Longtime TV sales topper Lionel Schaen, who most recently was director of sales at KCET, died in Los Angeles on Wednesdayafter a long illness. He was 72.

“Lionel was a great friend and colleague,” said KCET president and CEO Al Jerome. “He loved the television industry, and KCET was very fortunate to have such a passionate advocate for public broadcasting.”

Schaen previously served as general manager of KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV) Los Angeles and director of sales for KABC-TV Los Angeles. A pioneer in interactive media, he served as president of Pay TV Service at Select TV, president of ACTV Interactive, director of domestic sales for Harmony Gold Program Distribution, and then became president of Hubbard Broadcasting’s USTV & USSB Satellite & Program Syndication.

His own programming and distribution company, Schaen Productions, has produced and sold more than 100 shows in syndication and to PBS.

Schaen was a professor at USC School of Cinema-Television and at USC’s Marshall Business School. He became treasurer and then president of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society and was chairman of the California Broadcasters Assn.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Schaen graduated from New York U. and also earned an M.B.A. from Pepperdine U. He started his career in advertising at Young and Rubicam, moving to become a salesman for ABC-TV in New York, before he transferred to KABC-TV in L.A.

He is survived by his wife, Jan; two sons; a daughter and three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to a cancer research organization.