WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Former Fox News CEO and Warren native Roger Ailes passed away Thursday at the age of 77. He saw a lot and accomplished more around the world, but it was in Warren where he will always be remembered as the guy who loved home and was willing to help.
Ailes was a conservative that came out of a liberal town.
He was born in Warren, grew up on Belmont Street, and went to the First Presbyterian Church. Ailes took his roots with him everywhere.
“He loved the fact that he came from blue collar town, blue collar working family. That developed his principles,” said Howland Attorney Ned Gold, Jr.
Ailes’ 1958 senior yearbook from Warren G. Harding was called “Echoes.” Pictures show he was developing leadership skills through student council and drama.
TV and politics were in his blood and he put them together to become a legend.
After working in TV, he became a communications advisor to the highest position in the world.
“What a giant in the political world, having worked with four presidents’ campaigns and then having transitioned the way 24-hour cable news was done by single-handedly building Fox News from the first brick,” said Tribune Chronicle Publisher Charles Jarvis.
Ailes accepted a challenge in 1996 to build a news network from scratch and compete with CNN. He created the Fox News Channel, branded it “Fair and Balanced,” and it became a big hit with conservatives.
“Just the contribution he made to politics and the contribution he made to television news its unparalled, both of those,” Jarvis said.
Business took Ailes out of his hometown, but no one could take Warren out of Roger Ailes. In 2008, he returned as the keynote speaker for the Trumbull County Veterans Memorial.
“He got off the airplane and immediately took his son to the Hot Dog Shoppe,” Gold said.
Ailes made a big contribution to get the memorial finished. There were only three replicas made of the bronze soldier statue and Ailes had one of them.
“He was as strong an American as you’ll ever find. He truly had nothing but the best interests of this country in his heart and he was truly dedicated to veterans,” Gold said.
Ailes has also made contributions to fix the hand railings and install an elevator at Packard Music Hall.
Despite building Fox News into a major force, he was let go last summer amid sexual harassment allegations.
“What happened in the last year, frankly, it’s an unfortunate blot but the truth is, if you look at his whole history, he did a lot for his country, regardless of what you believe in as far as politics are concerned,” Gold said.
Ailes’ legacy will be remembered around Warren. He was inducted into Harding’s distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 1994.
Roger Ailes’ Warren roots