Veteran TV executive Tony Cassara has been named CEO of Young Broadcasting LLC, following the exit of company founder Vincent Young. Tom Sullivan has been elected to fill Vincent Young’s other former post as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
“Young Broadcasting is experiencing a terrific resurgence, having emerged from bankruptcy with the best balance sheet in the industry,” Cassara said. “Its local, national and political revenue grew exponentially in 2010, and company margins topped those of our publicly traded peers, including Nexstar, Sinclair, Lin TV, Gray TV and Belo. Last year also saw Young’s second-highest net operating income ever. I am proud to lead Young and look forward to expanding our opportunities for continued success,” he added.
Cassara’s appointment completes a recent reorganization of the company and the senior management team. Deborah McDermott remains as President of Young Broadcasting LLC, with all 10 stations continuing to report to her.
“This is an exciting time to be at Young, which remains on track for a terrific 2011 under the guidance of the outstanding senior management team we have put in place at all of our stations. We are back, healthier than ever and I am honored to continue to manage this resilient organization, which has emerged as one of the strongest players in the industry,” said McDermott.
Cassara started in sales at Metromedia in New York, moved to Los Angeles’ KTLA in 1977 and became the youngest General Manager in the station’s history. Backed by KKR, he spearheaded the leveraged buyout of KTLA from Gene Autry for $245 million in 1982, and remained with the station until its 1985 sale to Tribune Broadcasting for the then-record single-station price of $530 million.
As President of Paramount Pictures’ Television Stations Group from 1993-2000, Cassara expanded the stations group from six to 20 television stations, generating record profits and making it one of Paramount’s most profitable business units. He joined Chartwell Partners, LLC as Executive Vice President in 2000, where he worked with Univision Chairman Jerry Perenchio to expand Univision’s business to include Telefutura, a second television network, by acquiring Barry Diller’s USA station Group. Cassara also led the Univision side of the joint venture to develop a suite of Spanish-language channels for satellite and cable in the US Cassara served as a Univision Director from 2005-08.
Cassara has served on several industry boards including, California Broadcasters Association, Hollywood Radio & Television Society, National Association of Broadcasters and TVB, where he was both a director and chairman of the board. In addition to Young, he currently serves on the Board of Hero Broadcasting (which operates KBEH in Los Angeles) and Seattle-based Fisher Communications Inc. He is one of the management-backed candidates for next month’s contested election at Fisher.