal and state monies to relieve congestion and improve mobility, and council chair of the downtown First United Methodist Church.
Warner lives with his wife of 53 years, Victoria, who is originally from New Philadelphia, Ohio, in Sarasota, Florida. They have three adult children (Melissa, Tyson, and Amanda), and one granddaughter (Bryn).
During Jackson’s Alumni Weekend, as always, you will find him early at McDonald’s over a coffee catching up with Jack Coyan and the Jackson regulars there, Sunday brunch at Bob Evans Restaurant with the Class of 53, and worship at the Christ United Methodist Church of Jackson.