ABC Taps O’Connell As WABC New York GM

The company promotes her from EVP, sales and marketing, of Disney|ABC’s consolidated advertising sales group.

Debra O’Connell today was appointed president and general manager of ABC O&O WABC New York (DMA 1). She succeeds Dave Davis, who recently retired.

In her new role, she has overall management responsibility for WABC and all of its ancillary businesses; as well as Live with Kelly and Ryan, the long-running hit syndicated series produced by the station.

O’Connell will start at WABC immediately but will simultaneously remain involved and help transition her responsibilities as executive vice president, sales and marketing, of Disney|ABC’s consolidated advertising sales group, a post she’s held for the past year.

Prior to that role, she was president, national TV sales for the ABC Owned Stations Group from 2014 to 2017. She also previously was VP of marketing at WABC.

O’Connell joined the group’s television division in 1999 after working at ABC Radio in sales and marketing. She began her career as an account executive for two of Liberty Broadcasting’s radio stations and marketing director for DiCarlo Distributors.

“Debra is a well-respected, highly strategic and driven leader that brings an impressive range of experience to this position,” said Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a results-oriented and entrepreneurial approach to the business of broadcasting, and we are confident that her valuable management expertise, strong relationships and deep dedication to the local community make her ideally suited for the top job at our flagship station.”


O’Connell serves as chairman of the International Radio & Television Society, an industry organization that focuses on mentorship, access, education and diversity.

She graduated summa cum laude from Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Science in professional studies, majoring in marketing. 

Comments (5)

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Snead Hearn says:

March 28, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Good for you Debra… Nice to see you get rewarded for your strong sales and sales leadership success. All the best.

Julien Devereux says:

March 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

What ^^^he^^ said!

Fred Corbus says:

March 28, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Congratulations, well deserved you have done a great job in every assignment given.
Carl Dickens

Cheryl Thorne says:

March 28, 2018 at 5:38 pm

Its pretty evident the GMs at the ABC O and O’s don’t make the final calls on important items..but nonetheless at least they hired a saleperson.

Matthew Castonguay says:

March 28, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Great choice!

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