Ezra Kucharz has been named President, Local Digital Media, for CBS’s newly-formed local broadcasting business segment. His hiring, effective February 16th, was announced by Anton Guitano, COO of the local media operation.
Kucharz will be responsible for conceiving and executing the company’s local online media strategy utilizing the combined assets and digital operations of CBS’s 29 television stations and CBS Radio’s 36 news, sports and talk stations.
Kucharz joins CBS from FiLife.com, an IAC and Dow Jones personal finance joint venture. For the past 14 months, Kucharz has served as President and General Manager of the financial question and answer platform that connects people who have personal finance questions to experts in the field leading all day-to-day and strategic activities including revenue growth, new business and product development, technology, research and editorial operations. Under Kucharz’ leadership, FiLife has grown to the No. 4 personal finance site on the Internet.
“CBS has a tremendous opportunity to create a next generation local marketplace,” said Guitano. “We have an unparalleled collection of major-market television and radio broadcast outlets, and a host of other resources across the Corporation, to ensure that this initiative is a success. Working alongside Peter Dunn, Dan Mason and myself, we are confident that Ezra will give our new, combined Local Media business an online platform that will be top-of-mind for our audience and a valuable, targeted vehicle for our clients,” he added.
Kucharz has more than 15 years experience creating, evolving, and managing a number of leading Internet properties. From 2007-08, Kucharz was Executive Vice President, North American Online and Global Platforms at Oberon Media. Prior to that, he held a number of senior level positions at NBC Universal, including COO for iVillage following its acquisition by NBCU in 2006, Senior Vice President, Digital Innovation and Senior Vice President, Digital Media. As one of the first digital employees hired by NBC Universal in 2004, he was instrumental in launching the company’s digital media business unit and its broadband studio.
The United States Tennis Association hired Kucharz in 2001 as its Managing Director, Advanced Media. During his tenure he was charged with implementing the strategic vision for the new USTA business unit. While there, he also produced and directed the operations of the popular USOpen.org website.
In 1995, Kucharz founded one of the first online digital sports media companies, Total Sports. In addition to developing numerous pioneering online sports technologies including the first online cybercast of a college basketball game and locally managed community-based college sports publishing, Kucharz managed sales and business development activities for a network of 105 websites. He also has served as executive producer of several major sporting events’ online destinations including the Final Four, College World Series and US Open Golf Championship.
Kucharz has an unusual educational background for a media job. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University in biomedical engineering and worked for NASA in their space shuttle and space station medical operations departments following graduation. He later earned master’s degrees in engineering management and medical informatics at the University of Houston and Duke University, respectively.
RBR-TVBR observation: He certainly has strong digital media credentials. We would note also the sports background. That should certainly be beneficial in growing the local digital operations for the CBS O&O radio and TV stations.