The 2017 Best Program Directors in America

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Program directors have enormous responsibilities these days. They must produce the best content in all of audio, because the competition for ears has never been greater. They have to find and teach and massage new local talent. And they surely must help produce a product the sales department can successfully sell, so that fire-breathing GM can be calm, cool, and collected while sending that nice big piece of the cash-flow action back to corporate. Putting together this list every year starts with a nomination, typically from someone who ranks higher in the company than the nominated PD — maybe even the CEO.

We go from there, with a questionnaire and a look at ratings, experience, awards, and several other factors. We reach out to programming experts in the industry for input, in all formats and in all market sizes, and we crunch the numbers. Then we crumple them up and crunch them again. We also ask each PD to confidentially rank who they believe to be the five best program directors in America. Those rankings are also used to help us decide on our final order. With all of that information, we make the final cuts and place them all in their proper order.

Here are the 66 Best Program Directors in America for 2017.
Here is a PDF of the feature as it appeared in Radio Ink Magazine

#1 — CHRIS CONLEY
WLTW/New York
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 39
Years as a Programmer: 25


#2 — JIM RYAN

WCBS-FM & WNEW-FM/New York
SVP/Programming
CBS Radio

 

#3 — KEVIN WEATHERLY
KROQ-FM, KAMP (AMP Radio) & KCBS-FM
(Jack FM)/Los Angeles
SVP/Programming CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 42 Years as a Programmer: 27

#4 — JOHN IVEY
KIIS-FM
Los Angeles
iHeartMedia

 

#5 ARTURO SOSA
WSKQ-FM
New York
Spanish Broadcasting System

 

6 — MARK CHERNOFF
VP/Programming
WFAN and CBS Radio New York
VP/Programming CBS Radio Sports
Years in Radio: 43 — Years as a Programmer: 40


#7 — MARY ELLEN KACHINSKE

WTMX-FM/Chicago
Hubbard Radio
Years in Radio: 36
Years as a Programmer: 23


#8 — TIM SCHELD

Director of News & Programming
WCBS Newsradio/New York
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 47


#9 –RON GLEASON

Dir./News & Programming
WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM/
Chicago CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 38+


#10 — BEN MEVORACH

Director of News & Programming
1010 WINS-AM/New York
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 33 – Years as a Programmer: 9

#11 — THEA MITCHEM
EVP of Programming, Northeast
WWPR-FM/New York
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 32
Years as a Programmer: 16

#12 — LEE HAMMER
KNBR-AM/San Francisco
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 38
Years as a Programmer: 20

#13 — MIKE McMEARTY
Director of News & Programming
WTOP/Washington, DC
Hubbard
Years in Radio: 28
Years as a Programmer: 2

#14 — BILL WESTON
WMMR & WMGK/Philadelphia
Beasley Media Group
Years in Radio: 39
Years as a Programmer: 33

#15 — MICHAEL MARTIN
KLLC & KMVQ/San Francisco
SVP/Programming & Music Initiatives
CBS Radio

#16 — DON PARKER
KMEL/San Francisco
iHeartMedia
With recording artist Alessia Cara

#17 — CHUCK KNIGHT
WBEB/Philadelphia
Jerry Lee Radio

#18 — MARK ADAMS
KYLD-FM & KIOI-FM/San Francisco
CHR Brand Coordinator
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 28
Years as a Programmer: 23

#19 — MIKE THOMAS
98.5 The Sports Hub & WZLX/Boston
VP/Sports Programming, CBS Radio
VP/ Programming, CBS Radio Boston

#20 — ROBIN BERTOLUCCI
KFI & KEIB/Los Angeles
iHeartMedia

#21 — REGGIE ROUSE
WVEE (V-103)/Atlanta
VP of Urban Radio
CBS Radio

#22 — JAY MICHAELS
KJKK (Jack FM) & KVIL-FM (AMP 1037)/
Dallas
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 25
Years as a Programmer: 18

#23 — STEVE MOORE
KMOX-AM/St. Louis
St. Louis
VP/Talk Programming
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 27
Years as a Programmer: 22

#24 — LESLIE WHITTLE
KRBE-FM/Houston
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 24
Years as a Programmer: 13

#25 — JOHNNY CHIANG
KHPT, KGLK, KKBQ & KTHT/Houston
Cox Media Group
Years in Radio: 25
Years as a Programmer: 18

#26 — DOC WYNTER
KRRL (Real 92.3)/Los Angeles
SVP Urban Programming
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 30 — Years as a Programmer: 22

#27 — SHELLY EASTON
WXTU-FM/Philadelphia
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 30
Years as a Programmer: 20

#28 — JEFF CATLIN
KTCK-AM & FM (The Ticket) & KESN-FM
(ESPN Radio)/Dallas
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 25
Years as a Programmer: 17

#29 — MIKE BROPHEY
WKLB-FM/Boston
Beasley Broadcast Group
Years in Radio: 40
Years as a Programmer: 30

#30 — TIM ROBERTS
WYCD, WOMC & WDZH/Detroit
VP/Country Programming
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 39
Years as a Programmer: 38

#31 — MIKE KAPLAN
KYSR (ALT 98.7)/Los Angeles
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 25
Years as a Programmer: 20

#32 — KEITH CUNNINGHAM
KLOS/Los Angeles
Corporate Programming/Rock Formats
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 22
Years as a Programmer: 20

#33 — CHARLIE COOK
WKDF & WSM-FM/Nashville
VP Country
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 47 — Years as a Programmer: 43

