VP and General Manager, Pac-12 Networks
By BCST Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/4/2012 12:01:00 AM
“This is now the fun part,” she says, “deciding what our programming grid will look like and hiring the faces of our networks.” And her first three talent hires have been All-Star choices: Ronnie Lott, Rick Neuheisel and Summer Sanders all have ties to Pac-12 schools.
Murphy-Stephans is no stranger to sports, or to running the production side of a sports network. A former Olympic speedskater, she was the first woman in TV sports history to be named a vice president.
She joined ABC Sports in 1986 to work on the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. Eight years later, she was named VP of programming and acquisitions for ABC Sports. In that role, she negotiated worldwide media rights for events, created original sports programming and oversaw ABC’s legendary Wide World of Sports. In 1995, she was appointed to the Lifetime Television board of directors to oversee ABC/ Disney’s stake in the channel. In 1999, she was named president and executive producer for Oxygen Sports at Oxygen Media.
In 2006, Murphy-Stephans became executive VP of programming and production for MSG Media, where she oversaw all the networks’ programing, production, marketing and operations.
“When I was at ABC, no women then were doing what I’m doing now, but there were a few women working in post-production,” she recalls. “I learned a lot from them and never thought of myself as a pioneer. It wasn’t easy. Along the way, I’ve worked for male executives who created opportunities for me, and I was also passed over for jobs because I was a woman. But I learned my craft and moved up as opportunities arose.”
Today, Murphy-Stephans is in a position to hire women. “The sports industry is still dominated by men,” she says. “My goal is to build the best possible team. But if there is a male and female candidate with the same qualifications, I would lean toward hiring the woman because she has probably worked harder to get where she is.”
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