Kevin BenzFounder, i-Media Strategies
Kevin’s career in journalism and marketing informs his leadership and editorial coaching. As the founder of i-Media Strategies he works with news leaders developing powerful newsroom systems aimed at producing more engaging journalism on-air and online.
Beyond 30 years in the field and in the news director’s chair, Kevin is well-known as an inspiring, engaging journalism coach and trainer. He’s presented to thousands of industry leaders and mentored hundreds one-on-one while working with the Carole Kneeland Project for Excellence in Journalism, Poynter, RTDNA and other related organizations.
Kevin launched two of the most innovative media organizations in the country — News 8 Austin, a 24-hour local cable news channel where he served as news director for 11 years; and as editor in chief at CultureMap Austin, the most read digital lifestyle magazine of the city.
Kevin’s newsrooms received national recognition with two Sigma Delta Chi awards, the National Edward R. Murrow award, three National Walter Cronkite awards for excellence in Political Journalism and as a finalist for the DuPont-Columbia Award.
A University of Texas graduate, Kevin is also a former Chairman of RTDNA where he chaired the planning committee for the first Excellence in Journalism convention; a Poynter Institute leadership fellow and visiting faculty member; and a Carole Kneeland Project fellow and trainer. He is a founder of the Southwest Broadcast Workshops held annually by TAB in Texas.
Kevin lives in Austin, Texas. He is married to a former news anchor, Olga Campos. They have twin daughters, Allegra and Corazon.
Don BackusAccount Manager, Rohde & Schwarz
Don Backus is Account Manager, Radio Transmitters for Rohde & Schwarz, handling Canada and the United States. Prior to joining Rohde & Schwarz in mid-2017, Don was Eastern US Sales Manager for Broadcast Electronics for five years. Don was previously VP of Sales & Marketing at ENCO Systems for 13 years and prior to that has held a number of positions in radio as an on-air personality, production director, general manager and chief engineer. He has presented to a number of professional broadcasting organizations including the Audio Engineering Society, a number of international, state and regional conferences and several SBE chapters. Don has served two terms on the board of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and has just completed serving a second term on the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation board.
Kevin DunawayGeneral Manager/Vice President, Heritage Broadcasting
Kevin Dunaway began his career as a news producer for 9 & 10 News/Heritage Broadcasting in September of 1998. After producing Michigan this Morning and 9 & 10 News at Noon, Kevin moved to assignment manager in December of that same year. After 4 months of working the desk in the newsroom handling assignments and breaking news in northern Michigan, Kevin moved into the role of assistant news director. There he managed the day to day operations of the 9 & 10 News department. In March of 2000, Kevin was promoted to News Director at 9 & 10 News/Heritage Broadcasting. Kevin’s role expanded in 2007 when he began to oversee the news department of the local FOX television station as well. During his time as news director, he has expanded the amount of news programming from 4 ½ hours a day to 7 ½ hours a day. He also ran a news department that won countless MAB and Associated Press news awards, including the MAB General Excellence Award for station of the year in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2013, Heritage Broadcasting added the duty of company Vice President to his job description. In his new additional role, Kevin helped oversee staffing, direction and assisted the General Manager with the future vision of the company. In April of 2016, Heritage Broadcasting named Kevin Dunaway General Manager/Vice President. Kevin has a wife, Michelle and an 8 year old daughter, Elizabeth. They enjoy spending time exploring northern Michigan and traveling whenever they get a chance.
Steve FinlaySenior Editor, WardsAuto
Steve Finlay is a WardsAuto senior editor who covers the auto-retail beat.
He has worked at WardsAuto for 21 years, initially covering auto production and sales. Before that, he spent 25 years at the Royal Oak Daily Tribune newspaper, starting out as a crime reporter. He was city editor when he left to join WardsAuto. His monthly WardsAuto column has won four national gold writing awards (three in a row) from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He resides in Royal Oak and graduated with a degree in psychology from Oakland University in Rochester.
Brandeis HallVice President of Revenue Development, Radio One
Brandeis started in radio when a station manager heard her voice and asked her to host the morning show on a college radio station. She told him she had to finish high school first, but joined the station the following August. Within three years, she KJCR’s Development Director, responsible for the station’s underwriting and public funding. WBAP in Dallas/Ft. Worth then recruited Brandeis for their Promotions Department. Free concert tickets, mugs and t-shirts, cool remotes; how could anyone say, “No?”
In the 1990s, France’s bi-lingual Radio 74 asked Brandeis to cross The Pond and direct their English-language programming and production. Eventually, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation lured her over the border into Geneva to help them create and launch Switzerland’s first English-language FM Radio station, WRG-FM (Now WRS-FM). Despite living adjacent to the Alps for 7 years, she remains an appalling skier, but can identify an impressive range of Western European cheeses. Ultimately, her path brought her back to the Dallas/Fort Worth market, where she worked for two Dallas stations in sales, production, and management before joining the hardworking team at the Radio Advertising Bureau.
