Forecast 2024 Presenters
Rob Babin is the Executive Vice President, head of radio for Cox Media Group, responsible for the profitability, strategic direction, and operational execution of CMG’s radio platform, spanning 62 radio stations in 11 markets across the country. Babin’s career in radio spans 27 years, with 22 years spent leading various business units and markets for CMG. Babin is a proven leader with expertise and a true passion for the radio industry, CMG, and his people. He has led top-performing teams to achieve record-breaking revenue and ratings performance. He’s also led teams to national recognition, including two NAB Service to America Awards and several Marconi Radio Awards. Babin has served on several community and industry boards, including the Florida and Georgia Associations of Broadcasters. He is currently a board member of the NAB and on the Executive Committee of the RAB.
Catherine Badalamente is the President & Chief Executive Officer for Graham Media Group, a subsidiary of Graham Holdings. In her role Badalamente oversees seven local media hubs — each in a top-71 market, representing just under 7% coverage in the U.S. Badalamente has been at the forefront of the changing television landscape and transition to new media throughout her career. Prior to being named CEO, she held the role of VP/Chief Innovation Officer since 2019, overseeing digital sales, content, and technology for GMG, and served as VP/Digital Media since 2012. Badalamente began her Graham Media Group career in 2000 at WDIV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit. Badalamente is chair of the board of directors of the Local Media Association, serves as treasurer of the board of the Local Media Foundation, and is a member of the boards of the NAB and the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. She is immediate past chair of the NAB Digital Officer Committee and was the recipient of the NAB Digital Leadership Award in 2017.
Caroline Beasley was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Beasley Broadcast Group, LLC on January 1, 2017. She previously served as interim CEO from March 18, 2016 until December 31, 2016 and as EVP/CFO, Treasurer, and Secretary beginning in 1994. Beasley has served as a director of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. since she joined the company in 1983. She currently serves as the Chair of the BMI Board of Directors and is a member of the FCC Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Beasley previously was the Joint Board Chair of the National Association of Broadcasters Board of Directors and is a past Chairman of the NAB Radio Board. In addition, she is a member of the BMI Board of Directors and the Broadcasters Foundation of America Board of Directors. In 2017, Ms. Beasley was honored by Radio Ink magazine as “Radio Executive of the Year.” She has been consistently ranked among the top five of the publication’s “40 Most Powerful People in Radio” list.
Vince Benedetto is the founder, President, and CEO of Bold Gold Media Group, which owns and operates 14 full-power radio stations and 25 broadcast frequencies throughout Pennsylvania and New York. Benedetto is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a former Air Force Captain and former Air Force OSI Special Agent, where he led counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, and felony-level investigative efforts for the Department of Defense. He is the current Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters and serves on the RAB’s Sales Advisory Committee. Benedetto is also the President of the Churchill Society of Pennsylvania.
Vince Bodiford is CEO and Head of Media for Bridge Media Network, parent of NEWSnet, SportsNews Highlights, TravelHost TV networks, and 84 O&O television stations. Based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Bodiford has more than 35 years of experience in media and marketing. He has owned media outlets in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming via his company, Golden Media, Inc. He has held leadership roles with Cabela’s, Inc., Gannett Co., CommunityMedia Corp., and GateHouse Media and is a noted expert in the automotive, retail, and media industries.
Brendan Brady serves as Media & Entertainment Lead for Antenna, the leading data and analytics provider for subscription services. In this role, Brady is responsible for the company’s marketing efforts, driving new business, and working directly with Antenna’s media and entertainment clients, including the streaming services themselves and ecosystem surrounding them. One of Antenna’s earliest hires, Brady joined the company from Endeavor, where he entered the WME mailroom program after earning his BS in Film & Television from Boston University.
