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Another Trophy For The Crowded Dan Mason Mantel

Dan Mason has lived, and continues to live, a radio life. After showing pictures of a young Mason with a huge head of hair and playing airchecks that sounded like they'd break every rule in the PPM book, the National Association of Broadcasters presented the CBS Radio President/CEO with its National Radio Award.

Mason, who has 35 years in the business so far, accepted the award with his family in attendance at the Radio Show in Dallas on Friday. Everyone you speak to who works with Mason, from EVP/Operations Scott Herman all the way to local air talent, will tell you how much they love working for him and for CBS. Employees believe Mason is committed to the product and to leading the industry through the maze of new technology challenges.

Mason told the Radio Show audience that he doesn't believe people listen to radio primarily for the music, or for the weather. He doesn't believe people listen to radio primarily for information. "People listen for companionship," he said. "Radio is a friend. Your radio station is a friend."

Mason is arguably the radio industry's strongest proponent of making sure local DJs connect with the audience -- he is a former programmer after all. On a panel yesterday, Mason said, "Up until the '90s, music was sold passionately by DJs. Then something happened and the industry became homogenized. Let's rekindle that spark. Radio really can sell product."

About a year ago Mason got a lot of attention after he met with a record executive who told him radio wasn't announcing the names of songs and artists enough. Mason took on the challenge, pushing a directive to do so down the CBS chain. "I want to help revive that relationship between radio and record labels," he said. "It needs to step up an entire notch, on steroids. We have a long way to go to reposition music like we did in the heyday of Top 40 radio." Sadly, this is still an issue for the industry, as was pointed out on the panel Mason sat on yesterday.

Mason began his radio career in 1975 at WZGC-FM in Atlanta. In 1977, he moved to Washington, DC, where he was WPGC-FM's program director and national program director for the station's parent company, First Media. In 1979, at age 27, KTSA & KTFM San Antonio named him vice president/general manager. Mason later returned to First Media and became president when the company became Cook Inlet Radio Partners. In 1993, he joined Westinghouse as president of Group W Radio, which later merged with CBS. Mason acted as CBS Radio President from 1995-2002. He returned full-time in 2007 after serving as a consultant to CBS and other domestic and international radio broadcasting companies.

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