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Amid Layoffs, Scannell Elected Chair Of WNYC Board

scannell.jpgLike almost every media outlet today, public radio station WNYC is facing tough times — as we reported yesterday it is now cutting 4 employees and eliminating eleven other unfilled positions. So it is with high hopes that the WNYC board has elected Herb Scannell chair of the station’s board of trustees.

Scannell seems like a wise choice to help lead WNYC into the future of media; he is currently chairman of Next New Networks, an independent producer of online television networks. (You may know it as the home of web celeb Julia Allison‘s “TMI Weekly” or the company that picked up Obama Girl creators BarelyPolitical.com.) He also previously served as vice chair of MTV Networks and president of Nickelodeon before co-founding Next New Networks in 2006, and he brings 25 years of media experience to his role at WNYC.

“As the models of traditional journalism are radically altered by the economy and the fast-paced demands of the online world, public radio has been able to retain its journalistic values while embracing new platforms and expanding its reach,” NYC president Laura Walker said in a statement yesterday. “We’re honored to have Herb, with his invaluable digital experience, at the helm during a time of rapid change and tremendous possibilities.”

Full release after the jump


Herb Scannell Elected to Chair of WNYC Board of Trustees

(June 3, 2009 — New York, NY) – Herb Scannell has been elected to Chair of the WNYC Radio Board of Trustees. WNYC is the nation’s most listened-to public radio station, with a radio listenership of over one million.

Mr. Scannell, Chair of Next New Networks and former Vice Chair of MTV Networks, brings over 25 years of media programming, distribution and business management experience to his new role.

“We are excited to have Herb assume the role as Chair of the Board of Trustees,” said WNYC President Laura Walker. “Herb has been a major innovator in new and traditional media for over two decades, leading Nickelodeon to become cable’s top-rated network for a decade, and most recently co-founding Next New Networks, a leading independent in internet television/video. As the models of traditional journalism are radically altered by the economy and the fast-paced demands of the online world, public radio has been able to retain its journalistic values while embracing new platforms and expanding its reach. We’re honored to have Herb, with his invaluable digital experience, at the helm during a time of rapid change and tremendous possibilities.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of WNYC at this critical time in the station’s – and the industry’s — evolution,” said Herb Scannell. “Unknown to many, my first job in media was in radio, and I’ve always been passionate about the immediacy and intimacy of the medium. WNYC means a lot to me as a New Yorker and an avid listener, and it is one of the most innovative producers in the industry. The station has taken its place as the convener of the New York conversation, and the street-level Jerome L. Greene Performance Space is opening up new ways to engage people in that conversation. I’m thrilled to serve in this role as WNYC addresses the next set of challenges and goals for itself, especially as we aim to build a both a larger and broader listener base and increase capacity online.”

Herb Scannell is co-founder Next New Networks, a company launched in Fall 2006 that produces, packages and distributes micro-television networks targeting niche communities on the Internet. Currently Chairman, he began as CEO and pioneered a strategy of super distribution, distributing Next New Networks programs to over 20 partners, including YouTube, AOL, and iTunes. Mr. Scannell guided the company through two rounds of funding, raising $23 million from blue chip companies including Spark Capital, Saban Media, Goldman Sachs and Velocity Interactive Group. Next New Networks garnered over 300 million video views last year and has been cited for its innovative brand integrated advertising.

Prior, Mr. Scannell was Vice Chairman of MTV Networks and President Nickelodeon Networks. There, he oversaw all creative and business operations for a portfolio of brands and businesses for MTV Networks, including Nickolodeon, the #1 rated cable TV network; TV Land, the cable channel devoted to classic TV shows; and Spike TV, cable’s first network for men. Additionally, he built Nickelodeon into the third largest licensing business in the world, catapulted it into the digital era with the launch of TurboNick and the acquisition of Neopets, and brought Nickelodeon into the movie-making business, making it one of Paramount Pictures most profitable producers.

Mr. Scannell first joined MTV Networks as Director of Programming, Nickelodeon in 1988. He was instrumental in transforming Nickelodeon into a major content producer with the birth of Nicktoons (Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and Doug) and innovative live action shows. He set a course that doubled the network’s animation output and built the first new animation studio in Los Angeles in 40 years, bringing top hits including Spongebob Squarepants, Hey Arnold, Fairly Odd Parents, Blues Clues and Dora The Explorer into fruition.

Earlier, Mr. Scannell held marketing and promotional positions at The Movie Channel and Showtime, and he started his career in radio at WHN Radio in New York.

In addition to WNYC, Mr. Scannell serves on the Boards of Ballet Hispanico, a leading Hispanic dance and cultural institution in New York, and Si TV, the first English-language Latino entertainment and lifestyle network on cable TV.

Mr. Scannell is a graduate of Boston College, and lives with his family in New York City.

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