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iHEART'S "TECH TRANSFORMATION" (UPDATE)

iHeartMedia is touting a “technology transformation” that includes a new organizational structure for its Markets Group and an enhanced role for artificial intelligence (AI). The announcement notes that the changes will “enable the company to maximize the performance of each of its markets—and the company overall—with its unique scale and multiple platforms.”

The iHeartMedia Markets Group, which will continue to be helmed by Markets Group President Greg Ashlock, will now consist of the following divisions:

The Region Division (including NYC, L.A. and the other biggest markets) will be headed by Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck. LeGrett previously served as Division President and EVP of Operations for the iHeart Markets Group, and is a 20+ year media veteran who joined iHeartMedia in 2010. Hopeck previously served as Division President for iHeart Markets Group, and is a 20-year media veteran with extensive experience in digital and sports marketing. 

The Metro Division (large, multi-community areas that are not regional hubs) will be led by Tom McConnell, Tony Coles and Linda Byrd. McConnell previously served as Division President of the iHeart Markets Group, with the responsibility for the P&L of more than 200 stations across the Northeastern U.S. Coles previously served as EVP of Programming for iHeart, and has more than 25 years of experience in the radio industry. Byrd previously served as Division President for the iHeart Markets Group, and is a 40-year media veteran who has been with iHeartMedia since 1982. 

The Community Division (single-community markets, with markets grouped by geography and cultural similarity) will be helmed by Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau and Dan Lankford. Abromovich has spent over a decade with iHeart, most recently serving as Market President for iHeartMedia Toledo. Gnau most recently served as President of iHeart’s Philadelphia Region, and has been with the company for more than 25 years. And Lankford previously served as Region President of iHeart’s Allentown-Harrisburg Region, with more than 35 years of experience in broadcasting, digital, sales and content creation. 

iHeart is also creating a new cross-market division, the Multi-Market Partnerships (MMP) Division, led by Julie Donohue, who is being upped to President of MMP. Prior to this, she spent four years as the SVP of Multi-Market Partnerships, where she oversaw enterprise business development for the Markets Group. Donohue previously led integrated marketing for iHeart’s Chicago market for 13 years, and her background also includes a 13-year tenure at CBS in Chicago, where she served as the Director of Sales. 

The Integrated Revenue Strategies group, led by President Hartley Adkins, will be merged into the iHeartMedia Markets Group, and Adkins will become Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Markets Group, working with Ashlock. 

The development causing the biggest buzz in radioland is the advent of iHeart’s Centers of Excellence. These AI-enabled nodes in the new structure will, the announcement trumpets, “consolidate functional areas of expertise” to maximize results. They are the fruit of the media behemoth’s massive technology investments, which include acquisitions like Jelli, RadioJar and Stuff Media.

 “iHeart is the rare example of a major traditional media company that has made the successful transformation into a 21st century media company – one with unparalleled scale, reaching 91% of Americans each month with our broadcast assets alone, more than any other media company,” goes a quote from Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman. “We are now using our considerable investments in technology to modernize our operations and infrastructure, further setting us apart from traditional media companies; improving our services to our consumers and advertising partners; and enhancing the work environment for our employees.”

Stay tuned for further developments.

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