J.T. Batson is leaving his post at media buying workflow systems provider Mediaocean to become chief revenue officer at Cumulus Media, which is primarily known for running the former ABC Radio Network. Meanwhile, Mediaocean, which was the resulting brand from last year's merger between Mediabank and Donovan Data Systems, will not be replacing Batson directly, a rep for the company told AdExchanger.
Much has changed at Mediaocean since it began combining the two companies. Batson became the public face of the company nearly two years after leaving his post at Rubicon Project to become one of the heads of DDS. Mediaocean reformed its divisional structure back in March. The changes had Nick Galassi as president of Agency Systems division, with John Bauschard as president of Mediaocean's Platforms unit. Lastly, Vedant Sampath is CTO. and the industry relations area, which was one of Batson's key roles, has gone to Harvey Kent, who serves as chief media strategist.
Batson said that the complete integration of DDS into Mediaocean made the decision to leave a fairly comfortable one. He hastens to add that "he wasn't looking for a job either." While "old media" like radio sounds like a far cry from Batson's previous roles at Mediaocean, Batson believes that the traditional media domination of local ad sales is where he can connect the new media and old media ends of Cumulus.
The publicly traded Cumulus is generally described as a pure-play radio broadcaster with roughly 525 stations in 110 markets across the U.S., a fully-distributed programming network serving more than 4,500 affiliates nationwide and SweetJack, the local deals platform that will serve 200 U.S. markets by the end of 2012.
"I've known Cumulus for a long time," Batson said, noting that DDS and Rubicon had served traditional media companies trying to improve their online ad performance for years. "I know the advantages and the challenges that traditional media faces. Among other things, I see my role as driving the local business and connecting that to digital ad sales. Whoever can win local in this current environment is going to win big."
Atlanta-based Cumulus has 6,000 employees, 1,600 of whom are in ad sales. Batson will remain based in New York. His hiring comes after Cumulus' $2.5 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting. That deal, which was struck in March, spurred Cumulus to pursue a range of strategic partnerships in content and commerce.
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