Ex-NBC news exec will manage WNET

Neal Shapiro, president of NBC News until 16 months ago, will succeed William Baker as president and c.e.o. of New York’s WNET. Shapiro, 48, a 25-year veteran of network news who ran NBC’s Dateline before heading NBC’s global news operations, will assume one of Baker’s titles next month, serving for a year as president while Baker remains c.e.o. Baker will relinquish the chief exec role next February, becoming president emeritus. The board of Educational Broadcasting Corp., licensee of both WNET and WLIW in Long Island, unanimously approved the transition plan on Jan. 18, ending a year-long executive recruitment process that began as a search to replace Paula Kerger, former c.o.o., who left WNET to become PBS president last March. “As we did the search I realized that, ultimately, this person has to be capable of replacing me,” said Baker.

A 20th anniversary letter from the editor

Twenty years is an anniversary round enough to permit us at Current to indulge in some hoorah, and to recognize the people who have made the paper possible for two decades. Marking the occasion, we published an updated edition of the paperback A History of Public Broadcasting last month, and inaugurated a companion website of the field’s historical documents, Public Broadcasting PolicyBase (PBPB). Since its first issue, March 17, 1980, Current has grown in many respects — in professionalism, in average page count (threefold), in circulation (fivefold), in advertising support (vastly), and in sustainability. (The growth allows and requires us to expand our staff this year, adding a fourth editor.)

It’s our pleasure to work on a community newspaper for a community full of so many people with fine passions, admirable skills, high ideals and damned good fights. It’s a community paper for a community the size of a small town but spread across a continent.