December 2, 2015

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First Mediaworks

07/07/03 50 Years On The “40 Most Powerful” List

This issue, “The 40 Most Powerful People In Radio,” historically chronicles the state of the industry as though it is frozen in time. It’s interesting to look at past Radio Ink power lists, recalling names of people who are no longer in the limelight, while “newbies” join the list for the first time. Just when we think things have stabilized, there is a major change — a shift of power — and the list changes again.

Years from now, these lists will be a tool, a Radio chronicle. Each list reflects the changes in the industry, sometimes caused by acquisitions or sales, sometimes changed by regulations. No doubt next year’s list will see a major change as a reflection of recent FCC actions furthering deregulation (assuming the actions are not reversed by Congress).

Powerhouses in Radio come and go over the years, but few remain consistently on the list. If this list had been published for the last 50 years, only one name would have appeared each year: Ralph Guild, Chairman/CEO of Interep.

This issue marks our first Lifetime Leadership Award, an honor designed to highlight special “40 Most Powerful” alumni who have made amazing contributions to Radio. Only one person is immediately apparent as the first to receive this special award.

Ralph has been a mentor to me. In fact, in one way or another, he has mentored most of the people on the “40 Most Powerful” list. He is loved and admired by the entire Radio industry. His employees past and present would walk over hot coals for him. Guild has been responsible for bringing more advertisers to Radio than nearly anyone else in the industry today. He put Radio on the map as a professional industry by continually raising the standards.

While some people with Ralph’s financial success would be relaxing with a mai tai by their pool in Palm Beach, Ralph has chosen to remain active and in the game every day. Though he has a home in Palm Beach, every time I visit, his home is filled with the vibrancy of a man who just swallowed a glass of rocket fuel and is running his business at 7,000 mph.

My guess is that Ralph will never slow down. His decision to remain active has kept him young. Ralph is more current on the trends and technology impacting our world than most 30-year-olds. He continues to innovate, with his eye always on the next great thing he can bring to Radio.

As an industry, we owe a great debt of gratitude to this man. His power has been felt like an earthquake, rumbling throughout the Radio industry for five decades. He continues to lift the tide of all ships with his remarkable leadership. That is why we honor Ralph Guild with our first Lifetime Leadership Award.

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