Zoel J. Parenteau Jr., a key figure in two midwestern public TV stations, died Jan. 10, 2008, at age 75.
Parenteau launched Kansas City’s pubTV station, then known as KCSD and operated by the public schools, in 1961. His title changed to g.m. and the call letters to KCPT when a separate nonprofit took charge later.
In 1972, he moved to KPTS in Wichita, Kan., and managed it for 25 years. He was a member of the executive committees of the boards of the Central Educational Network and the National Association of Public Television Stations, according to the National Public Broadcasting Archive, which has a collection of his papers.
Parenteau’s longtime program director, Jim Lewis, was ousted after an extended period of staff protests, and Parenteau retired soon afterward in 1996.
He was the first chair of the state’s Kansas Public Broadcasting Council in 1993-94.
Parenteau was a past president of the Wichita Rotary Club and remained involved in its activities until his death.
A Pittsburgh native, he received a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from the University of Connecticut and a master’s in TV-radio-film from the University of Iowa.
He served as a producer-director for Atlanta pubTV station WETV (now WPBA) before moving to Kansas City.
Survivors include his daughter Peri Parenteau Saner and her husband Steven.
Memorial donations maybe given to the Wichita Children’s Home, 810 N. Holyoke, Wichita, KS 67208.