Len Mauger, one of Australia’s first and longest serving television executives, has died in Sydney at the age of 89.
Mauger had worked in radio, including as an announcer at Melbourne station 3AW, before becoming a senior executive at ATN7, Sydney’s second commercial station which launched in December 1956.
In September 1963, transport chief Reg Ansett had recruited Mauger to set up Melbourne’s third commercial channel, ATV0. In launching the new station, Mauger (pictured) set an aggressive tone in challenging the dominance of existing commercial channels HSV7 and GTV9. “We’ve got to be as good as our well-entrenched rivals,” he told station staff at the time. “Above all, we’ve got to be different, so that viewers have an alternative to watch rather than three similar type shows running on the other stations. Time has been on the side of the other stations. But time, talent, imagination and a fistful of fight are now on our side.”
ATV0, based at studios in the suburb of Nunawading, launched in August 1964 and Mauger was there for the next three years. He left the channel in 1967 to work overseas for the US network ABC.
Mauger returned to Australia in 1968 and joined Australian Consolidated Press as a consultant for the company’s radio interests. The next year he was appointed general manager of Sydney channel TCN9, replacing Bruce Gyngell.
He went on to become managing director and president of the Nine Network through to 1990 before later taking on a consulting role for the network. Mauger also served as Chairman of FACTS (Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations) in the 1970s.
In 1989 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the media. He later received an International Emmy Award from the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Cannes in recognition for his commitment and contribution to television broadcasting.
In more recent years Mauger was a committee member and patron of Television Pioneers, a social group of former television employees from the early days of Australia’s television industry.
Lenard “Len” Mauger is survived by wife Nancy and daughter Sandra.