Instructional TV sales exec moves to NBR’s bigger league

In his career in the media niche of instructional television, Mykalai Kontilai worked with several respected names in public broadcasting as well as parts of Scholastic Inc., one of the world’s largest producers of educational materials for children and classrooms.
Two of these key relationships for Kontilai or Teacher’s Choice, the ITV sales company where he was a major marketing presence, fell apart abruptly and after a matter of months — those with a past education chief of NETA and a former CPB finance exec. Kontilai finally left the ITV field after Scholastic ended its business relationship in 2006 because, a spokesperson told Current, the company was “dissatisfied with Mr. Kontilai as a distributor of Scholastic product.”

Some of his ITV customers remain strong supporters, nevertheless, while others cut ties with him. Two station executives said they dissolved contracts with Teacher’s Choice early. Leaving the cloistered and shrinking ITV world opened new opportunities, however, culminating thus far in the announcement Aug. 13 that the for-profit company NBR Worldwide, with Kontilai as c.e.o. and partner Gary Ferrell as c.f.o., had purchased Nightly Business Report, a well-established weeknight show trusted by millions of PBS viewers to provide investment news and advice (Current, Aug.

Worlds away from Rukeyser’s Wall Street

Wall Street Week with Fortune, the PBS series that reinvented itself last year after a messy split with original host Louis Rukeyser, is setting itself further apart from its progenitor. The program sharpened its reporting this fall on the scandal-plagued financial markets while expanding its coverage to economic trends beyond Wall Street. Acknowledging the steady drumbeat of news about improper trading practices and corporate malfeasance, Executive Producer Larry Moscow wants WSW to reflect investors’ ire over scams that deflated their portfolios and retirement accounts. Investors, he observed, are now saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

“We want to put PBS at the vanguard of reporting on that rebellion by providing independent information about what’s going on,” Moscow said. “These are different times and we have to do things beyond sitting in the studio and talking about it.”

The shift in tenor was unmistakable in co-host Geoffrey Colvin’s introduction to the Nov.