"Viacom is extremely fortunate to have the depth of management to be able to elevate a great executive like John to an important new role."
——Mel Karmazin, Viacom President/COO
VH1/CMT President Named Infinity Chairman;
McGrath Takes Control of Both Channels
The intrigue at VH1 is worth an episode of its own hit series Behind the Music.

VH1/CMT President John Sykes, a veteran of the MTV family since the channel’s inception in 1981, has been named Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Infinity Radio by Viacom President/COO Mel Karmazin. MTV Group President/Chairman Interactive Music Judy McGrath has been named President MTV Networks Music Group, giving her full responsibility for VH1, CMT and all of the company's digital-music services, as well as MTV and MTV2.

Said Karmazin: "Viacom is extremely fortunate to have the depth of management to be able to elevate a great executive like John to an important new role. With 25 years in the music industry and having worked successfully in every facet of the business, he is the absolute ideal person to lead Infinity Radio, one of Viacom's largest generators of revenue and earnings. Since 1994, John has guided VH1 to unprecedented success and established the network as one of the strongest brands in cable. He has also reinvigorated CMT. Working with the great team already in place at Infinity, I am confident that John will generate new energy and even greater financial returns. And he can always get Sumner on the phone."

Added MTV Networks Chairman Tom Freston: "Under John's leadership, VH1 has become a real force in the music and television industries and CMT is well on its way to new levels of success."

In this new role, Sykes will report to Karmazin and be responsible for the radio broadcasting operations of Infinity's 183 owned and operated stations. Dan Mason will continue to serve as President of Infinity Radio, reporting to Sykes, while Viacom Outdoor President/CEO Wally Kelly will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of that division, reporting to Karmazin.

Sykes said: "I am thrilled to have this great new opportunity. Infinity Radio is one of the crown jewels of our company. Infinity has the strongest positions in the biggest markets, and clearly the greatest on-air talent in radio. Does this mean I get to go on Howard Stern?"

Sykes began his music industry career at CBS Records in 1977, before joining Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment as part of the original team that launched MTV before leaving in 1988 to become President of Champion Entertainment. He also held posts at CAA, Chrysalis Records and EMI Music Publishing before returning to head VH1 in 1994. Sykes added CMT to his duties in 2000, when Viacom acquired the channel through its merger with CBS/Infinity. He was responsible for record growth at VH1 by bringing in such acclaimed programs as Behind the Music, Storytellers and Pop Up Video as well as specials like VH1 Divas and My VH1 Music Awards. He also launched VH1 Save the Music, a pro-social initiative (and a pet project of his pal Hillary Clinton) started in 1997 to raise public awareness and support music education in the nation's public schools, raising more than $17 million worth of musical instruments.

McGrath will take over responsibilities for both VH1 and CMT, including theatrical movie releaes under MTV music brands and all ancillary businesses. She also extends her current International Creative Director duties to cover worldwide operations for VH1 and CMT. Expect her to hire heads of both channels in the near-future and make changes in VH1’s production department. McGrath was named MTV President in 1994, then was upped to President MTV Group & Chairman Interactive Music, with Van Toffler upped from GM to President MTV/MTV2.

Said Freston: "This job was made for Judy. Under her direction, MTV has grown from a maverick cable channel to a maverick global brand that has come to symbolize a culture, a style, an attitude and a vibrant musical landscape. Her strong business sensibilities have taken MTV to its highest ratings in 20 years. Which means I can now play tennis and golf most of the time."

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