TV6′s Scott Zerbel retires after 38 years

The veteran broadcaster directed the TV6 Canathon for decades and worked at many departments at the station.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 7:06 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Thursday is retirement day for a veteran broadcaster at TV6.

Scott Zerbel is retiring after 38 years. The Marquette native has been an integral part of the TV6 Canathon and worked in many departments at the station. Zerbel will retire as the TV6 marketing and creative services director, but his start was a bit different.

“I was going to school at Northern Michigan University earning a degree in broadcasting with a minor in filmmaking and I decided TV6 would be a great place to get some experience,” Zerbel said. “I applied for a couple of jobs and then TV6 had an opening for a studio camera operator. I got hired and came on board in August 1984.”

Zerbel never left. After graduating, Zerbel transitioned to the producer of Upper Michigan today in January 1987. On the show, Zerbel filmed many things, including a cooking segment every Friday. Zerbel also worked on a show called Upper Michigan Tonight.

“Over that period of time when I worked on Upper Michigan Today, I was involved in a little over 1,800 different programs,” Zerbel said. “I produced, I was on camera, I filmed, edited and did all kinds of things.”

Since producing Upper Michigan Today, Zerbel has worked in many different positions at TV6.

“He was local programming manager, marketing assistant, creative services director, marketing manager and he even worked in news for a period of time,” TV6 General Manager and Vice President Rick Rhoades said.

Rhoades said Zerbel will be hard to replace.

“Just kind of looking back at his career and what he has done, he is one of the pillars that has helped form the foundation of TV6 for so many years,” Rhoades said. “He has accomplished a lot and won a lot of awards. He has been an innovator in long-form video in this market and he is just a solid worker.”

Zerbel has won over 45 broadcaster awards in his career. This includes two Iris Awards from the National Association of Television Program Executives. The first of which was for his 30-minute special on the Press-on-Regardless road rally. Zerbel said this award was probably the most surprising of his career.

“Sue McQuaid and I, she was the producer and I was the assistant producer on the Press on Regardless road rally which was a half-an-hour special program following the rally up in the Keweenaw,” Zerbel said. “We had three crews and shot through the night two days straight. We entered that in the National of Television Program Executives Iris Awards on a fluke and we won.”

Outside of his numerous awards, Zerbel has also been involved with the TV6 Canathon since his start in 1984. Zerbel began directing the canathon in 1990, with the goal of expanding the can collection outside of Marquette County.

“I enlisted the assistance of radio stations and other volunteer groups to help establish that,” Zerbel said. “Over the years the faces and the names have changed but the mission is always the same and that is to help feed a hungry neighbor.”

The TV6 Canathon has collected 4.68 million pounds of food since it began, in large part due to Zerbel. After retirement, Zerbel will no longer direct the canathon. Zerbel said he has other things planned in his free time.

“The first thing I’m going to do is work on my golf game,” Zerbel said. “Whether that is a good or a bad thing, I don’t know.”

Zerbel added that he will be spending more time with his family, including his newly born granddaughter.

Zerbel said he will miss his coworkers. Zerbel emphasized that he will never forget the many stories he has been able to tell about the people in the U.P.

“I have traveled from Ironwood to Drummond Island and from the Keweenaw to Menominee doing stories, meeting people and that kind of thing,” Zerbel said. “That is one thing I have enjoyed about the job.”

The new leader of TV6′s creative services department will be Tony Stagliano.

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