As Vice President of Professional Development, Brandeis trained tens of thousands of radio sales and management professionals throughout the United States, Africa, South America, and Europe and was a frequent speaker at radio and other media conferences.
Brandeis currently works for Radio One as Vice President of Revenue Development. In this role, she creates curriculum and oversees the sales and management training for hundreds of radio professionals; creating a Revenue Culture in Radio One’s 15 markets across the U.S.
When not travelling for business, Brandeis packs her bags and globetrots for pleasure and buys supplies for household DIY projects she rarely completes.
Kirk HarnackSenior Systems Consultant, The Telos Alliance
Kirk Harnack brings nearly 40 years of hands-on experience in broadcast engineering and education to his position at The Telos Alliance. His expertise in putting technology to work in broadcast facilities has driven notable expansion in IP-Audio, VoIP for broadcast, and other new technology adoption by audio content creators.
Kirk maintains an active, hands-on role in broadcast engineering through his positions as a partner and VP-Engineering of South Seas Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of KKHJ-FM and WVUV-FM in American Samoa. He is also partner and Director of Engineering for Delta Radio, LLC, licensee of six radio stations in Cleveland, Indianola, and Greenville, Mississippi. Kirk is a certified Meteorologist, Private Pilot, and licensed General Class Amateur Radio operator (KD5FYD). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and has served as Chairman of the SBE Chapter in Memphis, Tennessee, and Program Chair and Vice-Chair of SBE Chapter 103 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Kirk founded the Internet video netcast, “This Week in Radio Tech” or “TWiRT”. This 1-hour weekly video netcast, features regular contributors and guests from the world of radio engineering.
Boyd HuppertReporter/Host of "Land of 10,000 Stories," KARE-TV (Minneapolis)
During his 34-year career in television news, Boyd Huppert has become widely known for his work as a video storyteller and teacher.
In his primary role, Boyd works as a reporter at KARE TV in Minneapolis, where he produces and hosts the station’s weekly “Land of 10,000 Stories” segment.
Boyd has also presented more than 150 visual storytelling workshops across North America and in Norway, Denmark and New Zealand.
Boyd’s work as a reporter has earned some of journalism’s highest honors, including a national Emmy for feature reporting, more than 100 regional Emmys, the Scripps Howard Award, and multiple National Headliner, Sigma Delta Chi and Gabriel Awards. In 2017 Boyd was recognized with the National Edward R. Murrow Award for news writing, his 16th National Murrow. Boyd is a 2016 recipient of the Sprague Award, the highest honor bestowed by the National Press Photographers Association. Also in 2016, Boyd was inducted into the Emmy Silver Circle, recognizing career contributions to the television industry.
Prior to his arrival at KARE in 1996, Boyd worked at WITI-TV in Milwaukee, KETV in Omaha and WSAW-TV in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Boyd grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and graduated with a journalism degree from UW-River Falls, where he was named the university’s 2013 distinguished alumnus.
Laurie KahnCreator and President, Media Staffing Network Inc.
Laurie Kahn is Creator and President of Media Staffing Network, Inc., the first staffing company to cater exclusively to media sales and associated departments for full time placement, consulting and career coaching for the Agency, Broadcast, Cable, Internet, Digital, New Media and Print industries. Successfully placing people since 1993, now offers solutions to finding local sellers in all market sizes.
Kahn’s more than 25 years experience in media includes local and national sales positions in both large and small markets; turn around expertise with new formats; and local and national management positions.
Kahn is currently involved with various industry associations and participates at career fairs, colleges and webinars to educate individuals about career opportunities. Kahn conducts seminars targeting all aspects of talent acquisition, job search and how to grow your career. In addition, Kahn has authored articles appearing in Career Builder, Chicago Tribune, Sales and Marketing Magazine, Radio Ink, Young Money, and Inside the Minds “Staffing Leadership Strategies” to name a few. Kahn has been featured in Crain’s/Chicago and quoted in the Wall Street Journal. She has also developed courses for women re-entering the work force and has mentored numerous women in media.
Kahn has been an elected member of MIW (Most Influential Women in Media) yearly since 2008 and has received numerous awards for sales and management throughout her career.