Jackie Brooks, CEO of Bottom Line Marketing, is a believer in brand elevation. When it comes to getting noticed, one size doesn’t fit all; every brand has the potential for a unique story and strategy that will take it to the next level. From branding to campaign strategy, asset creation and execution, her team builds market-specific plans custom-tailored to ensure your company stays top-of-mind. Brooks is an expert in amplifying your voice, reaching your ideal audience, and honing in on the right marketing mix to make your brand stand out. With offices in West Palm Beach and Denver, her full-service agency caters to 65 markets across the country, building brands that stand out, convert, and grow.
John Catsimatidis is President & CEO of the Red Apple Group, a privately held company valued between $5 billion-$6 billion, with holdings in energy, refining, real estate, and supermarkets. In March 2020, Catsimatidis purchased iconic radio station WABC, establishing Red Apple Media. He later added WLIR-FM in Long Island to his radio portfolio. Catsimatidis has invested in big-name talent for WABC, defying current trends in radio of brokering weekend time. Instead, he has opted for innovative programming including big names such as Cousin Brucie Morrow and famed hit-maker Tony Orlando for Saturday nights, Joe Piscopo for Sundays with Sinatra, and music. His next step in radio has been syndication. He launched Red Apple Audio Networks, making the marquee talent on WABC available to radio stations across the country. In addition to his role as owner of the station, Catsimatidis co-hosts the drive-time program Cats & Cosby, with Rita Cosby.
Jeff Charney, founder and CEO of MKHSTRY (formerly CMO, Progressive/Aflac), is one of the nation’s most heralded, disruptive CMOs as well as a provocative, sought-out speaker. His ability to constantly stay relevant has earned him unrivaled success as a marketer and led to the development of three of the most historic brand icons of this century: the Aflac “Duck,” Progressive’s “Flo,” and the parental life-coach known as “Dr. Rick.” At Progressive, he increased the marketing budget five-fold, becoming one of the nation’s top three marketing spenders. A two-time CMO of the Year (from Ad Age and AdWeek) and international award winner, Charney left corporate America at the top of his game last year to start an “invite-only” nationwide marketing collective called MKHSTRY. This new game-changing startup follows a scarcity model, working only with the bravest founders, brands, and individuals to disrupt existing business models to indeed make history, similarly to code-cracking companies like Uber, OpenAI, Spotify, Tesla, Airbnb, etc.
Dave “Chachi” Denes is President and Co-Founder of Benztown, a leading international radio imaging, production library, programming, podcasting, jingles, and voiceover services company with over 3,000 affiliations on six different continents. Denes co-founded Benztown in 2008 with international radio producer Andreas Sannemann and Oliver Klenk, both based in Stuttgart, Germany, and the company now has studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Stuttgart. Denes began his radio career in 1996 at KFMB (Star 100.7) in San Diego as producer and on-air sidekick for Michael Steele and later as producer for Jagger and Kristi. Following a year as Rick Dees’ assistant producer at KIIS-FM in L.A., Denes joined L.A.’s KBIG and KOST-FM in 2001 as Operations Manager and in 2004, was named Program Director for KBIG/MYfm. At the time he was just 28 years old, making him the youngest PD in L.A. history.
Robert Folliard is Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Distribution for Gray Television, which is the second-largest broadcaster by revenue in the United States. At Gray, Folliard oversees the company’s activities on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. He is also responsible for Gray’s relationships with cable and satellite operators and negotiates Gray’s retransmission consent agreements. Folliard is the Chairman of Pearl TV, which is a venture of local broadcasters spearheading the NextGen TV transition. Before joining Gray, Folliard was an associate in the Communications practice group at Cooley, LLP and Dow Lohnes, PLLC.
Robert L. Heymann, Jr. joined Media Services Group in 2008 ,where he has bought or sold dozens of radio stations, TV stations, and towers for clients of the firm, highlighted by co-brokering the radio portion of the $415 million Gray Television acquisition of Schurz Communications and the sale of the Poole Tower Complex at Mt. Wilson in Los Angeles. Before joining Media Services Group, Heymann spent 24 years in the media brokerage business in Chicago, where he successfully brokered various-sized radio and TV stations from coast to coast. Before starting his station brokerage business in 1984, Heymann was Station Manager at KQAK-FM in San Francisco, and before that, he held positions and consulting relationships with some of the largest broadcasters in America, including NBC and CBS.
