Debra O’Connell has been named president and general manager of WABC New York. She has been executive VP, sales and marketing, at the Disney|ABC Sales consolidated advertising sales group.
O’Connell will start at WABC immediately. She succeeds Dave Davis, who announced his retirement last month. She has overall management responsibility for WABC and all of its ancillary businesses, as well as Live with Kelly and Ryan, the syndicated series produced by the station.
“Debra is a well-respected, highly strategic and driven leader that brings an impressive range of experience to this position,” said Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a results-oriented and entrepreneurial approach to the business of broadcasting, and we are confident that her valuable management expertise, strong relationships and deep dedication to the local community make her ideally suited for the top job at our flagship station.”
“It is a wonderful privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the exceptional team at WABC,” said O’Connell, who was honored last week in the 2018 class of Multichannel News Wonder Women (profiled here). “Year after year, our viewers have made Channel 7 the most watched station in New York and the nation, and we will continue to earn their trust by always delivering the best local news coverage in the market. As I look ahead to this exciting new chapter, I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge my past 14 months with the Disney|ABC Sales team. I am so proud of what we accomplished together and know they will continue to drive the media business forward.”