GREENWICH, Conn. -- Happy birthday to Greenwich’s Mel Karmazin!
Melvin Alan "Mel" Karmazin who has owned a home in Greenwich, turns 71 on Sunday. The broadcast executive was born Aug. 24, 1943, in Greenwich, Conn.
He first worked as a typist for an advertising firm in high school and then started selling radio ads at the age of 17. Later he worked for Columbia Broadcasting System, selling ads for their radio division. In the late 1960s, he left to work for the broadcasting company Metromedia.
At Metromedia, he presided over New York's WNEW-AM (now WBBR) and WNEW-FM (now WWFS) when he was approached to run Infinity Broadcasting in 1981.
He ran Infinity for 15 years, then sold the company to Westinghouse, then the parent of CBS. For most of his career he has been known as a "Wall Street darling" for his ability to drive up the price of his various companies' stock.
He served as president and chief operating officer of CBS Corp. from April 1998 until January 1999.
He became the chief executive officer of Sirius in November 2004. In his first year at Sirius, Fortune magazine reported in November 2005, he reached deals with Ford and BMW to include the company's radios in their new cars and helped launch Sirius's first portable music player. He also recruited Martha Stewart to Sirius, acquired the programming rights to NASCAR, and raised $500 million in debt financing.
He was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the National Radio Hall of Fame, a recipient of the National Association of Broadcasters National Radio Award, and the IRTS Gold Medal.