Keith Turner lands Ryder from CBS for expanded post

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In his first move since taking over as president of NBC Sales, Keith Turner has moved news out of prime-time sales and combined it with sports and Olympics sales.

As expected, Duncan Ryder has been hired from CBS to head Olympics sales, Mr. Turner's previous position. But he takes the broader post of senior VP-news, sports and Olympics.

"I wanted to give news more attention," Mr. Turner said, adding that it lost out at times when teamed with prime-time sales.

"We want to give it the same cachet sports has," he said. "With the loss of football, we can give [news] the attention it deserves by combining it with sports."

A PHILOSOPHICAL CHANGE

The move is indicative of a philosophical change at NBC that Mr. Turner embodies.

"The business is changing so dramatically that it can't be business as usual," he explained. "We aren't selling `Cosby' and `Cheers' anymore. There are ratings and programming-cost issues that we've never had to face before.

"We want to move beyond cost-per-thousand battles to sell smarter and more effectively."

Billy Caulfield, VP-sales, planning and pricing for NBC, will be leaving and has been replaced by Mel Berning, named senior VP-sales, planning and pricing. Mr. Berning had been working on the NBC quality initiative begun by parent General Electric Co.

"Mel has experience in all dayparts, he's got great contacts at the agencies and he's one of the best numbers guys in the business," Mr. Turner said. "We've created a centralized planning group that we haven't had here before."

GAMBELLI'S MOVE

Mr. Turner also ended speculation he would name Marianne Gambelli to succeed Mike Mandelker, who subsequently became exec VP-network sales at UPN. Ms. Gambelli is now senior VP-primetime and specials. Mr. Mandelker's eastern sales post was eliminated.

"In effect, we're organized by dayparts now," Mr. Turner said.

Moving up to assist her is Gary Burke, who had been VP-director of daytime and late-night sales. He becomes VP-primetime and specials.

Also getting promotions are Jeff Lucas and Chris Raleigh, who will anchor daytime, late-night and overnight sales. Both are VPs-daytime, late-night, teens and overnight.

LINDEN PROMOTION KEY

Another key move, Mr. Turner said, is naming Jay Linden senior VP-sales development and marketing. Mr. Linden relinquishes daytime and late-night sales.

Mr. Turner called Mr. Linden's role "one of the biggest in the department going forward.

"We need fresh, creative ideas, and Jay's going to be the guy to help come up with them."

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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