Juliet Huddy is a veteran radio and television broadcaster and host whose credentials span both local and national media. Her career highlights include working at WABC, providing news and entertainments during the morning show. Soon after she teamed up with Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa to host the midday program Curtis & Juliet. Huddy got her network TV break in 1998 as a national news correspondent for Fox News, based in Miami and later Los Angeles. After the 9/11 attacks, she was transferred to FOX HQ in New York City, hosting FOX & Friends, DaySide, and other shows. In 2007, she was given her own nationally syndicated talk show, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and in 2012, she moved to morning news at FOX 5 in New York. She then launched her own music website, Blonde & Crossbones, focusing on interviews with rock and metal superstars and up-and-comers. In 2018 she started her Juliet: Unexpected podcast, introducing listeners to the dazzling characters she meets through her trips. She later launched a travel segment on the Early News, Jet Set Juliet, which became a half-hour video podcast, Roamin’ & Juliet.
Anthony Iannarino is recognized as one of the foremost thought leaders in creating customer-centric value in the sales conversation. His unique gift of powerful business acumen causes sales teams to gravitate toward him, as they quickly see selling as a conversation, making the selling process much easier. Iannarino’s invaluable insight on leveraging value in the highly commoditized sales environment helps clients elevate their competitive disposition to drive more revenue and build better long-term client relationships. These results are achieved by the frameworks, tools, and methodologies he has developed that sales leaders and sales teams find highly easy to use and simple to apply. Iannarino is a bestselling author, as recognized by Amazon and USA Today. His newest release is coming out this fall: The Negativity — Fast Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear and Boost Success. Additionally, he is the author of Elite Sales Strategies – A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative and other books.
Steve Jones is the President/CEO of Skyview Networks, which he joined in April 2019 Previously, at The Walt Disney Company, Jones served as Vice President and General Manager for ABC Radio, leading strategic planning, business development, programming and operations for ABC-branded audio content—covering news, entertainment, lifestyle and sports. Throughout his career, Jones has been honored with multiple awards and recognized for his work in journalism. While contributing as a writer for ABC News, his work won two Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards and an Overseas Press Club Award. Additionally, he has been included on Radio Ink’s annual “40 Most Powerful” broadcast executives list (2017, 2018), named “News Executive of the Year” twice by Radio & Records (2005, 2007), and received the Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America (2017) and the First Amendment Service Award from the Radio Television News Directors Foundation (2017).
Pat LaPlatney is the Co-CEO and President of Gray Television. Prior to joining Gray in January of 2019, he was CEO and President of Raycom Media from 2016-2018, having worked for Raycom since 2007. LaPlatney is also an alumnus of Raycom Sports, having spent seven years in Charlotte overseeing distribution, the events group, and business development during his tenure there. LaPlatney spent the early part of his career with Blair Television as an AE and Sales Manager in the Charlotte and Atlanta offices. He also worked for Metro Networks as SVP of Television and Digital Media, where he built Metro’s news services division and helped develop the first commercial traffic website. Metro Networks was acquired by Westwood One, and he ultimately became EVP of Television and Digital Media for Westwood One, focusing on the television division, digital media, and public sector services.
Curtis LeGeyt is President/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, involved in all aspects of NAB’s work on behalf of free, local television and radio broadcasters. He previously served as NAB’s EVP/Government Relations and COO. During his time at NAB, LeGeyt has led several successful efforts to advocate for laws that strengthen broadcasters’ ability to innovate and serve their communities. This includes permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt served as the senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, advising Leahy and the committee on intellectual property, antitrust, and First Amendment issues.
