Clifton Gardiner has been described as a “serial entrepreneur”, and has over 50 years’ experience in the media, communications, high-tech manufacturing, and investment banking industries.
His broadcast career began in college and continued when he constructed and owned his first radio station. Always active in broadcasting, he founded Rocky Mountain Radio Company in 1990, which became a nine station regional group that was sold in 1998.
In 1962 he was awarded franchise rights for a cable television system which grew into one of the early cable industry multiple system groups with properties in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. To fill an urgent need for a growing new industry, cable television, he founded an engineering and construction business that designed, constructed and provided marketing for some 400 cable television systems nationwide. The company had over 1400 employees when it was sold in 1980.
When satellite delivered cable television programming emerged in 1974, he founded Gardiner Communications Corporation, a satellite communications equipment manufacturer. He acquired a Texas company that manufactured satellite spy equipment for the CIA and repurposed it for video transmission. It was one of the first to provide equipment for satellite delivery of programming to cable television systems. His company designed and built all of the electronic components that were necessary for complete satellite receive systems, including large parabolic antennas. The equipment was used by over 4,000 cable systems and by satellite transmission companies worldwide.
Federal Communications Commission rules at that time required cable television systems to “black out” certain programming that duplicated local TV stations. Gardiner designed the concept, and with his ChannelCue Division, manufactured the industry's first computer based line of video switching and commercial insertion equipment for cable television.
With his Starscan Division, he was the first to package and sell satellite equipment and programming for home usage. This was the early forerunner for the industry that is now known as Dish Network and DirectTV. Starscan was the first to negotiate licensing arrangements for television programming that could be sold directly to home customers. After achieving over $20 million in annual sales, Gardiner Communications was sold in 1979 to Burnup & Sims, Inc. a national public company. He remained as President and CEO until 1983.
He founded Clifton Gardiner & Company in 1984. The company quickly became a leading media and communications industry investment banking and consulting firm with over twenty professionals, and completed over $800 million worth of mergers and capitalizations during the ‘80’s. During the ‘90’s the company took a “timeout” while he was President of Rocky Mountain Radio Company, LLC and Radio One Networks, LLC. He reactivated CGC in 2001 after the sale of Radio One Networks. In 2010, he combined the company with Corporate Development Capital, LLC, a FINRA registered broker dealer. The company provides capital formation, mergers and acquisitions and consulting services to a wide range of companies.
n 1993, as a spinoff of Rocky Mountain Radio Company, he founded Radio One Networks, LLC, and provided innovative customized localized programming for radio broadcast stations. Gardiner is credited with creating the concept for computer based radio programming automation systems that are now used worldwide. The system permitted the delivery of localized audio segments by satellite and Internet that were inserted by the network’s automation system, which allowed affiliates to create a totally hands-free local radio station service in markets nationwide. The network grew to provide five satellite and Internet delivered 24/7 music formats and the nation’s largest commercial production service for local radio stations. It served over 140 affiliates when it was sold in November, 2001.
From 2007 until mid-2009 he took a “time-out” to serve as EVP in charge of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s $140 million concert hall rebuild project until it was shelved due to the economic downturn. He then served for six months as Interim President and CEO until a new permanent CEO was selected. The CSO operates on a $12 million budget with about 110 employees.
From 1980 until 1984, he served as a Director of Communicom Corporation, a Los Angeles cable television company. In 1994, he was elected a Non-Executive Director of West 175 Media, Inc., a London based publicly traded media company. Mr. Gardiner has also served as a Director of Logix Corporation, a laser equipment manufacturing company based in Knoxville, Tennessee.