Ted Teffner spent the better part of 40 years building Vermont television.
"We're trying to build a whole building, we're trying to build three towers put in transmission lines, put up antennas," Ted explained in an interview during construction of new transmitter facilities in 2006.
He was the quintessential behind-the-scenes man-- using his engineering and management skills to keep Channel 3 on the air.
Ted began his career at WCAX in 1959 as a transmitter engineer; one of the hardy souls who man the outpost on top of Mt. Mansfield.
After leaving briefly to work for the phone company, Ted returned to WCAX and worked his way up through the ranks of the engineering department, becoming chief engineer in 1992.
"As Chief Engineer, he designed everything that you see here," WCAX General Manager Peter Martin said.
The last 15 years of Ted's career was focused primarily on bringing Channel 3-- and the other Vermont television stations-- into the digital age. It involved the construction of those new facilities and transmitter towers on Mount Mansfield. During the chaos Ted said, "Everyday there's a question from somebody-- about every half hour-- how we going to do this? How's that going to work? Or better yet, we can't do this by Friday. Then I kind of do my nice little thing-- and I say, but actually you see, we have to get it done by Friday."
"He was the driving force behind the transition of all the television stations in this market, by designing and overseeing the construction of the facilities on Mt. Mansfield," Martin said. "That was an extraordinary, difficult, complex job."
Ted's influence was not limited to television. He also served his hometown of Stowe as a member of the select board for 15 years.
Ted's gruff exterior led some to think of him as "the old man on the mountain," but he was also a talented musician and accomplished yachtsman.
"He truly was a Renaissance man," Martin said.
Ted Teffner passed away Thursday in Florida. He was 69. His family has not yet finalized funeral arrangements.
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