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This Month in Business History

CNN Launched 6/1/1980

Rachel Doepker, Intern
March 2009

          Overview       Interesting Facts
Print Resources       Internet Resources


When the network debuted on June 1, the initial channel subscribers only numbered 1.7 million, a number well below the minimum needed to cover operating costs1. Despite the rough start and financial struggles, Ted Turner and his news empire quickly became recognized as a tenacious venture, appearing with the headline "Ted Turner Shakes Up the Networks", just two years after CNN's launch on the August 9, 1982 issue of Time Magazine2.


CNN Center Atlanta, GA
Courtesy of Josh Hallett
(Creative Commons License)

Three years later, due to the increasing saturation of cable in homes, the number of households with access to CNN grew to over 33 million viewers; 20 percent of U.S. homes with televisions3. Now accessible by over 89 million homes in the United States and 160 million households worldwide.4, CNN has become a household name and a global organization.

Initial domestic news bureaus existed in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco5 in addition to the headquarters in Atlanta, but as of 2007 the number of bureaus has grown to a total of 10 domestic and 30 international sites6 with plans for 10 additional domestic locations7.

Founded by television mogul Ted Turner nearly three decades ago, CNN has firmly established itself as "The Most Trusted Name in News", round the clock and worldwide.

Interesting Facts:

In the early days of the channel, it was called the 'Chicken Noodle Network' due to financial losses and by critics who believed the station would not last. External Link

Ted Turner, founder of CNN, also founded Turner Broadcasting System which has spawned a number of other popular domestic and international television stations: TBS, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, TNT and TruTv. External Link

If you have any further questions, please Ask A Librarian.

Print Resources

Flournoy, D.M. & Stewart, R. K. CNN: Making news in the global market. Bedfordshire, U.K.: University of Luton Press, 1997.
LC Call Number: PN 4888.T4 F59 1997
Catalog Record: 98131183

Küng-Shankleman, L. Inside the BBC and CNN: managing media organisations. London, U.K.: Routledge, 2000.
LC Call Number: HE 8689.9.G7 K86 2000
Catalog Record: 711147

Schonfeld, R. Me and Ted against the world: the unauthorized story of the founding of CNN. New York, NY: Cliff Street, 2001.
LC Call Number: PN 4888.T4 S37 2001
Catalog Record: 2001269553

Internet Resources

CNN Worldwide Fact Sheet (2016). Turner Broadcasting System.
Retrieved January 13, 2016 from External Link

Houston to get new CNN news bureau (2008, August 14). Houston Business Journal.
Retrieved February 25, 2009 from External Link

Ted Turner (1982, August 9). Time Magazine cover photo.
Retrieved February 26, 2009 from,16641,19820809,00.html External Link

Terrible Ted vs. the Networks (1980, June 9). Time Magazine.
Retrieved February 25, 2009 from,9171,952680,00.html External Link

This Day in History 1980: CNN Launches. (2009). The History Channel.
Retrieved February 25, 2009 from External Link

 1. Küng-Shankleman, p. 80

 2. Time Magazine cover, August 9, 1982

 3. Flournoy & Stewart, p. 2

 4. CNN Launches, External Link

 5. Terrible Ted vs. the Networks, Time Magazine, 1980, June 9

 6. CNN International Bureaus, External Link

 7. Houston to get new CNN new bureau, Houston Business Journal

Last updated: 03/05/2016

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