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Communication & Media

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Ed Carroll Offers 7 Tips to Success for Students


Ed Carroll, a 1985 graduate of the college who is now the president of a major cable television network, gave students seven tips to a path to success in a recent visit to New Paltz. And his first tip was one all of the students had already acted on: he told them the road to success begins with becoming a student at the College at New Paltz!

It is a formula that worked for Carroll who is now president of Rainbow Entertainment Services, which includes three major cable networks – the American Movie Channel (AMC), Women’s Entertainment (WE) and the Independent Film Channel (IFC). He was brought to campus on October 23 by the Department of Communication and Media because he was a Radio-Television Management major when he attended College at New Paltz.

As a SUNY New Paltz student, Carroll was very involved with the campus radio station and was even the general manager. “I was surrounded by great people, all of us loving radio. We had this great enthusiasm and generated lots of ideas, and I really had fun,” said Carroll in an interview for Faces of New Paltz (

Carroll also said that two of his New Paltz professors influenced him tremendously. One was Radio and Television Management professor James Smith, who retired last year. The other was Robert Miraldi, a professor in the Journalism program. “Ed is someone who is easy to remember,” Dr. Miraldi said. “He was smart, he was enthusiastic and it was clear way back that he had a great future.”

Another one of Carroll’s suggested tips for success was that students get an internship. When he was attending New Paltz, Carroll had a paid public relations internship at IBM in Fishkill, NY in the spring of 1985. At the end of the semester, IBM asked Carroll to stay through the summer. He accepted.

After leaving IBM, Carroll took a job at Rainbow in 1987. He helped to launch the cable network IFC (which showcases critically acclaimed independent movies) in 1994 and became the general manager of Bravo in 1997 until it was sold to NBC in 2002. During his time working for Bravo, Carroll helped to transition the network from a small pay channel to a standard commercial network with more than 68 million subscribers.

As president of Rainbow Entertainment Services, Carroll has increased multi-platform programming activities at each network, including Web, broadband, and On Demand. Carroll told students that Digital Video Recording and the Internet are both an opportunity and a threat to his networks.

An example of one of these opportunities has resulted in the broadband site IFC Media Lab, which is a site for user-generated short films ( The difference between IFC Media Lab and other sites for user films, such as YouTube, is that IFC regulates all of the short films submitted to its site for quality.

One threat that Carroll said DVR and the Internet are bringing to networks is that people can now skip through commercials. This is hurting advertising agencies, and because most television programming is run from advertising revenue, it’s making it harder for the networks to produce television shows.

As an alternative to commercials, more television shows are using product placement in their programming. “Product placement is here to stay,” Carroll said. “But I think marketers are learning to do it well.”

When asked where he thought television would be 20 years from now, Carroll said he thinks high definition television will be prominent and television will have distinguished itself as a viewing experience.

Carroll lives in Huntington, NY and Manhattan. He is married to Gina O’Brien, who he met at SUNY New Paltz, and they have two children.