Leslie Sole, a Canadian broadcasting veteran who helped lead Rogers Media’s television division, and his wife, popular former radio DJ Terri Michael, were killed in a head-on car crash Monday in Mexico.
Sole and Michael retired a few years ago to the Cabo San Lucas area of Mexico.
Details of the crash were not immediately available.
Sole began his 25-year career at Rogers Communications in 1986 and was named chief content officer at Rogers Media after expanding its television division. He was serving as the CEO of Rogers Media Television when he left the company in 2011.
He is being remembered as a creative executive who never shied away from bold decisions.
One of his greatest contributions to Canada’s broadcast landscape was his work at the television station OMNI. He was the architect of Canada’s first multicultural television station expanding its footprint from Ontario to B.C. and Alberta.
He oversaw the acquisition of five Citytv stations across Canada from CTVglobemedia, five OMNI Television stations and three specialty channels, including The Biography Channel.
“Leslie is one of the great innovative thinkers in Canadian broadcasting,” former Rogers Broadcasting President Rael Merson said at the time of the Citytv acquisition.
Michael was a popular radio DJ on Toronto radio stations CKFM 99.9 and EZ ROCK 97.3 throughout the ’80s and ’90s when she interviewed some of music’s biggest stars including Elton John, Mick Jagger and Peter Frampton.
She wrote and hosted a show on The Biography Channel. Outside of broadcasting, Michael started her own jewelry line in 2006.
In December 2009, Sole was front and centre at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Citytv studios at Yonge and Dundas streets, where CityNews, Breakfast Television and OMNI Television still broadcast.
He received Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his contribution to his community and to Canada.
Rogers Media President Rick Brace released the following statement.
“Leslie was a visionary, who passionately loved Canadian television and left an indelible mark on this industry, and on Rogers. Throughout his 25 years at Rogers, Leslie was a creative executive who never shied away from bold decisions and was the architect of pioneering stations such as OMNI Television. Rogers Media extends its deepest condolences to the entire Sole family on the passing of Leslie and his wife Terri. We join with friends and colleagues in the remembrance of this respected media leader, one we were proud to call our own.”