Tom Stoner, American Tower Corp. co-founder with Steve Dodge passes

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator


TWO INDUSTRY ICONS AT REST – Tom Stoner, at left, and Steve Dodge are seen here on Stoner’s sailboat in this undated photo from the mid-1990s. Stoner passed away on October 19, 2023. Both men created American Radio Systems after selling 96 stations to CBS for $2.6 billion. Just prior to the sale, they had co-founded American Tower Corp. Dodge, sadly, passed away in 2019 after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in Florida.

Memorial services are being planned for Thomas “Tom” Stoner, 88, who died on October 19, 2023. The well-respected serial entrepreneur and philanthropist built Stoner Broadcasting and played a vital role in creating American Radio Systems (ARS) in 1993 with the late Steve Dodge.

Thomas "Tom" Stoner

Thomas “Tom” Stoner

ARS began with 16 stations in seven markets. They took the opportunity afforded by the passage of the Telecom Act of 1996 to grow ARS into radio’s fourth-largest company.

ARS rolled up 96 stations, and in 1998, ARS was sold to CBS Corp. for $2.6 billion, a then-record price in the radio industry.

Several years before the sale, Stoner and Dodge decided there were opportunities to roll up the tower business and formed American Tower Corp., initially as a subsidiary of ARS.

Dodge passed away in 2019 following a tragic bicycle accident in Bonita Springs, FL.

Stoner grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. He had an intellectual rigor seeded in the Cranbrook School, where he built his first crystal radio set, and then in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He loved living in Annapolis, MD, and sailing the Chesapeake Bay.

He turned his attention to politics, becoming a statesman during the latter half of the Cold War and co-creating the Conflict Clinic. He served to protect his beloved Chesapeake Bay, and then he co-founded Nature Sacred, a foundation devoted to fostering healing and human connection in nature.

He delighted in art, was a published author, and took up croquet and piano at age 70.

Stoner is survived by his wife of 50 years, Kitty, along with their four children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

“I had many bosses in my radio career, but Tom and Stoner Broadcasting were the best. I will miss him greatly, said Peter McLane, National Program Director Stoner Broadcasting.

“Tom died the way he lived, with exuberance,” a public obituary from the John M. Taylor Funeral Home stated. “He passed away surrounded by family: joy, gratitude, passion — love. At the end of his last day, the end of a fruitful life, this is what burned brightly within Tom Stoner. Though he is gone, this is what remains. The intensity of those qualities he radiated was so great, we feel their warmth today.”