It eliminates the COO and regional VP positions and promotes two former regional VPs to SVP positions, joining three others, all reporting to new President-CEO Hilton Howell.
Gray Television Restructures Its Leadership
In the wake of the resignation of Bob Prather as president-COO of Gray Television on June 21, the company on Tuesday announced a what it called a “streamlined management structure” consisting of a management team of five individuals who report to Gray Television President-CEO Hilton Howell. These five individuals, Gray said, “will be given responsibilities, some traditional and some new, that best elevate the talents of each.”
Howell said the move “will allow us to be decisive, innovative and agile. Just as important, our new structure is scalable in a way that allows us to grow our company and our local brands quickly.” As a result of these changes, Gray said it is eliminating the positions of COO and regional vice president. Howell added: “I am confident that Gray Television’s incredibly talented individuals at every level of the company will have the leadership and support needed to meet the challenges of the future.”
Effective immediately, this new management team consists of:
Nick Waller, currently regional VP for Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina, who will become SVP of the Mid-Atlantic and South regions. In addition to his current states, Waller will oversee operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. He will continue to manage Gray’s traffic hub in Tallahassee, Fla.
Prior to joining Gray in 2000, Waller spent 20 years with Datasouth Computer Corp., a designer and manufacturer of computer printer products, serving first as CFO and eventually as president. Since 2003, he has been president-GM of WCTV Tallahassee, and since 2005 as a regional VP. He is a director of the Florida Association of Broadcasters.
Bob Smith, currently regional VP for Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, and Nevada, will become the SVP of the Midwest and West regions. In addition to his current states, Smith will oversee our operations in Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. He also will work with our VP and director of national sales, Michael Spiesman.
Smith started in the broadcast industry as an account executive at WEAU Eau Claire, Wis., in 1986. Over the next 14 years, he served in a variety of sales manager roles as well as GMe of WHSV Harrisonburg, Va., and, later, WIFR Rockford, Ill. Smith has been GM of WMTV Madison, Wis., since 2000 and a regional VP for Gray since 2002.
Jason Effinger, currently regional VP for Texas and portions of the Midwest, will become SVP for media and technology. In this new role, he will oversee all of the media, internet and technology experts and resources that support Gray’s stations, including Gray digital media, technology, production and the digital media product called Mom’s Everyday, which Effinger developed and implemented at television stations owned by Gray and others. He also will lead Gray’s efforts to license products and services developed in-house to other broadcasters.
Effinger started in the broadcast industry in news and operations at WKBT La Crosse, Wis., in 1991. Over the next nine years, he assumed various leadership news and operations duties at WKBT and other stations. In 2001, he became station manager of WMTV Madison, Wis., and in 2005 he became GM of WEAU Eau Claire, Wis.
In 2007, Effinger became GM of KWTX Waco, Texas, and a regional VP. He subsequently served as GM of KAKE Wichita, Kan., and, most recently, GM of KOLN-KGIN-KSNB Lincoln, Neb.
Jim Ryan, SVP of finance and chief financial officer, will continue in this role. As such, he will continue to oversee accounting, finance, tax, benefits, and risk management functions at all levels in the company. Ryan became VP and CFO in October 1998 upon our acquisition of Busse Broadcasting, where he had served as CFO.
Kevin Latek, general counsel, will become SVP of business affairs. In addition to his current responsibility for law and strategic development, he will oversee corporate communications and our network and MVPD relationships.
Prior to joining Gray in early 2012, Latek spent 15 years as a media lawyer in a Washington law firm, where he primarily represented network affiliated television stations in affiliation, retransmission and transactional matters. He currently is the co-chair of the In-House Counsel Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law.
Gray also made two additional management changes:
Charlie Effinger, regional VP for portions of the Midwest, will become the VP of corporate development. In this new position, Effinger will be primarily responsible for program acquisitions and relationships with the broadcast networks and syndicators, working closely with Corporate Programming Director Greg Conklin. Effinger also will manage external and internal communications. She will report to Kevin Latek.
Effinger began her broadcasting career at WEAU Eau Claire, Wis., in 1984 as a writer/producer. In 1988, she moved to KOLN-KGIN Lincoln, Neb., where she was responsible for programming, promotion, creative services and administration. She returned to WEAU as GM in 2000, and she became GM of KKTV Colorado Springs in 2005.
She was promoted to regional VP in 2006, and during her tenure has overseen stations in Colorado, Texas, Nevada, Kansas and Nebraska. Effinger also was president-GM of WOWT Omaha, Neb., since 2007.
Lisa Guill, who has coordinated local production resources, capital projects, technology implementation, and workflow improvements, will become VP of production. In this role, she will continue her support of station production projects and also oversee the Gray Graphics hub. Guill will report to Jason Effinger.
Guill started her career in 1981 as a production assistant at KHGI Kearney, Neb., then spent several years as a director/producer at KETV Omaha. In 1988, she joined KOLN Lincoln in production and operations management, eventually becoming GM in 2003. Since late 2009, she has managed various corporate operations.