What’s with all the changing of the guards?


By Carl Marcucci 

Has anyone noticed the massive changes in network radio management of late? Everyone seems to be coming in from non-radio industries as well. You’ve got people coming in from Yahoo to Premiere. You’ve got people coming in from print into Westwood. Makes one wonder—is this a good thing or bad?

Let’s see, of course, Premiere President Kraig Kitchin is out, replaced by CC Radio exec Charlie Rahilly beginning this year. Then it was Westwood One CEO Peter Kosann, replaced by Thomas Beusse in January. Beusse had previously been president of Time4 Media, a former division of Time Warner Inc.’s Time publishing business, where he oversaw a range of magazines including Golf, Field & Stream, Popular Science and Ski. Kosann is now at Connoisseur Broadcasting as the COO.

Premiere Radio Networks replaced EVP/Sales Rhonda Munk in late April with Carol Terakawa, former Regional Vice President of Sales/Southwest Region at Yahoo!.  Munk is now running the Dallas sales office.

Two other new people were named as the top management team at Westwood. Two, very recently at their national sales conference: Andrew Hersam to EVP/Sales and Chief Revenue Officer. Hersam was most recently VP/Publishing Director at Rodale Inc, where he worked on Runner’s World’s brand advertising and sponsorship revenue for print and digital.

Jonathan Marshall was named EVP/Business Affairs and Strategic Development Strategic Planning/Legal. Previously, he served as COO/General Counsel for RKO Pictures.

We asked Westwood One Director of Affiliate Relations Dennis Green what the philosophy was behind some of these hires: “Well, for us it’s really simple, summed up in four words: Fresh faces, fresh ideas. Listen, we’re all struggling, we’re all challenged right now in this environment—and having some fresh faces, fresh ideas, fresh perspective I don’t think can do anything but help us. If by bringing these guys in that maybe don’t have that radio background it helps us, I’m all for it. The rest of us have all tried and taken our shot—we’re still here swinging away—but having a different perspective, who knows, that might be the recipe. I think we have to give it a shot, and we are.”

Surveying more landscape, the competition is relatively pleased with these moves, too. “We believe that this is really positive for the industry,” said David Landau, Triton Media Networks/Dial Global Co-President/CEO. “Recruiting talent from digital and print only enhances the industry’s capabilities and client/agency contacts.”

RBR/TVBR observation: We agree, this might be a very positive situation. But at the end of the day, when the rubber meets the road, it’s about really knowing network radio and about radio getting its message out. Hopefully this might translate into some boosted cross-platform dollars for the medium as well.