Leadership > Charles Dolan
Charles F. Dolan
Chairman, Cablevision Systems Corporation
Charles F. Dolan is the founder and chairman of Cablevision Systems Corporation, one of the nation's leading telecommunications and media companies. Mr. Dolan also serves as executive chairman of AMC Networks Inc., a leading producer of pioneering programming for multiple media platforms.
Over nearly four decades, Cablevision has developed a portfolio of operations that ranges from digital voice service, high-speed Internet access and robust digital cable television packages to local programming properties and publishing outlets. Founded by Mr. Dolan in 1973, Cablevision started as a cable television operator serving 1,500 customers in New York's Long Island suburbs. Today, four decades later, the company operates the nation's largest single cable cluster, spanning the New York metropolitan area.
Cablevision delivers the benefits of broadband and digital communications through a range of popular telecommunications services, made possible by its state-of-the-art networks. These advanced Optimum-branded offerings are available to nearly 6 million households and smaller businesses across the company's New York tri-state service area. The company's services include digital television, digital voice and high-speed Internet access. In the New York metropolitan area, Cablevision has also built the nation's largest and most advanced regional WiFi network, and meets the needs of larger companies through Optimum Lightpath, which delivers integrated business communications solutions.
Other Cablevision assets include local media and programming properties focused on serving communities throughout the New York tri-state area. These consist of News 12 Networks' seven local news and five traffic and weather channels and Newsday Media Group, which features Long Island's leading daily newspaper Newsday, Newsday.com and the New York City daily amNewYork.
Charles "Chuck" Dolan was born on October 16, 1926 in Cleveland. The son of an inventor, he served in the U.S. Air Force and studied at John Carroll University before embarking on his career in telecommunications. His earliest professional endeavors focused on the packaging, marketing and distribution of sports and industrial films. Working together with his wife in their Cleveland home, Mr. Dolan edited and produced short film reels of sports events for syndication to television stations. Selling the business, Mr. Dolan joined the acquiring firm and moved east to New York, the center of the developing electronic media world.
In the early 1960s, Mr. Dolan established Teleguide Inc., which provided information services via cable to New York City hotels. That same decade, he founded Sterling Manhattan Cable, the nation's first urban cable television company. In its early years, Sterling forged first-of-its-kind agreements to bring local professional sports teams, cultural programming and movies into the homes of New York City cable viewers.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Dolan founded Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), the first premium programming service in the cable television industry. He organized Cablevision Systems Corporation on Long Island after the sale of HBO to Time-Life, Inc. and, as its founding chairman, has spearheaded many of Cablevision's advancements. Currently, he is chairman of Cablevision's board of directors.
Mr. Dolan also serves as executive chairman of the board of directors of AMC Networks Inc., Cablevision's former Rainbow Media Holdings subsidiary, which was spun-off into a separate public company in June 2011. Mr. Dolan spearheaded the creation of the programming subsidiary in 1980 to bring compelling new programming to customers. Today, AMC Networks has grown to include popular networks such as AMC, WE tv, IFC and Sundance Channel, as well as the independent film business, IFC Entertainment.
In addition, Mr. Dolan serves on the board of The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), a former Cablevision subsidiary. In 1995, he was instrumental in establishing Cablevision's original partnership with MSG, which was a part of the Cablevision family of companies until its spin-off in early 2010. The MSG properties include the arena complex; professional sports teams, the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty; sports and entertainment networks MSG and MSG Plus, and the national music network Fuse; and performance venues such as The Chicago Theatre, and New York's Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre.
Mr. Dolan is chairman of the board of directors of The Lustgarten Foundation, which he helped found in 1998 and is now the nation's largest private supporter of pancreatic cancer research. He is a trustee of Fairfield University in Connecticut and a member of the board of directors of the Nassau County Crime Stoppers.