Chicago programming chief moves up at Clear Channel

The man who’s been calling the shots on the air and behind the scenes at Clear Channel’s Chicago radio stations since 2008 is climbing the corporate ladder.

Tony Coles has been named senior vice president of programming for the west region of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. While still based in Chicago, he will be leading “programming strategy initiatives” for the company’s west regional markets, as of March 15.

Coles, 44, most recently has been vice president of programming and operations for Clear Channel Chicago and national brand manager for hot adult-contemporary stations.

“I want to thank Clear Channel’s senior leadership team for this amazing opportunity to further my career within the company,” Coles said in a statement Thursday. “Programming is my passion and I am thrilled to be working with some of the best teams in the country. The west region has strong brands and I look forward to building upon their successes.”

Coles, who attended Ohio University and graduated from Marylhurst University, began as an on-air personality in Columbus, Ohio, and shifted to management in 1991. He held a variety of programming positions in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle before he was named regional vice president of programming for Clear Channel, based in Portland, Oregon, in 2004. In August 2008, he succeeded Darren Davis as programming and operations chief in Chicago.

Matt Martin, president of operations for Clear Channel, said of Coles: “Tony's passion for leading people, his desire to win and proven track record make him a perfect fit for our regional team,” and added: “We are excited to benefit from Tony's talents and experiences throughout the regionals.”

Coles’ promotion was announced to staffers at a meeting Thursday. Clear Channel said it will begin an active search for a vice president of programming here.

In Chicago, Clear Channel operates urban contemporary WGCI-FM (107.5), gospel WGRB-AM (1390), Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5), adult contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9), urban adult-contemporary WVAZ-FM (102.7), Spanish pop WNUA-FM (95.5) and Spanish sports/talk ESPN Deportes Radio at 97.5 FM.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)