Rick Ray considered purchasing public TV’s Nightly Business Report earlier this year but last week ended up as its new c.e.o. instead. Atalaya Capital Management, the New York venture-capital firm that ended up owning the show, was shopping it around in March, said Ray, a veteran media executive who built cable syndicator Raycom Sports. He took a look, was intrigued and spoke with Atalaya. But the timing for a deal wasn’t right at that point, Ray said; he was too busy with several other projects. “But I liked what I saw” in NBR, Ray said.
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.
WPBT sells to entrepreneur with history of legal disputes: Mykalai Kontilai, whose NBR Worldwide this month purchased Nightly Business Report, a staple of public TV carried five nights a week on 250 stations, talks about how his years as an instructional television distributor gave him a strong sense of public broadcasting values. ¶ He talks about how he’ll use that background to develop an educational outreach using the show to teach real-world financial responsibility. He talks of his plans to bring NBR to international audiences. ¶ What he doesn’t want to discuss are more than 20 lawsuits from 1999 through 2010 filed in San Diego County Superior Court against him or his companies — including five alleging breach of contract.