What They’re Saying About Ralph Roberts

The late Comcast founder commanded broad respect.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Here is what they’re saying about the death of Ralph Roberts, the founder of Comcast:

Forbes: “Ralph was a remarkable man who touched the lives of so many people,” the Roberts family said in a statement. “He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and perhaps most importantly, a kind and humble human being. He will always be remembered for his generosity, integrity, honesty, kindness and respect for everyone around him. He was an inspiration to us all and we will miss him greatly.”

AP: “He remade the cable industry. When he started, it was a bunch of mom and pop businesses. He’s shown that you can take that idea and transition it to a worldwide media business,” said Terry Bienstock, a former general counsel at Comcast who met Roberts in the early 1980s. “The NBC thing will be his legacy.”

NYTimes: “The cable business, you put up a tower, you run a line down through the telephone poles, you charge everybody $5 a month, and you don’t do anything, so it didn’t seem very appealing to me,” Mr. Roberts recalled in receiving a television industry award in 2003. “But as I began to look at what was happening, I realized the cable business was the best of all the ones I had invested in, and decided to go forward full boat.”

NBC: “Ralph Roberts has had a remarkable life, and a consistent one, too,” Brian Roberts said in the foreword to the biography “An Incredible Dream” by William Novak. “In every setting—whether in the office, over dinner at his favorite greasy spoon, or painting a schoolhouse wall during Comcast Cares Day—he has always been optimistic, warm, and encouraging.”

Variety: “Amid a digital revolution that disrupted and confused so many in the business world, Ralph Roberts saw the future clearly and encouraged Comcast to become a broadband and technology innovator benefiting industry and consumers here and around the world. At heart, Mr. Roberts was an entrepreneur like so many of our members, and we will miss his passion for our industry,” said ACA president Matthew Polka in a statement.

The Verge: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler offered kind words for Roberts. In a statement, he said, “Ralph Roberts was a pioneer, an entrepreneur and a good man. It was my privilege to know, work with, and learn from Ralph. He has left a lasting legacy on the communications landscape of America.”

Christian Science Monitor: Outside of his business pursuits, Roberts and his family were involved in various community and philanthropy efforts. He served on the boards of several organization, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. Recently, he and his wife Suzanne received the Philadelphia Award to recognize their contributions to the city in business, philanthropy, and arts and culture.

We’ll add to this in coming days as more tributes and analysis come in.

Max Rettig contributed to this report.