Just a month after Viacom President Mel Karmazin took aim at Infinity Broadcasting's lackluster financials, the Viacom-owned radio group has a new president.
Joel Hollander, most recently president and CEO of Viacom-owned radio syndicator Westwood One, is now president of Infinity, reporting to Chairman and CEO John Sykes. Hollander is taking over for ousted Infinity chief John Fullum, who left several weeks ago after Infinity posted gloomy first-quarter results, prompting a public scolding by Karmazin.
Hollander, who starts on June 16, will oversee operations for Infinity's 183 radio stations. He says his task will be "growing our local operations and competitive positions in the markets and communities that we serve."
Hollander is a veteran of the Infinity family. Before heading Westwood One, a position he took on in 1998, he was general manager of Infinity's popular WFAN(AM) New York. He started his career in radio sales, working for a number of New York stations.
That sales experience should come in handy. On a conference call with analysts last month, Karmazin was critical of Infinity's sales efforts.
For the first quarter, radio revenues were down 2% to $443 million for the quarter while cash flow was flat at $197.5 million.
Calling the results "very disappointing," Karmazin said, "We need to take a look at the way we're structured. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with radio. It is a fabulous business. It's not like anyone believes that satellite radio or any other technology is taking any advertising from us."
He said that, if every sales person increased radio sales 8%, revenue would have increased the same amount. Karmazin himself headed Infinity in the 1980s and built it into one of the dominant radio companies, so he takes a special interest in its fortunes, or lack of them.
Taking over at Westwood One is Shane Coppola, who served as executive vice president until 2002, when he left to become managing partner of Columbus Capital Partners LLC. In the 1990s, he was executive vice president of Metro Networks, a service for local traffic, news and weather that was acquired by Westwood One in 1999.