Vincent Létang joined MAGNA, where he is EVP, Managing Partner of Global Market Intelligence, in 2011. MAGNA is the market research and investment unit of IPG Mediabrands, one the leading media agency organizations. Based in New York City, Létang oversees the organization’s market research, forecasting, strategy, and advisory services. Among the regular publications of Létang and his team are the Global Advertising Forecasts, the quarterly U.S. Advertising Forecasts, and the Programmatic Report. Before MAGNA, Létang led the media/advertising practices in boutique market research and consultancy firms: IHS Screen Digest in London, and BIPE in Paris. He has been invited to speak on industry trends in more than 20 international conferences on media and advertising, and is a regular panelist at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York. He is frequently interviewed and quoted in the trade press and the financial press including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, MediaWeek, MediaPost, AdExchanger, Campaign, Horizont, Bloomberg TV, Reuters, etc.
Brian Lilly serves as Chief Executive Officer for Lilly Broadcasting and SJL Broadcasting. His companies operate television affiliates in Elmira-Corning-Horseheads, NY, and Erie, PA. The privately held company also owns radio stations in Erie and Warren, PA. Lilly’s portfolio includes One Caribbean Television, a channel, launched in 2004, dedicated to Caribbean lifestyle and information programming. Additional affiliates include CBS-Puerto Rico, CBS-Guam, and CBS/ABC in the U.S. Virgin Islands. WZMQ, a MeTV affiliate in Marquette, MI, was added in 2017. The Lilly family is steeped in broadcasting tradition; Brian’s brother Kevin is president of the company, and their father, George, founded the business in 1983 through television station ownership of the SJL and Montecito Broadcasting groups. Lilly encourages his media outlets to advocate for their communities through accurate and thorough news coverage and involvement in local activities and events.
Nick Locascio is an esteemed technologist and entrepreneur with expertise in Generative AI. He holds an MEng and BS in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently, Locascio is the co-founder and CEO of Booth AI, the image-generation platform for marketers and e-commerce brands. Booth AI has raised millions from top-tier investors including Y Combinator and Foundation Capital.
Peter Markham is CEO of Estrella Media, Inc. and a member of the company’s board. Estrella Media is a leading Spanish-language media company and one of the largest U.S. producers of Spanish-language video and audio content for multiplatform distribution worldwide. As CEO, Markham oversees and leads Estrella’s business, including its content studio that feeds all its digital and linear media platforms. Estrella owns and operates 11 radio stations and the Don Cheto Radio Network with 34 affiliated stations throughout the U.S. The company also produces large-scale music festivals, concerts, and special events throughout the U.S. Markham brings more than 20 years of media experience to Estrella, with a strong background in strategy, operations, and business development. Previously, he served as CEO/Chairman of Granite Broadcasting and as Chairman of Communications Corporation of America. His extensive board experience includes several public and private media and technology-enabled companies operating in Spanish-language media, OTT TV, mobile technology, TV production, and other emerging media spaces. He also was the Head of TMT & European Coverage at Silver Point Capital, where he led direct investment coverage and value creation efforts in the U.S. and Europe.
Mike McVay is President of McVay Media Consulting. Working globally as a full-service consultant in the areas of content creation, program consultation, syndication, digital delivery, production and imaging, podcasting, and talent coaching. He was most recently the Executive Vice President of Content and Programming for Cumulus Media and Westwood One. McVay is a 40+ year programmer with national and local management, ownership, sales, major market programming, and major market on-air experience. Mike has owned and operated radio stations in multiple markets. He is a partner in Benztown + McVay Media Podcast Network with experience in curating Podcasts for Westwood One, NatGeo and Disney+. He has also developed and launched several highly successful nationally syndicated programs. He is a 2021 Inductee to the West Virginia Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Women in Media, The Country Radio Broadcasters and is a voting member of the Country Music Association and The Academy of Country Music. He is also a member of the National Association of Broadcasters Long Term Steering Committee and a member of the Radio Arts & Sciences.
