Robert J. Shuman, president of Maryland Public Television since 1986, announced last week that he’ll retire at the end of June.
The state-operated network operates Thinkport.org, one of the more active public media sites for K-12 education, and produces MotorWeek, among other national programs.
Shuman succeeded Raymond Ho, who was fired in 1985 after an unsuccessful drive to establish MPT as an international coproducer. The network later lost its major national production when Louis Rukeyser rebelled at PBS/MPT plans to refresh Wall Street Week, and new version without him failed to take hold.
MPT took a shot at a nightly newscast, but NewsnightMaryand didn’t find ongoing funding and ended in 1991. Now Shuman is working with the University of Maryland’s j-school to start an online news service. More on that in Current
Shuman’s MPT went on to establish Maryland-centric programming and educational services as its specialty.
“In many ways, I thought this would be an easy decision for me since it actually would be a second retirement,” Shuman said in a memo to his staff Dec. 10. “That turned out not to be the case, as staff members and Commissioners have become more like family and special friends over the years than I ever could have imagined.”
Shuman had planned his first retirement after running the independent cable network The Learning Channel for 10 years and selling it to Discovery Communications in 1991, investing the proceeds in a foundation. Before that he helped establish the channel with the pioneer Appalachian Educational Satellite Network, which became the American Community Service Network.
A search committee of the Maryland commission will recruit a new president/c.e.o. for MPT.