Mike McVay Leaves Cumulus and Returns to Full-Time Consulting

Cumulus Media Inc. announced today that it has appointed Brian Philips as Executive Vice President, Content and Audience, effective May 6, 2019. Mr. Philips will report to Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media. He succeeds Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client. 

Mary G. Berner had this to say about Mike McVay and Brian Phillips – “Three and a half years ago and two days into my tenure at Cumulus, I made my first trip to Nashville with Mike McVay. It was clear from the initial and abundant feedback from our programmers that our corporate programming effort needed a reboot. Mike agreed. So as we headed to the office from the airport, I asked him, “What would you do if you were me?” For the rest of the ride, he outlined a broad plan for change and by the time we reached our destination, I was convinced that Mike was the perfect guy to lead our programming organization. It’s always nice to be right but, given how much was at stake, it was especially great to be right about Mike.

Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, Content and Programming in 2015 are too numerous to count. To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the Office of Programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth. We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations. Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful TheBen Shapiro Show. Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening. The “collective contests” he initiated have greatly benefitted our markets from small to large. And perhaps most importantly, his commitment to our FORCE values has driven a significant improvement in our programming culture. A reboot, indeed. 

Last summer, Mike told me he wanted to return to the flexibility of his highly successful consulting career. I asked, and he agreed to stay on to ensure a smooth transition and to lead the search for his replacement.  

After a rigorous 10-month process, I am pleased to announce Brian Philips has been appointed as our new EVP, Content and Audience. Brian comes to FORCE CUMULUS with more than 30 years of leadership and programming experience across a range of media. Perhaps most notably, Brian served as President of the Country Music Television channel for nine years where he led the music network’s foray into long-form scripted series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films. He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network. Under his stewardship, the channel grew from 36 million to a peak of 90 million homes, and set the record for the longest documented ratings growth streak among ad-supported cable networks. 

And Brian has local radio in his blood, too: Before joining CMT, Brian enjoyed a diverse and award-winning radio career rising to the head of FM Programing for Susquehanna Radio, Atlanta/Dallas. Along the way, Brian has worked for three of our Cumulus stations, including KPLX-FM in Dallas which he turned into a market leader when he re-launched it as “The Wolf.” 

We are most confident that, given his prodigious skills and deep expertise as a media executive and content creator, he is a superb choice to take FORCE CUMULUS content and programming to the next level. 

Please join me in welcoming Brian and thanking Mike for his many contributions.”

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