CBS Radio has replaced its top guy in Los Angeles amid talk that the network is trying to find new ways to adapt to a changing market by working with newspapers and television.
Ed Krampf has left the job as vice president and market manager – the position that supervises operations of all seven of the company’s stations in Los Angeles – and will be replaced by Steve Carver, a radio veteran who also has significant newspaper and TV experience. This could point to a new direction for the company’s L.A. radio properties, which include top rated oldies station KRTH-FM (101.1) and pop station KAMP-FM (97.1), second and third place, respectively, in the latest Arbitron rankings.
“As we see convergence in the advertising world, Steve’s newspaper and television experience will be very helpful to our L.A. stations,” Dan Mason, chief executive of CBS Radio, said in an e-mail to the Business Journal.
Carver, who was a general manager for CBS stations in Philadelphia and Chicago in the 1990s, rejoined the company in 2009 to head station clusters first in Cleveland and then in West Palm Beach, Fla. But company execs had been eager to bring him to Los Angeles for a while.
“Steve is one of the most experienced broadcast executives in the company,” Mason said. “He was unavailable to us until early this year.”
Carver was not available to comment for this article.
After heading Tribune Co.-owned Chicago station WGN Radio in 2003, he became the general manager of WATL-TV in Atlanta. Then in 2006, he became publisher, president and chief executive of the Hartford Courant newspaper in Connecticut.
Tom Langmyer, a former colleague of Carver’s from his early CBS days and current head of Chicago’s WGN Radio, said Carver is a good match for a large cluster of radio stations in a big market like Los Angeles.
“Between having run major news, talk and music radio stations, a television station and a newspaper, he should do well,” Langmyer said. “Steve is a dynamic leader and has solid experience leading in a multimedia world.”
Carver is replacing Krampf, a longtime L.A. radio exec who held the position for a year and a half. A press release said Krampf is leaving CBS to pursue other opportunities. Krampf did not respond to a request for comment.
Michael Harrison, publisher of industry publication Talkers Magazine, said turnover is common in radio. But the change in leadership at CBS’ L.A. stations comes as the industry struggles to find a way out of a recession-plagued slump in advertising sales. Ad sales in the L.A. market decreased by 20 percent in 2009, compared with the previous year. Projections call for a 3 percent to 5 percent increase this year.
Other CBS stations in the L.A. market are talk radio station KFWB-AM (980), news station KNX-AM (1070), adult contemporary station KTWV-FM (94.7), rock station KROQ-FM (106.7) and adult hits station KCBS-FM (93.1).
Ad sales for many of the CBS stations in Los Angeles have taken a hit over the years. Talk radio station KFWB brought in less than $14 million in revenue in 2009, down from $36 million in 2005, according to Chantilly, Va., media analysis firm BIA/Kelsey. News station KNX had revenue of $25.4 million in 2009, down from $40.4 million in 2005.
“Radio today is trying to figure things out,” Harrison said. “You can’t rely on the old model anymore.”
Before Krampf, the market manager job was a hot seat: Two people sat in it for only a few months.
Roy Laughlin, the brains behind the Wango Tango concert for Clear Channel’s KIIS-FM (102.7), took the job in September 2008, but three months later started sharing his role with Dan Weiner, former general manager of KTWV. Laughlin left in January 2009; Weiner only stayed another two months.
Their predecessors, Jeff Federman and Tim Pohlman, each lasted less than two years.
Carver is expected to move into CBS Radio’s L.A. office in a landmark skyscraper on Wilshire Boulevard on the Miracle Mile by mid-September.
The plummeting ad revenue doesn’t tell the whole story, however. Four of the CBS-owned stations are consistently in the top 10 of L.A. radio rankings. In July, KRTH held on to its second-place position with a 4.8 percent share of listeners, up from 4.6 in June, according to rankings from Arbitron Inc. KAMP came in behind KRTH with a 3.9 percent share, KTWV tied for seventh with 3.5 percent and KCBS came in ninth with 3.4 percent.
KRTH and KAMP have seen a significant rise in their rankings due to programming changes from new program director Jhani Kaye. But the future of KFWB, which reformatted from a news station to talk radio in 2009 to showcase a new contract with Dr. Laura Schlessinger, looks uncertain when the advice guru says goodbye to radio at the end of this year.
Mason has high hopes for the new market manager.
“L.A. is the largest CBS Radio market in terms of revenue,” he said. “It only makes sense to have one of our most experienced and seasoned executives leading the largest operation within the company.”
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.