DISCOVERY’S DAVID ZASLAV TO RECEIVE NATAS’ PRESTIGIOUS TRUSTEES AWARD
WILLIAM BAKER, ROGER OGDEN, LAWRENCE POLLOCK TO BE INDUCTED INTO NATAS’ MANAGEMENT HALL OF FAME
New York, N. Y. – September 12, 2007 – David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, will be honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) with its prestigious Trustees Award during a black tie ceremony at the New York City’s Harvard Club on Sunday, September 23. Also that evening, three veteran industry leaders will be inducted into NATAS’ distinguished Management Hall of Fame. The inductees are Dr. William F. Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), licensee of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York; Roger L. Ogden, former President of Gannett Broadcasting Division, and Lawrence J. Pollock, past Chairman and past President, ABC Owned Television Stations.
Leading media and entertainment executives from across the United States are expected to attend the ceremony, where Zaslav will be honored for excellence in leadership, both in the television business and in the community which serves the industry. Among the past recipients of the Trustees Award are CBS founder William Paley, CBS Newsman Walter Cronkite, and President John F. Kennedy.
“David Zaslav is a true visionary in our industry,” said Peter Price, President/CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “His strategic prowess and exemplary management, first at NBC, then NBC Universal, and now at Discovery, have led to the development and continued success of some of the most recognized brands in the media industry. For his career achievements and his generous support of the television industry, David Zaslav is very deserving of our Trustees Award.”
In announcing the Academy’s Management Hall of Fame inductees, Price said, “William Baker, Roger Ogden and Lawrence Pollock are pioneers of the television industry, whose vision and extraordinary management skills have had significant impact on the dynamic growth of the industry – in public and commercial television, in broadcast, cable, and broadband – over decades.”
David Zaslav sets the strategy and oversees the operations of the world’s number-one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Through TV and digital media, Discovery’s 100-plus worldwide networks include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, The Science Channel, Discovery Health and HD Theater.
Since joining Discovery in January 2007, Zaslav has directed a number of key strategic initiatives including a major restructuring designed to create a performance-driven culture; the launch of four network HD simulcasts; plans in 2008 to launch Planet Green, the first TV network dedicated to the green lifestyle reaching 50 million homes; and the acquisition of Treehugger.com, the leading eco-lifestyle website.
During Zaslav’s distinguished career at NBC Universal, he built the distribution base and operations of a formidable array of cable and new-media operations. As president of NBC Universal’s Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution, Zaslav oversaw content distribution to all forms of TV, led negotiations for cable and satellite carriage of NBC Universal networks, and forged innovative new-media partnerships, including a pioneering video-on-demand deal with the leading cable operator, Comcast. Zaslav also brought films and TV shows to consumers through new paths including the Web, cell phones and other wireless devices.
Zaslav joined NBC in 1989 and was instrumental in developing and launching CNBC that same year. He played a key role in creating MSNBC in 1996. His responsibilities extended to Bravo, CNBC World, SCI FI, ShopNBC, Sleuth, Telemundo, Telemundo Puerto Rico, mun2, Trio, Universal HD, USA Network, NBC Weather Plus and the Olympics on cable. Zaslav also oversaw NBC Universal’s interests in A&E, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, National Geographic International, the Sundance Channel and TiVo.
Zaslav serves on the boards of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Association of Television Program Executives, Cable Positive, The Cable Center, the Museum of Television and Radio, the Center for Communication, and TiVo. He was an adjunct professor at Fordham University, where he created and taught a graduate-level course on the business of cable television.
Before joining NBC, Zaslav was a corporate/entertainment attorney with the New York firm of LeBouef, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae. He graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law.
Dr. William F. Baker
With a career that spans more than 40 years in the industry, Dr. William Baker has taken a leading role in helping to shape American broadcasting in both the commercial and public sectors. As an author, lecturer and the recipient of many honors and awards, he is a sought-after expert in the field and a well-known advocate for the educational potential of television.
Baker has been CEO of Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), licensee of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York since 1987. Thirteen/WNET is the flagship public broadcasting station, the premier national public television program producer, and the most-watched public television station in the United States. It is also the largest producer of cultural and arts programming in America. WLIW21 is the fourth-most-watched public television station in America, and a major producer and presenter of public television programming seen nationwide.
Under Baker’s leadership, Thirteen created the national nightly “Charlie Rose” discussion program, the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning local series “City Arts” and “City Life, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,” winner of the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and Thirteen’s affiliate cultural cable channel MetroArts/Thirteen. Thirteen also instituted the Educational Resources Center for educational program development and multimedia learning during Baker’s tenure.
Baker is recognized as one of America’s most prolific fundraisers, having raised more than $1 billion in his career. As president of Thirteen, he helped stabilize the finances of the station by building the largest endowment in public television history and led the station’s move to its state-of-the-art digital production and broadcast facility on West 33rd Street in Manhattan in 1998. He also oversaw the station’s transition to digital transmission in 2001 and the launch of two 24-hour digital channels, ThirteenHD and Kids Thirteen, in 2002, and four more digital services (Create, World, Thirteen On Demand and Thirteen Kids On Demand) in 2004. In addition, Baker oversaw Thirteen’s historic merger with its sister station WLIW, which was completed in 2003.
Baker previously served a dual role as president of Westinghouse Television, Inc. (from 1979) and chairman of Group W Satellite Communications (from 1981). During his 10 years at Westinghouse, five cable networks were launched, including Discovery Channel and the Disney Channel. He established the successful national “PM Magazine” program and introduced Oprah Winfrey as a talk show host.
Baker began his broadcasting career while still a student, and has held a variety of programming and general management positions in radio and television in Cleveland, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and New York.
