Ask William A. Neal if he dreamed of working on television and he would answer categorically, “No.” Yet it is the thing that he is best known for. Neal says being a timid person naturally, he fell into television by accident and the success of his first story on the plight of the Homeless swayed him just enough to consider a career in television. Yet after spending two years as a field reporter for the newly formed Channel 5, he left the industry because of the pressures of being in the public eye and returned to teaching for close to six years. During that time, however, he dabbled in pioneering live television programs such “Lauren Da Maanin”; “Lauren Da Nite”; “Fanta Quest”; “Verandah Tales” and the station’s annual birthday celebration giveaway, “Gimme 5” before moving on to host KTV which soon made him a household name country wide.
Neal holds a Master of Arts degree in English (Technical and Professional Communication) from East Carolina University (ECU) after winning a full academic scholarship through the Organization of American States (OAS). After completing his program abroad, Neal returned to Belize and became the Director of the Institute of Creative Arts (ICA) and worked part time on television hosting KTV and Gimme 5. He served as ICA’s Director for close to 3 years before moving on to serve for one year as Communications Officer for UNICEF and then becoming a Consultant with Channel 5 specifically to co-host Open Your Eyes. Neal is presently working to establish his own Communication Consultancy under the name Wantime Kreeashions.
Today, most people know him for his work as a television host – Open Your Eyes, KTV and Duets; judge on “Masters of Da Floor”; and as a television journalist with Channel 5 for which he has won several awards including two CNN World Report Awards. He was awarded an MBE in 2007 for his contribution to the development of the Arts and entertainment in Belize and prides himself as an advocate for Youths and the Arts. His voluntary work also includes Belize Family Life Association (BFLA), a cause that he has been dedicated to since 1993.
Marleni Cuellar is co-host of Channel 5’s Morning Show, Open Your Eyes. Cuellar joined the Channel 5 team on August 25, 2006 as part time news anchor. At that time, she maintained her position at a local NGO, the National Committee for Families Children, doing public education and advocacy. Her passion to work with children started from a very early age having had much exposure as a child, herself, in advocating for children’s rights. In fact, Cuellar’s television debut was on Channel 5 as a guest on the One on One Dickie Bradley Show back in 1996 for that same purpose.
In 2003, Cuellar spent a year of volunteer service teaching primary school students while living in the Toledo district as a Jesuit Volunteer. When back in Belize City, she immersed herself back in the social sector, working with at-risk youths teaching life skills at the YMCA. This set the background for her to move on to UNICEF to coordinate XChange, a regional youth-led non-violence project. The heavy emphasis of the campaign was communicating an idea of change to young people in Belize. This passion for communicating ideas led to Cuellar taking up the challenge of advocating for children’s rights at the National Committee for Families and Children. She took on this task until August 2008 when she moved over to Channel 5 fulltime.
Marleni Cuellar has been co-host of Channel 5’s Morning Show, Open your eyes since the show premiered in 2008 and still currently delivers the nightly news live at 6:30 weeknights. She also works as a special correspondent producing a weekly health segment: Healthy Living.