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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Area media outlets will be hit hard by the loss of revenue with the closure of American.

American closing will hit local media revenue budgets hard


When a local company announces it will go out of business, it is newsworthy as people will lose employment and customers will have to go elsewhere for products or services.

Earlier this week, American announced it was going out of business and started liquidating its merchandise. Once known as "American of Madison," the appliance store eventually grew to nine locations.

If you grew up just about anywhere in Wisconsin, you may remember TV, radio and print advertisements that featured "Crazy TV Lenny." Len Mattioli hasn't appeared in an ad for American since the late 1990s, but many people remember him for his excitement in his delivery and the gimmicks in the store's giveaways.

Beyond our memories of these advertisements, area media outlets will miss the revenue gained each year from American. The store was a good partner for a number of outlets, underwriting news and entertainment specials. American supported local, original programming efforts in addition to its normal campaign runs throughout the years.

So, most of us may just be thinking of checking out the upcoming sale for a new television, but the local sales managers are scrambling to see who will advertise more to help ease the impact of the loss.

MANAGEMENT MOVES: At the beginning of the month, I described some of the changes at Journal Communications that will affect WTMJ-TV Ch. 4, WTMJ-AM 620 and WLWK-FM 94.5.

Beyond some of the changes that were reported on previously, there are a also a number of changes in roles for the top managers. Andre Fernandez, the president Journal Communications adds Chief Operating Officer to his title and will oversee both broadcast and publishing.

Jason Graham, who has been a VP and controller since 2012, is now a senior vice president of finance, controller and CFO. Graham will report to Steven J. Smith, the chairman and CEO of Journal Communications.

Debbie Turner, Journal's executive vice president of television, and Steve Wexler, Journal's executive vice president of radio, will continue to report to Fernandez. Elizabeth Brenner, the president and publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and an executive of Journal Communications, will now report to Fernandez.

"We are very fortunate to have such talented people at Journal that allow us to consistently and confidently promote people from within our own organization to positions of increased responsibility," Smith said.

STATION TRANSITION: In late January, 88Nine RadioMilwaukee (WYMS-FM) added to its management ranks, taking the listener-supported station through a leadership transition.

Linda Daley, who served as the senior vice president and COO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, is the stations inaugural CFO/COO. Before the job at YMCA, Daley was the CFO of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

"With the opening of our new building and a growing membership and funding base, RadioMilwaukee has become a more complex organization financially," RadioMilwaukee Executive Director Mary Louise Mussoline told the RAMP industry newsletter.

"We are thrilled to have Linda (Daley), a seasoned, sharp financial leader, join our team. We have every confidence in her ability to successfully lead us through new territory."

For Peter Adams, his new role as 88Nine's first marketing and promotions manager, is a homecoming of sorts as he once worked at the station as an underwriting specialist. Previously, he was the Assistant Director of the East Town Association.

"We are so happy to have Peter Adams back on the RadioMilwaukee staff team," Mussoline said.

"This new position for the station will focus on building our audience, strengthening our brand and implementing events to further involve the Milwaukee community in the station."

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