Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One, which now abbreviates itself as “WWO” rather than the commonly seen “WW1,” is bolstering its network sales organization with new hires in Los Angeles and Chicago — including the return of a talk-intensive VP who previously spent two years at Veritone Inc.
Joining the network radio operation are the following individuals:
- Stephen Gary as Director, National Sports Partnerships, based in Los Angeles
- Gina LaBanco, as Director, National Partnerships, based in Chicago
- Wesley O’Dell, as Director, National Partnerships, based in New York
- Craig Rossi, as Vice President/Spoken Word, based in Los Angeles.
All report to President/Sales Bryan Forbes.
“In 2018, we continue our evolution with several key hires to our top-notch sales organization, with each bringing diverse and unique experiences,” he said. “I have complete confidence that Stephen, Gina, Wes and Craig will hit the ground running to drive revenue growth while bringing maximum value to our clients and agency partners.”
Gary joins Westwood One with 10 years of global sales, marketing, and distribution experience. He previously served as SVP of Global Sales at CineTel Films.
LaBlanco arrives at WWO following a 13-year tenure at WMAQ-5 in Chicago, the NBC O&O in the Windy City, where she was responsible for the PGA, the NHL and the NFL. She has also been VP/Local Broadcast at Zenith Media and supervised the Lexus Dealer Association account, as well as being a local spot buyer for the Chicago market across TV, cable and radio.
O’Dell joins WWO after spending the last five years “gaining invaluable experience at programmatic and ad tech start-ups.”
For Rossi, it’s a return to WWO.
From 2011-2015, he was VP/Sales, West Region for the network, following a two-year stint as VP/Sales, Los Angeles for Cumulus Media, heading the relationship with the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club.
From 2008-2010, Rossi served as VP/West Region (small and mid-sized markets) for the former Citadel Media.
Before that, from 1990-2008, he was a successful Los Angeles market radio sales pro, serving as GM of KYSR-FM “Star 98.7”, Station Manager of KOST-FM 103.5 and KBIG-FM 104.3, GSM of the former KCMG-FM “Mega 100,” and as NSM for both KYSR and the former KIBB-FM “B100.3.”
In 2015, Rossi left the day-to-day activities of the radio industry for a role at AI-powered tech company Veritone, as a Business Development executive.
He exited last year, becoming Brand Partnerships Director of L.A.-based Workhouse Connect, described as “a content producer and omni-channel influence marketing agent connecting brands with artists, entertainers, opinion leaders, athletes and other taste makers who align their talent and their tribe with products and services for which they have a true affinity.”