#34 — MARK PENNINGTON
WRIF/Detroit
Beasley Media Group
Years in Radio: 27
Years as a Programmer: 10

#35 — PETER CASEY
WBZ (NewsRadio 1030
AM)/Boston
CBS Radio
Years in Broadcasting: 37 — Years Programming WBZ: 20

#36 — STEVE BUTLER
KYW Newsradio
Philadelphia
CBS Radio

#37 — BILL HESS
WMAL/Washington, DC
VP/News Talk
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 40 – Years as a Programmer: 37

#38 — DREW HAYES
KABC
Los Angeles
Cumulus Media

#39 — MARK MEDINA
WHTZ (Z100)/New York
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 27
Years as a Programmer: 17

#40 — KEITH HASTINGS
KISS-FM & KTKX-FM/San Antonio
Rock/Classic Rock Formats Leader
Cox Media Group
Years in Radio: 40 — Years as a Programmer: 31

#41 — ROB CRESSMAN
WDRV/Chicago
Hubbard Radio
Years in Radio: 31
Years as a Programmer: 23

#42 — MAURICE DeVOE
KMJK-FM/Kansas City
Cumulus Media
Years in Radio: 28
Years as a Programmer: 16

#43 — CADILLAC JACK
WBQT/WMJX
Beasley
Boston, MA

#44 — DREW ANDERSSEN
WMMO, WDBO, ESPN 580 (WDBO-AM)/Orlando
News/Talk Format Coordinator
Cox Media Group
Years in Radio: 22 — Years as a Programmer: 18

#45 — TIM RICHARDS
KMLE, KALV (Live 105) & KOOL/Phoenix
CBS Radio
Years in Radio: 25
Years as a Programmer: 21

#46 — HURRICANE DAVE SMITH
WHTA-FM, WAMJ-FM, WPZE-FM &
WUMJ-HD2/Atlanta
Radio One
Years in Radio: 30+ — Years as a Programmer: 20+

#47 — CHRIS EAGAN
WSB-FM & WSRV-FM/Atlanta
Hot AC Format Leader
Cox Media Group
Years in Radio: 18
Years as a Programmer: 8

#48 — DERRICK BROWN
WVAZ-FM & WGCI-FM & WGRB-AM/Chicago
Director of Urban Programming
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 31
Years as a Programmer: 18

#49 — MARK McCRAY
KBFB-FM & KSOC-FM/Dallas
Radio One
Years in Radio: 26
Years as a Programmer: 19

#50 — JOHN LARSON
WWRM, WXGL & WDUV/Tampa
Cox Media Group
Years in Radio: 44
Years as a Programmer: 38

#51 — TOMMY CHUCK
WIHT-FM & WPOC-FM/Baltimore
Top 40 Brand Coordinator
iHeartMedia
Years in Radio: 36
Years as a Programmer: 17

#52 — ISABEL GONZALEZ
KLVE & KRCD/Los Angeles
Univision
Years in Radio: 25
Years as a Programmer: 12

#53 — JOHN KAGE
KYGO/Denver
Bonneville
Years in Radio: 24
Years as a Programmer: 10

#54 — KEITH DAKIN
Regional Operations Manager
Connoisseur Media Connecticut
Years in Radio: 23
Years as a Programmer: 10

#55 — FLETCHER BROWN
WXFL-FM & WLVS-FM/Florence, AL
Big River Broadcasting
Years in Radio: 20

#56 — MIKE O’BRIAN
KKLZ-FM/Las Vegas
Beasley Media Group
Years in Radio: 40
Years as a Programmer: 11

#57 — MIKE SHAMUS
WKOA-FM/Lafayette, IN
VP/Programming
Neuhoff Media
Years in Radio: 22 — Years as a Programmer: 13

#58 — SUE O’NEIL
WKSE, WTSS & WWWS/Buffalo
Entercom
Years in Radio: 30
Years as a Programmer: 22

#59 — MIKE BECK
WNOR, WAFX & WJOI/Chesapeake, VA
Saga Communications
Years in Radio: 42
Years as a Programmer: 29

#60 — MOJOE ROBERTS
KUPL-FM (98.7 The Bull)/Portland, OR
Alpha Media
Years in Radio: 21
Years as a Programmer: 11

#61 — GREG MOORE
WYKY & WTLO/Somerset, KY
Forcht Broadcasting
Years in Radio: 31

#62 OSCAR RIOS
KLNO
Dallas
Univision

#63 — ELENA JOVEL
KRZZ-FM
San Francisco
SBS

#64 — BOOGIE D
WFUN & WHHL/St. Louis
Radio One
Years in Radio: 26
Years as a Programmer: 21

#65 — SUE WILSON
WQMX/Akron, OH
Rubber City Radio
Years in Radio: 36
Years as a Programmer: 30

#66 — MATT STONE
WHWY, WZLB, WECQ & WWAV/Ft. Walton
Beach, FL
Community Broadcasters
Years in Radio: 20 — Years as a Programmer: 15

3 COMMENTS

  1. Look them up. But I know our company wouldn’t have even submitted our PD unless there was a reason. Would you really write out everything that was involved in that entry if you weren’t performing well. Doesn’t look like a beauty contest to me. These are people who have really performed over the years.

  2. It would be good to see or note if each of these PD’s totally win their respective market in their target demo. If not, are they really the best or is this a beauty contest?!

    • Excellent point. The best means you are able to compete and win and not just hold the position. There is a big difference. Can we highlight those that are winning? I’m sure the list would include some that are not listed.

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