J. Michael Collins spent nearly 40 years at the helm of WNED-TV (Channel 17), mostly as president and chief executive officer, until his 1998 retirement. His relentless jawboning, both on the air and behind the scenes, boosted Channel 17 into household-word status throughout Western New York and nearby Canada. He’s nationally known as one of public TV’s most prodigious fundraisers and marketers. Collins engineered the station’s move to Horizons Plaza near the Waterfront. He also presided over the purch ase of WEBR AM-FM and the establishment of WNEQ-TV (Channel 23).