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Cumulus Board of Directors Installs Mary G. Berner as CEO; Lew Dickey to Remain as Vice Chairman and Director. New Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary G. Berner has been a member of the board of directors of Cumulus since May and she replaces company founder Lew Dickey as CEO – although Dickey will remain a director of the company as serve as vice chairman. The Cumulus board of directors states Berner is a “seasoned media business operator” who previous experience includes her most recent post as president and chief executive officer of the Association of Magazine Media. From 2007-2011, she was chief executive officer of Reader’s Digest Association and, before that, chief executive officer of Fairchild Publications. The press statement continues: “During the course of her highly successful career, she has led some of the world’s best known brands and content platforms, including Glamour, TV Guide, W, Women’s Wear Daily, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Allrecipes.com.” Cumulus board chairman Jeffrey Marcus – who also serves as a partner with Crestview Partners (which manages funds that own 27% of Cumulus stock) – says, “Under Lew Dickey’s leadership, the Cumulus team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide. However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently. At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, Cumulus needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources – from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms – and capitalize on the industry’s strong fundamentals. The board has had the benefit of seeing Mary in action and is fully confident that she is the right leader for Cumulus.” Berner comments, “I am honored to have been asked to lead Cumulus Media and am eager to work with the board and the company’s talented teams to implement Lew’s vision of building the next generation multi-platform media company. As the director who led the Operations Review Task Force established by the board, I have insight into the issues that Cumulus faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution. Radio is a powerful and unique medium – the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. – and Cumulus possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry’s winners. I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help Cumulus realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders.” The press statement makes no mention of the status of John Dickey, EVP content & programming, but the New York Post is reporting he has exited the company and a “huge reorganization” is impending. TALKERS has not confirmed those reports. Cumulus stock, which has been battered in recent months, closed today (9/29) at 68 cents per share.
Michael Harrison Interviews Harry Hurley About “All Things New Jersey” – Including Host’s Two-Year Tenure as Senior Exec at Trump Atlantic City Hotel. In a riveting one-one-one discussion about the various ways the Garden State has been recently evoked in the national presidential conversation, Michael Harrison interviews WPGG, Atlantic City “morning mayor” (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member) Harry Hurley on the latest installment (9/29) of the Podcast One international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Prior to launching a stellar 25-year career as a major New Jersey radio personality, Hurley worked directly for Donald Trump as the senior executive of one of his four Atlantic City Hotels (a job for which “The Donald” personally interviewed and subsequently supervised him) and candidly discusses what it was like being with the current GOP front-runner during those heady days along the Jersey Shore. Hurley worked with Trump personally every weekend for two years and shares important first-hand insights into the billionaire’s management style, business instincts and character. In addition, the Jersey-born talker shares his insights, based on experience, into the economic role and cultural direction of casino gambling in the nation. He also talks about his personal on- and off-air encounters with Gov. Chris Christie (including insights to “bridgegate” and the Dallas Cowboys/Jerry Jones debacle) as well as the effect that the Miss America pageant (for which Hurley has served as a preliminary judge) has on the region. Michael Harrison states, “New Jersey is an enigmatic, colorful home to nine million with its own unique set of extraordinary assets, daunting challenges and notably engaged local media. I can think of no one more qualified to provide outsiders with an accurate explanation of this endlessly intriguing, largely misunderstood state and its compelling connection to current national politics than WPGG morning master Harry Hurley.” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Radio industry services start-up DGital Media launches a production division called DGital Media Studios. The company says the division “will focus on developing and producing proprietary audio content” and its first project is a fantasy sports platform called Fantasy Sports Voices…..AMG/Parade announces the launch of “Athlon Sports Radio” on SiriusXM. The Monday and Tuesday evening program will air from 7:00 to 9:00 ET on Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation. The program grows out of the company’s 10-plus preseason magazines covering college, professional and fantasy football, college basketball, professional baseball, golf and NASCAR. AMG/Parade was formerly Athlon Media Group which consists of the newspaper-distributed magazines Athlon Sports & Life, Parade, American Profile, Spry Living, and Relish…..British soccer legend Sir Alex Ferguson will sit down for an in-studio Q&A at the SiriusXM studios in New York as part of its “Town Hall” series. Sir Alex will chat with SiriusXM host Charlie Stillitano before a live, studio audience on Friday, October 9.
Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Boehner’s Exit from Congress, Obama-Putin Meeting, and Water on Mars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The unveiling of the Donald Trump tax plan; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; the state of the GOP in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner’s announced resignation from Congress; the tensions between Russia and the United States and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin at the UN on Monday; and NASA’s revelation of the discovery of water on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.