Leonard To Be NET’s New Leader

News Release Date: 
May 1, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. (May 1, 2013) – Mark Leonard, general manager for Illinois Public Media, the public television and radio services of the University of Illinois in Urbana, was named general manager and chief executive officer of NET April 30. He will start Aug. 1, according to Ken Bird, chair of the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission.

“Mark Leonard is the right fit for Nebraska and NET,” Bird said. “His professional background, positive and progressive attitude, and strong communication and leadership skills make him the perfect person to ensure NET maintains its important public broadcasting role at the state, regional and national levels.”

Leonard has worked at six public broadcast stations during his 32-year public broadcast career. He was chief administrative officer for KCTS Seattle; general manager for KYVE Yakima, Wash.; vice president for television at WXXI Rochester, N.Y.; and worked for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He has served as producer and executive producer on many local, regional and national television productions, winning numerous industry awards including three EMMYS®, a CINE Golden Eagle, and five New York State Broadcasters Association awards.

Leonard is president of the Illinois Public Broadcasters Council, the association of all public television and radio stations in Illinois; a board member of the national University Licensee Association; a member of the Communications Advisory Committee for PBS; and a board member of the Public Media Business Association. 

Joining Bird in making the announcement were search committee members Dick Shoemaker, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission member; John McPhail, NET Foundations board chair; and Ellen Weissinger, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The position reports to Weissinger.

“Mark Leonard has built an excellent career that fully prepares him to lead NET,” Weissinger said. “He’s respected by the staff and constituents at his former stations and he is influential nationally. Nebraskans will like Mark and will appreciate his genuineness and commitment to the state. NET has served us exceptionally well for decades, and Mark is a great fit for leading our next phase of innovation and service. His connections with another Big Ten campus are a real plus for UNL.”

In making the announcement, the committee thanked outgoing General Manager Rod Bates, who will retire June 30 after 18 years at the helm. Bates is only the second leader in the statewide public broadcasting network’s 59-year history.  He was hired when the network’s founding General Manager Jack G. McBride retired in 1996. David Feingold, NET assistant general manager for content, will serve as interim GM during July.

NET operates the statewide public broadcast network that includes NET Television, NET Radio, NET Learning Services and NET Technology Services. To learn more, visit netNebraska.org.

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Release written by:  Mary Jane Winquest, 402.470.6247, or email mjwinquest@netNebraska.org.

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