Traug Keller: Taking the ESPN brand ahead of the curve


Traug joined ESPN as SVP/ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes in December 2004. He’s responsible for all aspects of ESPN Radio including talent, staffing, national programming content, scheduling, event production and coordination with ABC Radio Networks/Citadel for ad sales and affiliation needs.
Keller is also responsible for ESPN Deportes, coordinating synergistic efforts with ESPN’s domestic operations as well as enhancing and developing ESPN Deportes’ relationships with affiliates. They recently added oversight of the Bass and Outdoor business of ESPN.

Keller took on the role of Bristol, CT integration for Mobile ESPN in June 2006,
responsible for developing new, potentially exclusive, video content for the phone, driving more integrated promotions of Mobile ESPN on-air, and serving as Mobile ESPN’s rep in evaluating and executing on all other Mobile ESPN synergy ideas.

Prior to joining ESPN, Keller was President of ABC Radio Networks, responsible
for the ESPN Radio Network as well. He joined ABCRN as VP/Eastern Sales in 1994.
In 1997 Traug named EVP/Ad Sales and Marketing for ABC Radio Networks, including Radio Disney, ESPN, syndicated programming and Internet sales.

Prior to joining ABC, Keller was the NY Sales Manager for the CBS Radio Networks and held several different marketing and sales positions with the NY Times Company. FYI-in case you were wondering, "Traug" is an old German family name. Here, we ask him about the great success ESPN has been enjoying.

Q. What are the biggest challenges ESPN Radio faces today and down the road?
I think the current challenge right now is taking on the stewardship of the five O&Os and getting them into the culture of ESPN. That’s the immediate thing.
Longer term, something that I think we’ve done a fairly good job to date with is just keeping up with the growth explosion of the various new media opportunities.
Whether it’s HD, podcasting or dot com. We’re doing satellite, we’re doing all of that, but it’s making sure we’re still on top of our game.
As we move down the road it’s critical that we continue to satisfy our listeners as we have for 15 years on radio, and successfully expand our fan base on new

Q. How does the Citadel deal change the selling and sales support with ABC Radio Networks?
We had a separate force all along that sells in conjunction with the ABC Radio Network Team and that will continue, that partnership on the sales side. Our sales team works with the overall ESPN/ABC Integrated Sports Sales Marketing Group and then they will be working with the ABC/Citadel folks as well. We look
forward to a good partnership with Citadel. The dedicated sellers for ESPN Radio are staying with us and as they interacted with the ABC Radio Networks folks
that will continue.

Q. Are you looking for more O&Os?
Primarily we are in the content business and we have great relationships with our 326+ 24/7 affiliates. There are very, very few holes but where there are opportunities we will absolutely take a hard look.
| You can read more about his strategy in the July SmartMedia Magazine. |