Infinity Executive Returns to District

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Baker, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Infinity Broadcasting Corp. has tapped Atlanta radio executive Michael Hughes to oversee its five Washington-area stations, a mixed bag that includes powerhouse urban-music broadcaster WPGC-FM (95.5) and struggling alternative rocker WHFS-FM (99.1).

Tweaking is possible at all of the stations, Mr. Hughes said. The cluster includes talker WJFK-FM (106.7), classic rocker WARW-FM (94.7) and gospel station WPGC-AM (1580).

"You're always looking to improve performance, whether your station is the top dog or one that is experiencing challenges," said Mr. Hughes, who assumes the newly created position of senior vice president and market manager on Monday.

WPGC-FM was the top-ranked station among listeners 12 and older during Arbitron Inc.'s most recent ratings survey. WHFS ranked 19th.

The general managers for all of Infinity's local stations will report to Mr. Hughes. In recent weeks, the company has announced similar restructurings at its clusters in cities including Los Angeles and Chicago.

Mr. Hughes declined to discuss specific changes he might make, but he said he is encouraged by the early performance of "The Sports Junkies," which moved from weeknights on WJFK to mornings on WHFS in November.

He is even looking forward to becoming the new boss of Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara, the naughty WJFK afternoon-drive duo who have caused lots of headaches for Infinity.

"I've been a fan of those guys for years. When I got the job, I sent them an e-mail to let them know I was coming to town," he said.

Mr. Hughes, the general manager of an Infinity-owned classic-rock station in Atlanta, spent some time in Washington in the late 1990s, when he helped retool Clear Channel Communications Inc. …