Cumulus Creates New Programming Support Team With Many New Hires

Cumulus Media Tom Schurr Mary Berner Suzanne Grimes Mike McVayCumulus Media has created a new 14 person team of managers to focus on research and strategy for specific formats.

The group will report to Senior VP of Content and Programming Mike McVay. Along with the new team, Cumulus once again asserts that day-to-day programming decisions will revert to local market managers and programmers.

Joining Cumulus are Dr. Ed Cohen as VP/Ratings & Research, Doug Hamand as VP/Programming Operations, Cat Thomas as VP/CHR and Hot AC and Ralph Cipolla as VP/Analytics. Cohen was VP of Measurement Innovation for Nielsen and previously held Research management positions for Arbitron and Clear Channel. Hamand comes from iHeartMedia where he was SVP/Programming overseeing the company’s Tampa cluster. Cat Thomas recently exited CBS Radio as VP/Programming for the company’s Las Vegas cluster and PD of Rhythmic CHR 98.5 KLUC. Ralph Cipolla has run his own analytics consultancy since 2013 after leaving Jacobs Media.

Also Ken Johnson is promoted to VP/Urban. He was most recently Operations Manager of the company’s Birmingham stations and PD for Westwood One’s Touch Urban AC format.

The remainder of the support team will consist of new titles for.

Val Garris as VP/Analytics
Greg Frey as VP/Programming Operations.
Aaron Roberts as VP/Programming Communications/Partnerships.
Emily Boldon as VP/AC.
Troy Hanson as VP/Rock.
Brian Thomas as VP/Classic Hits.
Charlie Cook as VP/Country.
Bill Hess as VP/News and Talk
Scott Jameson as VP/Classic Rock.
Bruce Gilbert as SVP/Sports for Cumulus and Westwood One.
John Kilgo as VP/Label Relations.

Cumulus Media, Inc. announced today certain strategic additions to the corporate programming team in support of local market operations. The moves add resources in the key areas of research, strategy and format-specific expertise that leverage Cumulus’ national scale while giving day to day control to local market managers and programmers, with enhanced on-demand corporate capabilities that support their local efforts.

Mary Berner, Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media said: “Who knows their markets better than the people who live and work there? We believe that the injection of more local insight and more effective corporate support into our programming decisions will drive improved ratings outcomes for our stations. Consistent with this view, Cumulus program directors will now report to market managers and will have control over the day-to-day programming of their stations which has not been the case in the past. Our corporate programming team, with its specialized resources and expertise, will be led by Mike McVay and will support the markets in the execution of this content strategy and in the creation of programming that surprises and delights—and delivers ratings.”

Mike McVay, Senior Vice President, Content and Programming for Cumulus Media said: “Our goal is to create a high caliber group of corporate programming talents and resources that can be deployed efficiently and expeditiously to the benefit of local markets. We firmly believe that by rooting programming decisions in the markets, we are taking best advantage of local knowledge and insights while giving local decision-makers access to resources they might not otherwise have.”

Joining the new Cumulus corporate programming support team are senior programming professionals Dr. Ed Cohen, Vice President, Ratings and Research; Doug Hamand, Vice President, Programming Operations; Cat Thomas, Vice President, CHR and Hot AC; Ralph Cipolla, Vice President, Analytics; and Ken Johnson, Vice President, Urban.

Dr. Ed Cohen joins Cumulus from Nielsen Audio, where he led Nielsen’s connected car streaming audio research initiative as Vice President, Measurement Innovation. Cohen was previously Vice President, Measurement Innovation for Arbitron, following five years as Vice President, Research Policy and Communication and eight years as Vice President, Domestic Radio Research for Arbitron. Prior to that, Cohen was Vice President, Research for iHeartMedia/Clear Channel, and held research positions for the National Association of Broadcasters and Birch/Scarborough Research. He holds a Ph.D. in Mass Media from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of South Carolina.

Doug Hamand joins Cumulus from iHeart Media, where he was Senior Vice President, Programming and served iHeart Media/Clear Channel in various senior programming posts, including Regional Vice President, Programming, Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL, for over 21 years.

Cat Thomas joins Cumulus following a 27-year career with CBS Radio, where he was Vice President, Programming for CBS Las Vegas’ six station group. Thomas served as Program Director of 98.5 KLUC Las Vegas for 20 years, following seven years on-air and as Music Director at KLUC.

Ralph Cipolla joins Cumulus from Cipolla Analytics, LLC, a performance analytics consultancy founded by Cipolla in 2013, following a decade as a multi-platform Strategy, Branding, Research and Talent Consultant at Jacobs Media and jacapps Mobile, where he worked with stations of all formats and market sizes across the U.S. and Canada. Prior to that, Cipolla was Operations Manager and Program Director for 15 years, serving stations in Detroit, Jacksonville, FL, and Buffalo, NY.

Ken Johnson joins the Cumulus corporate programming support team from Cumulus station WUHT in Birmingham, AL, where he serves as Operations Manager. He was also Program Director for the Touch Urban AC format for Westwood One. Johnson’s 20-year programming career includes 13 years as a programmer and consultant to Cumulus Media, and programming posts in Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta and Wilmington, NC. He has hosted morning shows in Washington, D.C. and Boston.

Concurrently, Cumulus announces the promotion of nine current members of its programming support team. Val Garris, former Vice President, Programming, is promoted to Vice President, Analytics. Greg Frey, former Corporate Program Director, is promoted to Vice President, Programming Operations. Aaron Roberts, former Vice President, Programming Partnerships, is promoted to Vice President, Programming Communications/Partnerships. Emily Boldon, former Vice President, Stratus Music Programming and Corporate Program Director, is promoted to Vice President, AC. Troy Hanson, former Corporate Program Director, Rock Formats, is promoted to Vice President, Rock. Brian Thomas, former Corporate Program Director, Country and Classic Hits, is promoted to Vice President, Classic Hits. Charlie Cook, former Operations Manager, Cumulus Nashville, is promoted to Vice President, Country. Bill Hess, former Corporate Program Director, NewsTalk, is promoted to Vice President, NewsTalk. Scott Jameson, former Corporate Program Director, Classic Rock, is promoted to Vice President, Classic Rock. Bruce Gilbert remains Senior Vice President, Sports for both Cumulus Media and Westwood One. John Kilgo continues as Vice President, Label Relations.

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