Shapiro tapped as EBC's CEO

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NEW YORK -- TV news veteran Neal Shapiro will take over Monday, Feb. 4 as CEO of the Educational Broadcasting Corp., operators of WNET and WLIW, two of the three most-watched public TV stations and two of the nation's major producers for the Public Broadcasting Service.

Since Feb. 2007 when Shapiro joined the stations as president, he's spearheaded several programming initiatives, including the production of interactive programming and the exploration of new distribution models.

Shapiro succeeds Dr. William Baker, a giant in broadcasting, who served as president and CEO of the stations since 1987, introducing such notable programs as Charlie Rose, City Arts and Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly. Baker will become president emeritus.

Shapiro intends to continue WNET and WLIW's legacy, while forging out new programming and funding models.

"We must capitalize on what distinguishes Thirteen and WLIW: fearless experimentation, keen intelligence, unparalleled production quality, and a passion for leading the way forward," Shapiro said. "We are evolving as the learning habits and expectations of the public change. I believe that by dramatically increasing our capacity to produce innovative programming and by using new tools to deliver information we can make a truly tangible positive difference in people's lives."

Shapiro's tenure as president has already produced some stand-out examples of his vision for the stations, including New York War Stories and New York Goes to War, an ongoing project that invited New Yorkers to create videos, available on Thirteen.org's Web site.

Taking a different approach to distribution, New York Goes To War was distributed to PBS affiliates, but also offered directly to all public TV stations in New York State. Reel 13 solicits aspiring and professional filmmakers to submit short films to Thirteen. The films are screened and voted on by viewers online for the one that should be broadcast Saturday night.

Shapiro's 25-year career spans print, broadcast, cable and Internet. Prior to EBC, he served as president of NBC News from 2001 to 2005 and was executive producer of "Dateline NBC" from 1993 to 2001. In cable, he oversaw the news operations of MSNBC and MSNBC.com.

He began his broadcast career in 1980 at ABC News.
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