Free Speech TV, the 24-hour television network and multi-platform digital news source, and the only national, independent news network committed to advancing racial, economic and environmental justice, today named veteran media executive and content innovator Eduardo (Ed) Leon to lead the 29-year-old organization through a new era of organizational growth and impact.
Mr. Leon was previously the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer for Arkansas PBS where he led strategy, content, and media operations across multiple platforms – elevating his teams to national prominence with multiple national Public Media Awards for Overall Excellence in Content, Community Engagement, and Education, and more than 30 Mid-America Emmy Awards.
Leon brings over 25 years of broadcast, digital media, and technology venture growth, including the creation of the pioneering Latinx cable network SiTV (now Fuse) and the digital learning media platform Wondrium. As a broadcast television producer in Los Angeles and New York, he produced signature shows for ABC/Disney, NBC, and CBS Distribution while working with top caliber talent like Star Jones, Montel Williams, Mario Lopez, and Dr. Phil McGraw. His awards include multiple Emmys, Golden Mike for news excellence, and Promax/BDA Awards for creative marketing.
“This is an exciting and challenging time for our beloved network,” said FSTV Board Chair Reggie Shuford. “In 2021, we re-dedicated ourselves to bringing multiracial America together to dismantle the structures and practices that perpetuate inequality and injustice. Ed embodies the media experience, social justice values and entrepreneurial instincts required to meet the demands of this moment.”
Leon’s lived experience has directly impacted his passion for changing narratives around democracy and racial justice. “As a Spanish-Speaking, Latino immigrant, I live the ideals and realities of diversity, equity and inclusion in my daily life – it feels inseparable from who I am,” said Leon. “I have intimate experience of being the ‘other’ on the outside looking in, but my professional experience is also a testament to the power of media for making our society more responsive to the cultural needs and values of all people who call this diverse nation home; a power of critical importance in this time of misinformation, divisive politics, and geopolitical instability.”
FSTV retained the executive search firm Scion Executive Staffing to conduct a national search. “Ed joins the FSTV team after an extensive national search that considered hundreds of candidates from across a range of media, technology and social justice disciplines,” said Scion’s Joanne MacGregor. “It has been a delight to work with an organization that is so invested in getting it ‘right.’ I’m proud of what we accomplished.”
Leon’s career experience ranges from executive management and media production, to deal making and creating strategic partnerships, to stewarding transformational change and innovating in media and digital ecosystems. With a multiyear plan for dramatically scaling up its operations, distribution and impact, the network aims to build upon Leon’s impressive record of business development.
He succeeds FSTV co-founder Jon Stout who over the last 29 years has served in several capacities including Executive Director, General Manager and Program Director. Stout will remain with FSTV as the Senior Strategist. “I’m in awe of what Jon and the entire FSTV team have built,” said Leon. “And I’m grateful to the FSTV board for the opportunity to lead this unique organization.”
Leon will assume leadership over a wide spectrum of daily and weekly news programs, independent documentaries, special events coverage, and calls-to-action that is principally distributed by DISH (9415), DIRECTV (348), full- and part-time cable affiliates, Sling TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Alexa, mobile apps, social media, and livestream on Freespeech.org. FSTV is owned and operated by Public Communicators, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization and is funded primarily by its viewers, with support from philanthropic foundations.
For further information, please reach out to Lydia Fiser at [email protected] and 303-542-4823
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