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January 09, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-01-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


>> on the cover

Auto Show

A journey from Hebrew school to CNN to Chrysler.

Ed Garsten

Allan Nahajewski I Contributing Writer


This year, preview days are Jan. 13-14. Expect a major
new product introduction from Chrysler.
"Detroit's the place to do it:' Garsten says. "It's the big-
gest show of the year, so it's the time to shine. About 6,000
media members will be there:'
Chrysler is hoping to build on its momentum of nine
straight profitable quarters and 45 months of sales gains.
The company will be introducing a few "buzz" models at
the show as well as expanding its Mopar display.
The schedule of live online events and web chats is
available at blog.ChryslerGroupLLC.com .
New technology and the acquisition of a live streaming
channel have been key enablers for Garsten and his team.
"We have a piece of equipment called the HD500. It's
about the size of a small computer desktop tower, and it's
literally a TV station in a box:' he says. "We can plug in
five cameras, roll in video and graphics and go live from
virtually anywhere you have power and an Internet con-

Where It All Began
Garsten, 61, of West Bloomfield, is in his ninth year with
Chrysler. He's also a 20-year veteran of CNN. Growing up
in Queens, he never anticipated a career as a communica-

tions executive.
"But I've always had a thing for writing:' he says.
"When Stanley Perlman moved away in second grade,
I wrote him a song that we played on these little flutes
called tonettes. The whole class played the 'Goodbye,
Stanley' song. It was the first song I ever wrote:'
Another early sign of a future life in the media: "My
brother and I bought song sheets and acted out radio
shows in our room, but I never thought of it as a career.
"I thought I wanted to be a phys ed teacher. My father
asked why, and I said I noticed they drink a lot of coffee
and seem pretty happy:'
He went to State University of New York at Oswego to
play soccer. "But I got involved in the campus radio sta-
tion and never kicked the ball once he says.
Shortly after joining the station, Garsten became its
news director. "Once I changed my course, I went full bore
at it:' he says. "It was a great station. Al Roker worked
there. I was his program director during my last year."
Garsten also worked as a disc jockey, but became fas-
cinated with the news. "My idols were Hughes Rudd and
Bruce Morton from the CBS Morning News. They were
brilliant writers, and I decided I've just got to do this:'
That led to a move to Tucson, where Ed and his wife,
Susan, pursued master's degrees at the University of
Arizona. He worked at a couple of radio stations there as a

DJ and at the local ABC-TV affiliate, first as the weekend
weatherman, then as a full-time reporter. "Then the pro-
ducer quit, and the boss said, 'I'll give you a $6,000 raise
if you start producing: My first day as producer, Ronald
Reagan got shot:'

CNN Calling

After two years in Arizona, Garsten headed to Atlanta
to work for CNN. He was one of 10 producers hired to
launch Headline News. "It was November 1981:' Garsten
recalls. "I had an old Datsun wagon with no heat, and it
was a cold drive across Texas. We showed up a few days
before Thanksgiving and launched on New Year's Day in
1982, so we had five weeks to figure it out"
Garsten has the distinction of producing the first live
show on CNN Headline News. "I was scheduled to pro-
duce the second show, but the first show crashed, and
they had to roll a rehearsal tape, so I did the next show. It
was all live, and it went fine:'
After two years with Headline News, Garsten trans-
ferred to the main network. Eventually, he became a
full-time correspondent in CNN's Southeast bureau. "I
covered some interesting stories, like the Jim Bakker PTL
scandal; he recalls. "I got to go to a Davy Crockett family

Auto Show on page 10

A Jewish Car Guy

Ford designer prepares for the auto show.

Jackie Headapohl

Managing Editor


on Zaback, a longtime designer at
Ford Motor Co. and now its cre-
ative operations manager, is busy
getting ready for the North American
International Auto Show (NAIAS) in
Detroit. He's in charge of resource man-
agement: choosing the vehicles, getting
them to the show, working with vendors,
making sure all the executives who will be
speaking get media training, and on and


on and on.
"We're pretty busy," says Zaback, who
is an active member of Adat Shalom
Synagogue. He lives with his wife, Shelly,
in Farmington Hills. Together they have
four sons.
Zaback says he gets to enjoy a few
weeks off at the end of the year when Ford
closes for the holiday. "But there's always
something to take care of," he adds.
Ford plans to make some big news and
introduce new products in Detroit this
year. "The Detroit auto show is now on
the international pulse. It's the largest plat-

form for making news," Zaback says.
The glitz and glamour are coming
back to the NAIAS, which had some
rather austere years when crosstown
rivals General Motors and Chrysler had
taken the federal bailout back in 2008-
"Ford didn't take a bailout, so we went
full force to that auto show," Zaback says.
"It was a contrast to GM and Chrysler. But
in the past couple of years, things have
changed. There's a new life to Detroit,
and some cache to the 'made in Detroit'

Lon Zaback

There are very few Jewish "car guys" in
the industry, Zaback says, "and we sort of
find each other. Ford has a Jewish employ-
ee organization that creates opportunities

Car Guy on page 10

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