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The Story Behind the Story; McVay’s Return to Consulting

McVay joined Cumulus in August 2011 as Senior VP of Programming after heading up McVay Media for 28 years.


In the summer of 2018, he expressed his interest to President/CEO Mary Berner to return to his consultancy, agreeing to stay on until his successor was named.

Below is a portion of a memo Mary Berner sent to Cumulus employees recapping her relationship with McVay that began as she was placed in charge of the struggling radio group.

Three and a half years ago and two days into my tenure at Cumulus, I made my first trip to Nashville with Mike McVay. It was clear from the initial and abundant feedback from our programmers that our corporate programming effort needed a reboot. Mike agreed. So as we headed to the office from the airport, I asked him, “What would you do if you were me?” For the rest of the ride, he outlined a broad plan for change and by the time we reached our destination, I was convinced that Mike was the perfect guy to lead our programming organization. It’s always nice to be right but, given how much was at stake, it was especially great to be right about Mike.

Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, Content and Programming in 2015 are too numerous to count. To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the Office of Programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth. We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations. Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful The Ben Shapiro Show. Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening. The “collective contests” he initiated have greatly benefitted our markets from small to large. And perhaps most importantly, his commitment to our FORCE values has driven a significant improvement in our programming culture. A reboot, indeed. Last summer, Mike told me he wanted to return to the flexibility of his highly successful consulting career. I asked, and he agreed to stay on to ensure a smooth transition and to lead the search for his replacement.


Today … McVay is operating McVay Media Consulting. He is again sharing with content creators how to develop, build and perfect content. His success rate is substantiated.

Mike Headshot LDO_9616.jpg
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