Randy Michaels describes himself as a “mediocre broadcast technician who has dabbled in programming, management and station ownership. He has been attributable in more U.S. broadcast licenses than anyone else and therefore has extensive experience in guessing what stations might be worth.” As CEO of Jacor Communications, Michaels led one of the nation’s most successful radio groups, selling the company to Clear Channel in 1999 and remaining as CEO until 2002. Early in 2005, Michaels began working with Oak Hill Capital partners on acquisition opportunities, culminating in the creation of Local TV LLC, a company that acquired nine local network-affiliated television stations formerly owned by the New York Times Company. Following his appointment as the company’s CEO in 2007, it was announced that eight large-market stations would be purchased from News Corp. Michaels later served as EVP of the Chicago-based Tribune Company and CEO of Interactive and Broadcasting operations as part of the management restructuring following the consummation of the Tribune privatization. Michaels is the sole proprietor of Radioactive, LLC, a holding company for radio broadcast licenses.
Francisco “Frank” Montero is a Partner with the law firm of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, specializing in telecommunications, broadcasting, media and technology. His practice includes FCC regulatory counseling, corporate finance, asset and securities acquisitions, intellectual property, and real estate and commercial transactions. Montero was an appointed member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age. He served as Director of the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities during the Clinton Administration, working extensively with industry, trade associations, financial institutions and governmental agencies to create business opportunities for entrepreneurs, and technology and telecommunications start-ups. Montero is well known as an early advocate for Hispanic and Spanish-language media in the U.S. and Latin America. He is on the of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council and also helped form and served on the boards of the American Hispanic Owned Radio Association, the Spanish Broadcasters Association, and the National Association of Minority Media Executives.
Michael Newman serves as the Director of Transformation at Graham Media Group (GMG), where he wears multiple hats — from overseeing digital products, digital ad operations, and programmatic revenue to steering the company toward innovative avenues and future-ready technologies. Newman has recently spent a lot of time leveraging AI to streamline workflows, not just within GMG but also setting the industry standard. Newman holds a unique blend of expertise in technology and media, is a tireless advocate for sustainable journalism, and frequently speaks about integrating future technologies into current media practices. He’s deeply passionate about finding long-lasting and adaptable solutions to sustain local journalism, emphasizing its critical role in fostering well-informed communities.
Nicole Ovadia serves as BIA Advisory’s Vice President Forecasting & Analysis, overseeing the forecasting process across all local media segments. Additionally, she helps with strategic and financial consulting projects by providing insights and analysis on broadcasting and digital trends. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Ovadia began her career as the Editor of Inside Radio before a five-year stint in finance working for BNP Paribas, where she focused on operations. Missing media, she then spent 14 years at Emmis Communications at the corporate level in the Strategy Group, focusing on sales and acquisitions, as well as at the local level in New York, where she served as Vice President Customer Success. From there, Ovadia worked with the New York State Broadcasters Association advocating for New York City radio.
Lou Paskalis is CEO and founder of AJL Advisory, a consultancy focused on helping marketers improve their business narrative and tech companies better understand marketers’ needs. He also serves as Chief Strategy Officer of Ad Fontes Media, a public benefit company dedicated to restoring advertisers’ investments in reaching news audiences with a unique technology that allows them to measure, monitor, and mitigate bias and reliability. Previously, he was President and COO of MMA Global, a trade association focused on architecting the future of marketing. Prior to MMA, Paskalis spent three decades in client-side leadership roles, leading global communications planning, media investment, marketing data strategy, and brand safety at Bank of America; media, content, and mobile marketing at American Express; and related roles at E. & J. Gallo prior to that. Paskalis is an outspoken champion for marketing innovation, governance, and the advancement of marketing as well as an advocate for journalism and marketers’ unique responsibility to support news organizations in their defense of truth.
Steve Passwaiter is President of Silver Oak Political, a Washington, DC, political advisory firm that helps media groups and organizations interested in improving their results from the political ad sector. He previously served as VP, Growth and Strategy and Senior Adviser to CMAG at Vivvix. Passwaiter formerly led Kantar/CMAG, the political intelligence unit of Kantar Media, from 2016-21, leading it to record revenues. He is also well known as a spokesperson on ad spending and messaging strategies being deployed by political advertisers around the country and has been quoted on a wide number of media outlets around the world. Prior to joining Kantar/CMAG, Passwaiter was founder and CEO of SLP Media Strategies, which supplied outsourced business development services. He is also a former board adviser for Sportsdigita, a Minneapolis-based interactive sports agency that specializes in digital sponsorship, ticketing, and fan engagement products for professional sports teams. He also served as Vice President of Business Development for BIA/Kelsey following his experience in local television sales management.
