Honoring Zvi Shoubin, A Pioneer of Television
On Sunday, I attended the funeral of Zvi Shoubin, with whom I had the pleasure of working for 8 years. Zvi worked until only days before his death last week at the age of 86, and with over 65 years in the TV business (His first TV job was in 1949!). When I met him, he was managing director of Television Programming at Maryland Public Television (MPT). That was his second career. Before that, he was a television pioneer. The Buddy Dean show, upon which the play and movie "Hairspray" was based, was a show that Zvi produced and directed in Baltimore at WJZ. Zvi ran commercial stations in New Orleans, Chicago and other places. He was the first to put Soupy Sales on television. He had a role in the launch of Second City TV.
Zvi retired the day he turned 65. Two months later, his wife Arlene died. He became a volunteer at MPT in the programming office. Months later, he became the program director. That was more than 20 years ago. Only three years ago, Zvi was named Programmer of the Year by the Public Television Programmers Association. It was not an honorary title.
Zvi served on various PBS panels until it became difficult for him to travel about a year and half ago. This picture is from 2011, the day Zvi (left) was inducted into the NATAS "Golden Circle."
Zvi said what he meant and meant what he said ("What are they going to do, fire me? Be my guest!"). Having the good fortune to cross paths with Zvi gave me the chance to learn much, laugh hard, and enjoy some of his very excellent cooking.
There will not be another like him.