She regularly presents workplace topics to industry associations nationwide, including Broadcast Education Association, Chicago Advertising Federation, National Association of Broadcasters, Broadcast & Financial Managers Assn. and the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Marisa KwiatkowskiInvestigative Reporter, The Indianapolis Star
Marisa Kwiatkowski is an investigative reporter for The Indianapolis Star. She handles investigations relating to social services and welfare issues, including child abuse and neglect, poverty, elder abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and access to mental health services. Marisa has earned more than 50 journalism awards, including Indiana Journalist of the Year, IRE’s Tom Renner Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award in public service, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award. Prior to The Star, Marisa worked for media outlets in northwestern Indiana, South Carolina and Michigan.
In 2016, Marisa and her colleagues launched an investigation into USA Gymnastics that revealed top officials at the sport’s national governing body failed to report many allegations of sexual abuse by coaches and showed how predators exploited a lax culture to prey on children. As a result of the series, more than 330 women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Larry Nassar, a longtime team physician who worked in four Olympic games. Nassar was convicted of criminal charges and sent to prison. The series also spurred Congress to pass a bill that would make it a federal crime for national governing bodies to fail to immediately report alleged sexual abuse.
In 2013, Marisa received two national awards, as well as state and regional awards, for her coverage of the difficulties of children with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities to receive appropriate mental health services. She found parents falsely admitting to neglect in order to secure services for their children. After Marisa’s series published, state officials pledged up to $25 million per year to close the funding gap.
One of her articles, “The exorcisms of Latoya Ammons,” became the most-read piece in The Star’s history.
Brad LanserGeneral Manager/Vice-President, Lanser Broadcasting
Brad Lanser began his career in broadcasting a little over 20 years ago this past June. He started out as a Sales Consultant and later took over the General Manager duties along with becoming Vice-President and eventually part owner. Lanser Broadcasting currently operates two radio stations (JQ99 and “The Pledge”) in the Grand Rapids market. Before coming to Lanser Broadcasting Brad owned a Landscape Company and operated it for 10 years before joining the Broadcast ranks.
Joe LittleMMJ/News Reporter, NBC San Diego
Joe Little is a television news journalist at KNSD in San Diego, CA. He’s a proud Multimedia Journalist and often travels the country with his Garden Gnome teaching his strategies for better storytelling, on-camera performances, and time management.
Joe has been awarded 12 Emmys and was a finalist for the NPPA’s Photojournalism Award for Reporting in 2017. His creative stories have taken viewers as far away as Pakistan; to a story completely contained inside a dumpster.
Joe’s mantra: “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”
It has served him well since 1999 as he zigzagged across the country as a television news reporter and anchor with stops in Hagerstown, Maryland; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; San Diego and Carlsbad, California. Joe has taught journalists and students from around the world how to improve their visual storytelling. He joined the faculty at the NPPA News Video Workshop in Norman, Oklahoma in 2013. Coincidentally, that was also the last year Joe used a stick mic.
His coverage of the 9/11 attacks is among Joe’s greatest accomplishments. He was four miles away from Shanksville, Pennsylvania when United Flight 93 crashed. Joe was one of the first reporters on the scene. His accounts are included in a book called Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report on 9/11. Joe’s expertise has also been included in a number of journalism textbooks.
Joe received his Masters from Syracuse University in 1999. But he credits George Mason University with building a strong foundation for his career. In 1998, he earned his BA in Speech Communication. While at Mason, Joe was a proud member of the Men’s Basketball Team (Career Totals: 2 points, 3 rebounds). In 2010, the Department of Communication and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences named Joe the Alumnus of the Year.
Kipper McGeeChief Brandwidth Strategist, Kipper McGee LLC
Creative thinker, dynamic leader and published author (“Brandwidth”, please see below) with proven ability to excel in all stages of brand management and marketing communications. Skilled and experienced at fully leveraging fiscal and human resources for groundbreaking success.
His book “Brandwidth: How Big Broadcasting Is Missing the Mediamorphosis” has lead to countless seminars, keynotes and workshops. This exposure has lead to a weekly podcast with mentor and media pro David Martin called “Brandwidth On Demand” where media thought leaders share their insights.
Led successful re-launches and/or turnarounds of media brands in highly competitive markets including Chicago, St. Louis, San Diego, Milwaukee and others. Delivered top performance ratings for formats ranging from News-Talk to CHR, AC, Oldies and Country. Advocated, introduced and executed digital marketing strategies including web re-design; consumer loyalty programs; database maximization; distribution of audio, video and text content; social media and SMS.
Specialties: Strategic planning; Consumer Trending Analysis; Quality Control; Results Orientation in a proactive “solutions-seeking” approach; Bottom-line Accountability.
Brand management and imaging; recruiting, training and coaching; expectation management and team/individual goal-setting;
Web analytics; database/direct marketing (B2B & B2C); Constant reinvention: “Experiment, Measure, Evolve.”
Tim MooreManaging Partner, Audience Development Group
Finally, after weeks of lobby-sitting, Tim Moore wore down his first employer, and was offered a seven-to-midnight job at age 16. He never looked back.
