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Clear Channel to NextMedia. A View From the Windy City

February 7, 2011 - Last week it was announced that Tim Dukes was hired by NextMedia in Chicago. The company brought Dukes back to Radio after being away from the business for 4 years. Dukes, a former WLUP Program Director and regional V.P. for Clear Channel, will oversee 8 stations in the windy city for Next. We caught up with Dukes on Superbowl weekend to go beyond the press release.

INK: What enticed you to come back to radio?

I've had a love affair with radio since elementary school when I caught the bug while listening to Gary Burbank on WHAS/Louisville. I got a great digital immersion at Tribune, and I'm excited to apply it to the business I spent the first 20 years of my career in. NextMedia has embraced streaming, mobile, and leveraging digital in general to reach more consumers and provide extra client value. Their executive management didn't look at me like the RCA dog when I spoke about digital media, which was exciting.


INK: At first glance, do you plan to make any programming/people changes?

I've been given product marching orders by Jeff Dinetz, Floyd Evans, and Pat Pendergast, and I've shared those with the teams I work with. There are specific areas where the company wants and needs to grow, and I'm super-serving those now. We have great people and I don't see my priorities requiring staff changes, unless there are some who don't want to be part of what we're doing or move as quickly as we need.


INK: You've only been gone 4 years but a lot has changed. How do you plan to integrate the Internet/FB/Twitter into your stations?

The stations are integrating them, but I want to make sure we're using them as more than buzzwords. A lot of media outlets will use social media to promote something that's happening hours away, which I think is a waste. I also think is a missed opportunity to post to Facebook or send a tweet without a link that gives users a gateway to the station's website. 


INK: How can Radio advance the ball with FB/Twitter etc?

Immediacy is everything, and so are web metrics that we can monetize. Plus, pulling audience from social sites into your own can give them a more rich experience, as long as you have content there to support it, of course.


INK: From Clear Channel to NextMedia. What are your expectations?

Lets have fun while we're growing the business, because it's a lot easier to increase when your team likes what they're doing and each other. I also admire NextMedia's effort to give their people in the trenches the tools they need. These days no company has an operating budget that is as big as they'd like, which requires innovation and elbow grease to make up the difference.