WESTWOOD ONE NAMES NEW CEO

Peter Kosann Moves up From Chief Operating Officer

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Westwood One has upped Peter Kosann to be its CEO, a move many suspected would come when Shane Coppola resigned last month.
Peter Kosann

Joined in 1999
Mr. Kosann was the company’s co-chief operating officer, along with Chuck Bortnik, who heads the traffic-side business and came in with the company’s 1999 acquisition of traffic giant Metro Networks. Mr. Kosann came to Westwood One as president-affiliate sales in 1999 and was promoted just over a year later to exec VP-network advertising sales. In 2003 he was named president-sales. Before Westwood One, he spent seven years at Bloomberg Financial Markets.

The publicly traded Westwood One is the country’s largest radio network, feeding more than 5,000 stations content such as Bill O’Reilly’s radio show, National Football League games, college football, “Imus in the Morning” and CBS Radio News. Infinity Broadcasting owns a minority stake in Westwood One.

Mr. Kosann steps into a challenging role, as radio companies have fallen out of favor with investors. The medium faces increased competition for listeners, from digital music players and online radio stations, and advertising revenue.

While the climate for traditional radio is an important indicator for Westwood One’s health, as a standalone content company, it isn’t wedded to any one particular distribution means. It, for example, provides traffic information for Sirius and could offer up its national programming as podcasts.

“Clearly our company plans to continue to invest in both compelling national programming and in infrastructure [for the local traffic and information],” said Mr. Kosann. “As a content company we’re excited by the possibilities of being able to deliver our programming through traditional and burgeoning new distribution channels.”

Dim picture for ad revenue
The ad revenue picture in 2005 wasn’t a bright one: Network radio represents a sliver of the total radio advertising revenues, a number that is flat from January 2005 through November 2005, according to the latest Radio Advertising Bureau numbers. National radio is down 2% during that period compared to the same time in 2004.

In fact, Mr. Coppola issued his resignation Dec. 8, the same day the company revised down its fourth-quarter earnings to a low single-digit decline, citing fourth-quarter ad weakness against solid demand for the same period last year.

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