Managing partner for Radio’s preeminent multiple format consulting firm, Moore thrives on innovating, and the road not taken. At 29 he became Vice President for the TM Companies (Dallas), and shortly thereafter, was awarded executive VP stripes, overseeing both TM Productions and TM Programming for Roy Disney’s parent ownership, Shamrock Broadcasting.
From there Moore began buying radio stations at age 33. Building formats from the ground-up, each station became ratings and revenue success stories. In the mid 90’s he formally established Audience Development Group with colleague Alan Mason, resurrecting a name he and Jon Coleman had intended for a research company, while colleagues at TM.
With consolidation, Audience Development Group’s business plan calling for a “Mayo Clinic” cluster-approach with expertise in multiple formats resulted in a highly successful national reputation, strategically positioned to provide cluster guidance for multiple formats in markets of all sizes.
In 2004, Moore’s book The Motivator, a collection of leadership essays was widely read and endorsed by the Radio Advertising Bureau. He also authors the firm’s weekly E-Column Midweek Motivator, distributed to thousands of media readers each week.
Tim lives in Naples, Florida, travels coast to coast, and has addressed the NAB, RAB, Canadian Broadcasters, Conclave, and countless state associations. He holds a degree in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts from CMU, and is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Brian SavoieSenior Director for Technology Education and Outreach, NAB
Brian Savoie is senior director, technology education and outreach for NAB. In this role, Brian produces compelling educational content for broadcasters across a variety of platforms.
Brian is an award-winning writer and producer specializing in non-profit and educational video production. He has won multiple Cine and Telly Awards. In 2007, Brian received the Cine Special Jury prize for producing Mesopotamia: From Nomads to Farmers. This award capped a fabulous run for this character driven story about life in ancient Mesopotamia. In addition to these awards, Brian was part of the production team that claimed the ‘Outstanding Children’s Television Series’ EMMY for Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye.
Brian is a vice chair of the National Capital region chapter of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). He is also a member of the Board of Representatives for the PGA East. Brian is a member of the Television Academy (formerly, ATAS).
Jeff WeltonCBRE, Nautel
Jeff Welton has been with Nautel for over 28 years, the first 17 of which were spent in field service and technical support positions, as well as assisting Engineering with design review of new products and improvement of existing systems. Since moving to Sales in 2007, Jeff keeps finding ways to get his hands dirty and can frequently be found assisting in the install of a transmitter he’s sold, as well as performing several site inspections every year, along with the occasional repair. Recipient of the SBE’s James C. Wulliman Educator of the Year Award for 2018, Jeff writes several articles and performs presentations every year on the topics of lightning protection, grounding, transmitter site safety and various other subjects of interest in the broadcast engineering field, as well as being a contributor to the 11th edition, NAB Engineering Handbook, authoring the chapter on Facility Grounding Practice and Lightning Protection, among others.
Paul WeylandPresident, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies
Paul Weyland is an international speaker, humorist, marketing, branding and sales strategist, consultant, trainer, author and university lecturer.
Paul started in the late 1970s as an on-air radio personality. He then went on to prove himself on the street as a leading broadcast sales person, specializing in long-term local direct sales.
Paul made a name for himself speaking to and working in executive-level positions in the television and radio business. Among his experiences was a three-year assignment managing and training overseas broadcasters in Prague, Geneva and London. In 2000 he started his own marketing and consulting business. Since then Paul has been featured in sales symposiums world-wide, including sessions with the National Association of Broadcasters, Europe Radio Days and with virtually every State Broadcast Association in the United States.
His speaking style is described as “dynamic,” “inspirational,” “engaging” and “hysterically funny.” His humor and real-world experience combine to create relevant tools that people and organizations can implement immediately to increase their bottom lines. Paul keeps his audience on the edge of their seats, laughing until their faces hurt and the makeup is running down their cheeks.
Jack ZavoralDirector of Member Development, Local Media Association
Jack Zavoral is a digital sales and marketing professional who has worked in dozens of markets with hundreds of merchants on their digital marketing strategies. He led the digital sales teams at the local broadcast and newspaper properties owned by Quincy Broadcasting, and also led the digital sales team at MyWeather, LLC. He is a regular speaker at digital marketing conferences and seminars focused on integrating digital with traditional media.
His earlier experience in brand management with packaged goods companies Birds Eye foods and Rayovac batteries put him on both sides of the advertising transaction table. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Marketing. He has been certified by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) in Advanced Digital Media Sales and has co-produced LMA’s Advanced Digital Sales certification course. Jack and his wife Tina are longtime residents of the Madison, WI area. Together they have four adult children. Jack enjoys sailing, fishing, hunting and all things in the outdoors