OConnell Named Ad Sales Chief For ABC-Owned Stations

Debra OConnell has been promoted to president of ABC National Television Sales, replacing John Watkins, who retires at the end of the month.

OConnell, a 17-year ABC veteran, had been senior VP of sales for ABC National Television Sales, the sales and marketing arm of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group.

In addition to ABC’s eight owned stations, OConnell will be in charge of sales for the stations’ digital platforms, The Live Well Network and ABC Regional Sports and Entertainment Sales.

“Debra is a fantastic executive, a great collaborator, and the perfect choice to head NTVS,” Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, said in a statement. “Her many years with ABC and her excellent reputation within the advertising industry, as well as her vision for the future of the division, are a huge asset for our company.” 

Before joining ABC’s national sales organization, OConnell was also VP of marketing at WABC-TV in New York, where she first joined the ABC Television division in 1999. Previously she worked at ABC Radio in Sales and Marketing. 

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.