Drawing on his many years of professional experience in broadcasting, Baker co-authored Down the Tube: An Insider’s Account of the Failure of American Television. Baker is the executive producer of Emmy Award- winning “The Face: Jesus in Art,” a landmark documentary film that traces the image of Jesus Christ in art around the world and across two millennia. He also served as the executive producer of Picturing Mary, the follow-up to The Face, filmed in the latest widescreen HD technology surveying images of the Virgin Mary by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Titian and other masters.
Baker was honored with the NATAS Trustee Award in 1987 and has received the Gabriel Personal Achievement Award, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and numerous other awards for his work as a producer, including six Emmy Awards. In 2007, Baker received the Mark Schubart Award from the Lincoln Center Institute, which recognizes individuals who most exemplify the Institute’s ideal of integrating the arts with education.
Baker serves on the boards of the Public Broadcasting Service, Rodale Press, Freedom Communications, Inc., The British Academy of Film and Television Arts East Coast, Consumers Union, and Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. He is a former president of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Baker received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University, and he is the recipient of honorary degrees from St. John’s University, College of St. Elizabeth, Long Island University, New School University, and Seton Hall University.
Roger L. Ogden
Roger Ogden retired earlier this year as President and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting Division, a position he held since 2005, overseeing 21 television stations reaching 17.9% of US television homes. On March 28, 2006, Roger Ogden was also named Senior Vice President of Design, Innovation and Strategy for Gannett Co., Inc. He also currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Prior to his appointment as CEO, Ogden served as General Manager for K*USA-TV, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado and as Senior Vice President, Gannett Television. Ogden serves on the Gannett Management Committee and the Gannett Broadcasting Operating Committee. He was honored as Gannett’s 2004 Manager of the Year.
Before rejoining Gannett, Ogden had been President and Managing Director of NBC Europe since July 1995. He oversaw the day-to-day operations of NBC Europe and CNBC Europe. He was also heavily involved in NBC’s international operations in Mexico, managing NBC’s co-operative efforts with TV Azteca, Mexico’s second largest television group. He had also been in charge of overseeing operations for the NBC station, KUTV in Salt Lake City.
Ogden began his broadcast career in Denver at the age of 13 at radio station KPOF. He worked at stations KLIR and KBTR while attending school. He later held management positions at WLKY-TV, Louisville, Ky. and K*USA-TV, Denver, KCNC-TV, also in Denver, where, for 14 years he was President and General Manager. Two years later, he was named Senior Vice President of Gannett Broadcasting and a member of the Gannett Broadcast Operating Committee. He was also appointed a Vice President of Gannett Broadcasting and one of his major responsibilities was an emphasis on new media.
Ogden is active in many community organizations, including Chairman of the Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce, President of the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Chairman of the Colorado Winter Games Committee and the US Olympic Festival.
Lawrence J. Pollock
An executive with more than 40 years of experience in radio, television and advertising, Lawrence J. Pollock was with the Cap Cities/ABC for 36 years and spent seven years with the old American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. prior to that.
Pollock was Chairman, ABC Owned Television Stations, when he retired in October 2000. Prior to that, he was President, ABC Owned Television Stations, from January 1991 to October 1999. In that capacity he was responsible for all 10 of the Owned Television Stations: WABC-TV (New York), WLS-TV (Chicago), WPVI-TV (Philadelphia), WTVD (Durham-Raleigh), KABC-TV (Los Angeles), KGO-TV (San Francisco), KTRK-TV (Houston), KFSN-TV (Fresno), WJRT-TV (Flint), and WTVG (Toledo). This station group continues to reach almost a fourth of the nation’s viewing audience today.
Previously, Pollock had been President, Capital Cities/Owned Television Stations-East, since January 1986. Prior to that, he had been in charge of WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, the fourth largest television market in the U.S., for more than 10 years — as President and General Manager since January 1985, and as Vice President and General Manager since 1975.
Pollock joined Capital Cities in 1963 as General Sales Manager of WTEN-TV in Albany and moved to WKBW-TV in Buffalo, also a Capital Cities station, in 1965. He was named Vice President and General Manager of WKBW-TV in 1969 and moved to WPVI-TV six years later.
Prior to joining Capital Cities, Pollock served as Director of Advertising and Research for WABC-TV New York from 1958 to 1963, and as Manager of Research for ABC Radio from 1956 to 1958. Before joining ABC, he spent three years with Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, Inc. as Manager of Media Research.
In Philadelphia, Mr. Pollock has been active in numerous civic activities, including the Variety Club where he served as Vice President and was honored as “International Man of the Year” in 1979 and “Man of the Year” in 1985. He was a member of the board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for many years, rising to the position of Publisher of the “Jewish Exponent”, a weekly newspaper serving the Jewish community of Philadelphia. In recognition of his work with the Federation, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for service in the community in July of 2007.
A graduate of the City College of New York with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Mr. Pollock and his wife, Carol have three grown children and four grandchildren. They reside in the Philadelphia area
In the industry, Pollock is a past Chairman of the Television Committee of the Electronic Media Rating Council and has served on the Arbitron Advisory Council, representing ABC affiliates in the top 50 markets. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) and the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (MSTV), and he has also served on the ABC Television Network Affiliates Association’s Board of Governors.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, Technology & Engineering, and Business & Financial Reporting. Beginning in 2006, NATAS began recognizing programming produced for the Internet, cell phones, and portable media players with its new Broadband Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Content for Broadband and Portable Delivery. Excellence in Primetime programming and international programming is recognized by its affiliate, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Regional Emmys are given in 19 regions across the United States. Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including National Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public. For more information, please visit the website at www.emmyonline.tv.