Created station group starting with a single outlet

Weigel Broadcasting Co. chairman Howard Shapiro died Thursday of pneumonia in the Chicago suburb of Glencoe, Ill. He was 86.

Shapiro guided Weigel from a single UHF station in Chicago to a company with more than 10 stations in three markets as well as involvement in two national broadcast networks. He was still working as recently as last week.

His first brush with television came in 1964, when as founder of TV retailer C.E.T., he began to advertise on WCIU-TV, Chicago’s first UHF television station. He later bought stock in the financially troubled station and eventually took over operations and ownership through the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Weigel owns stations in Chicago and Milwaukee and South Bend, Ind., including CBS and Telemundo affiliates.

Shapiro received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue U., where he worked at WBAA Radio, as well at a local commercial radio station. He served as an officer in the Navy during WWII; after the war, he pursued graduate studies at Northwestern U.

Shapiro was president of the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from 1983-1987 and was presented with its Silver Circle Award in 1997.

He is survived by his three sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.

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