David Perry concentrates his practice on the creation, protection, defense, and licensing of intellectual property. He represents multinational companies with large, complex IP portfolios and needs, as well as successful mid-market companies, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in a variety of industries, such as life sciences; energy; beer, wine, and spirits; software; gaming and sports; music and entertainment; graphic design and advertising; insurance; and retail. This includes copyright counseling and strategic advice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and related anti-circumvention and infringement provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act as well as counseling and practice in Internet law, domain name disputes, and related litigation. Perry’s lifelong passion for music bridges his copyright/IP practice with his band, Athensville, for which he writes and records music on lead guitar. He also combines his penchant for craft beer and branding with his various brewery representations.
Andrew Rosen, with more than 20 years of experience, leads Miller Kaplan’s Media Group, which specializes in the operational and financial structures of broadcast and media clients. Beyond working with clients to provide revenue measurement, Rosen offers audit services within the media and broadcast industries. His knowledge and impact in the media and accounting fields have led to his committee membership in the Media Financial Management Association, in addition to other industry roles.
David Santrella has been Chief Executive Officer and President/Broadcast Media of Salem Media Group since January 2022. He had been President of Salem’s Radio Division since January 2010, and President of Broadcast Media beginning January 1, 2015. From October 2008 to December 31, 2009, he served as Operational Vice President over the company’s Minneapolis, Denver, and Colorado Springs clusters in addition to his existing responsibility over the Chicago cluster. From March 2006 to October 2008. Santrella was the Operational VP of Chicago and Milwaukee. In November of 2003, he was given additional oversight responsibility of Milwaukee. Santrella started with the company in 2001 as GM of Salem’s Chicago cluster.
Justin Sasso has served as the President & CEO of the Colorado Broadcasters Association since 2011. Sasso spent 25 years in radio broadcasting, working for multiple broadcast groups along Colorado’s Front Range. Prior to his current position he was a CBA board member for over five years while operating his Northern Colorado radio station. Having parents who were both in radio and television, Sasso was bitten by the “broadcast bug” early in life. In his spare, time he enjoys skiing, cycling, and aviation.
Melody Spann Cooper is Chair and CEO of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, Chicago’s only Black- and female-owned broadcasting company. Its flagship station, WVON, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The company’s assets also include a Spanish-language station, WRLL, and an OTT digital streaming network, VONtv, (pronounced “Vaughn TV”). As a lifelong Chicagoan, Spann Cooper serves on numerous professional and civic boards including as Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Obama Presidential Center, and as Commissioner of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. She also serves as a trustee at the Museum of Science & Industry and at her alma mater, Loyola University. In 2019, Spann Cooper added “author” to her list of accomplishments with the release of her first book, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Closing the Deal.
Bill Wilson is CEO of Townsquare Media, which he joined in September 2010. He previously served as President of AOL Media from 2006 to May 2010m where he had overall responsibility for AOL’s global content strategy. Before moving to AOL, Wilson was the Senior Vice President for Worldwide Marketing at Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), where he was responsible for worldwide marketing including artist, digital, and nontraditional marketing across more than 50 countries for the world’s biggest artists including Dave Matthews Band, Outkast, Foo Fighters, Whitney Houston, Annie Lennox, and Santana. Wilson won an Emmy Award in 2006 for the record-setting and innovative Live 8 program and was named to Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital Power List” in 2008, profiling the 50 people most influencing the creation and distribution of content online. He has been recognized in other publications over the years and has appeared on the Radio Ink “Top 40 Most Powerful People in Radio” list for the past four years.