New York - In a major Viacom Inc. reorganization, longtime VH1 president John
Sykes was named chairman and CEO of Viacom's Infinity Radio operations.
MTV:Music Television Judy McGrath Friday was promoted to MTV Networks Music
Group president and will oversee VH1, Country Music Television and the MTV
Sykes will report to Viacom president and CEO Mel Karmazin and oversee the
operations of Infinity's 183 owned-and-operated radio stations, said Viacom
'Viacom is extremely fortunate to have the depth of management to be able to
elevate a great executive like John to an important new role,' Karmazin said in
a statement. 'With 25 years in the music industry and having worked successfully
in every facet of the business, John is the absolute ideal person to lead
Infinity Radio, one of Viacom's largest generators of revenue and earnings.'
In his eight years overseeing VH1, the network has grown from a stepsister
service of MTV to a solid, stand-alone channel with more than 80 million
subscribers - mostly on the heels of documentary-style shows like Behind the
But VH1's ratings have fallen over the last year as the network's primary
audience has grown older, and the service has yet to develop successful,
signature-branded original programming to reach younger viewers.
VH1's prime time ratings were down 25 percent from February 2001 to February
2001, according to Nielsen Media Research figures. The network's most recent
batch of new original shows has thus far generated lukewarm ratings.
While at VH1, Sykes also spearheaded the VH1 Save The Music, a pro-social
initiative to help restore and support music education in the nation's public
For McGrath, the appointment puts virtually all of MTV's music networks as
well as its Internet businesses, digital music brands and all other ancillary
businesses related to these brands under her wing.
'This is a unique new role for Judy and allows us to tap into, in a much
bigger way, her depth of creative talent, perspective, business acumen, branding
expertise and relationships with the music industry to work for all of our four
strong music brands,' MTV chairman and CEO Tom Freston said in a statement.
MTV and MTV2 president Van Toffler, as well as CMT general manager Brian
Phillips, will report directly to McGrath.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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