The president and CEO of ZoomerMedia’s television division is doing just that, bringing down the curtain on a lengthy broadcast career that has included stints with both public and private broadcasters throughout North America and as far afield as Japan. His final day with the Toronto-based company is Oct. 31.
Roberts has spent the past 12 years with VisionTV and its parent companies S-VOX and, most recently, ZoomerMedia. He oversaw VisionTV’s emergence as one of Canada’s preeminent multi-faith/multicultural broadcasters, carried in approximately 8.6 million homes and seen by nearly 2 million people per week.
“It’s always important to know when to leave the stage, and the leadership at ZoomerMedia is in an excellent position to take the company forward with the 45+ demographic goals they have,” he said. “It’s been a very rewarding life, seeing the industry evolve.”
Roberts said he plans to spend some time enjoying “under-employment” before turning his eye to a possible career in the new media space.
An avid mountaineer who has climbed Europe’s Mont Blanc, America’s Mount Whitney and Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Roberts has also attained significant heights in the broadcast industry.
His broadcast credentials were established early, when, at age 12, his mother entered him into a CBC Radio children’s contest in his native Montreal. “I was fortunate enough to win my first Paul Anka album, and I haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Roberts’ career highs have included securing a license for One: The Body, Mind & Spirit channel, and pursuing three over-the-air stations in Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg from Rogers Media, which were subsequently rebranded as Joytv.
Roberts said the timing was right to leave ZoomerMedia, having just wrapped up the necessary legwork for a series of license renewals. “If there’s a responsible time to go and explore those ubiquitous ‘other opportunities,’ I think now’s the time to do it,” he said. “The place is in good shape.”
VisionTV garnerd $4.7 million in national advertising revenue in 2011, according to CRTC documents, but Roberts said convincing the marketing community of the viability and importance of the Boomer demographic remains one of ZoomerMedia’s biggest challenges.
“Not only is this the fastest-growing demographic ever on the planet, it’s also the wealthiest and has the most political clout,” he said.