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RAB’s Hulvey: ‘Radio Is No Longer A One-Way Street.’

The Radio Advertising Bureau’s new President and CEO is hitting the ground running.

“My focus is engage, align and then activate,” Mike Hulvey told Benztown President Dave “Chachi” Denes at the NAB Show for an episode of the “Chachi Loves Everybody” podcast. “I’m going to use this early time to engage with our stakeholders, our team, [and] our board. I have ideas of where I want to go, but it’s malpractice if I don’t engage all facets of the RAB universe. Then, we’re going to go through a period of alignment.”

On the podcast, Hulvey looked back at a lifetime in radio, from his first job at age 15 assisting a local sportscaster at WITY in his native Danville, IL, to his time as CEO of Neuhoff Media. “Through my career, I really have done everything at a radio station with the exception of traffic,” he told Denes. “[When] I got my feet wet in the sports world, I started to pay attention to the other roles, [and ask], ‘What are the salespeople doing? What’s happening at the business office? How do all these dots get connected?’”

Hulvey’s connection to the RAB dates to 1999, when he attended an RAB event and followed up with an e-mail with suggestions on how it could be improved. That led to an invitation to join the RAB’s Sales Advisory Committee and later an invitation to join the RAB board.

He was subsequently invited to join the executive committee before becoming an officer. That led to a role as RAB board chair during the COVID-19 pandemic. From there he moved into the role of interim CEO.

Hulvey shared with Denes the interaction between him and outgoing President/CEO Erica Farber during the interim period before he took over the position. “Erica kept basically the team away from me because she said, ‘I know something about you — you dip your toe in something, and you’re just gonna jump in, and you’re not ready for that as you have other responsibilities.’ But I tried to jump into all the other Neuhoff markets not to be in the way, but to understand the staff’s successes and how they do it.”

As to radio’s future, “the definition of radio has changed, and it didn’t just change today,” Hulvey told Denes. “In the past, radio was an appliance, [but] radio is no longer a one-way street. It’s an eight-lane highway. Because of technology [and] innovation, radio now is so much more. Even with all the other things that may get in the way, the relationship that listeners have with their radio still remains very impactful. As long as we continue to understand the value of local advertisers, radio’s not dying. It’s evolving.”

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