NASHVILLE, TN — Bayard “Bud” Walters, president, Cromwell Group, Inc., and Deborah A. McDermott, CEO, Standard Media Group, both of Nashville, were honored by the Library of American Broadcasting during its annual Giants of Broadcasting and the Electronic Arts Award Luncheon on Tuesday, November 15, at Gotham Hall in New York City.
The impressive list of honorees includes TV Chef Julia Child (recognized posthumously); Sean McManus, chairman, CBS Sports; S. Epatha Merkerson, Emmy, Golden Globe, NAACP and SAG award-winning actress, Chicago Med, Law & Order; Bob Pittman, chairman & CEO, iHeartMedia; Adam Symson, president-CEO, The E.W. Scripps Co; Pete Williams, recently retired NBC justice correspondent; and Fareed Zakaria, anchor, author and columnist for CNN and The Washington Post. Honorees are those who have been the creators, innovators, journalists, leaders, performers, and producers that have brought the electronic arts to the prominence they occupy in the United States and the world today, and who have set the stage for the future.
Walters founded Cromwell in 1969 with the formation of a single station in Hawesville, Kentucky. On Election Day 1972, the station went on the air (Richard Nixon was elected President). WKCM celebrated its 50th anniversary on Election Day, 2022. Over the years, Cromwell has grown to a family of thirty-one stations, with corporate offices in Nashville, Tennessee. The company manages affiliates operating 6 AM and 25 FM stations in six markets: Decatur, Effingham, Mattoon, and Vandalia, Illinois, Owensboro/Tell City, KY/IN, and Nashville, TN.
When asked about his years in radio and whether he would choose the same path again, Walters said, “In college I saw what a difference a small-town radio station could make in a community. That’s when I decided on broadcast management and ownership (I was a lousy DJ). The idea of community service still rings true, and we have so much more technology today. Local radio has to include digital, social, web, streaming, Alexa, and compelling programming.”
Last year, Walters was named number one leader in radio by his peers in Radio Ink magazine’s 2021 Top 20 Leaders List.
McDermott has earned recognition from both her staff and the industry at large as one of the nation’s top executives in broadcast media, including induction into the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame in 2013. Throughout her career, McDermott has remained steadfast in her belief in the power of local television news and programming and its partnership with network programming, while never shying away from adapting to changing media conditions.
At KRON-TV in San Francisco after it lost NBC affiliation, she invested in local news expansion, which not only saved jobs but also developed a news powerhouse for the city. It was her calm nature, operational excellence, and keenly aware leadership skills that helped her to lead the company out of Chapter 11. Following this, as CEO, she spearheaded Young’s successful mergers with Media General and LIN Media, ultimately overseeing the combined company’s more than 70 television stations. Then, during the merger with LIN, WISH-TV, the long-term CBS affiliate in Indianapolis lost its network affiliation. Again, McDermott worked with the station’s leadership team to expand local news and programming, saving jobs and repositioning WISH as a market leader. Today both KRON-TV and WISH-TV operate on the same basic models that were built under McDermott’s leadership.
Now, McDermott is slated to lead TEGNA as its CEO following its pending acquisition by Standard General. Once this transaction is complete, McDermott will be CEO of the nation’s largest minority-owned, woman-led broadcast company, expanding the diversity of voices in television broadcasting.
ESPN 102.5/106.3 The Game (97.5 in Rutherford County) and 102.9 The Buzz are locally owned and are sister stations to 93.3 Classic Hits, 94.9 The Fan (95.1 in Rutherford County) and 102.1 The Ville. Cromwell Group, Inc. operates 31 radio stations: 5 in Nashville, 8 in Kentucky and 18 in Illinois. All stations can be streamed on mobile devices using station apps, including worldwide access for the sports/talk stations, through Alexa smart speakers and the iGoRadio app.
Paducah Television Operations LLC dba Standard Media Group is an innovative and diverse media company committed to serving local communities. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, with operations in Lincoln, Nebraska; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and Providence, Rhode Island, Standard Media’s leadership team has a long history of building strong, local broadcast and digital media outlets. Standard Media Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard General L.P.
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