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CBS execs on top in merged Eye/Par group

CBS Stations execs came out on top Thursday as the division, which recently merged with Paramount’s stations group, unveiled its new executive structure under prexy John Severino.

Departments such as sales, news and finance have now been combined under the new CBS Television Stations Division banner. Programming for the CBS and Paramount/UPN stations will continue to be handled by two separate execs, however.

Greg Schaefer, exec veep of sales and president of CBS Spot Sales, will now oversee group sales, while exec veepee of news Joel Cheatwood, who also serves as news director at WCBS New York, will oversee news programming groupwide.

John Moczulski will maintain programming duties at the CBS stations as exec VP of programming and marketing; Raymond Rajewski will hold an identical title as he oversees the programming and marketing for the group’s UPN stations.

“John was very familiar with the 16 CBS stations, and Ray was obviously familiar with the 19 Paramount stations,” Severino said. “Those areas are so complex and so complicated that the feeling was to keep those separate.”

Senior vice president of finance Anton Guitano has been handed oversight of the group’s financial operation; John Moran, veepee of human resources, will manage administrative issues for the group; and Martin Messinger, senior vice president and deputy general counsel for CBS Television, oversees the division’s legal matters.

“We’ve got the best portfolio of station assets in the industry, and this is the team to run it,” Severino said.

Severino was awarded the combined station group when the two sides merged in May (Daily Variety, May 24). Group now consists of 35 outlets nationwide. Sources note that the CBS Station Group has posted larger financial gains than the Paramount outlets, giving CBS the upper hand once the two sides merged.

Boasting CBS/UPN duopolies in Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Miami and Pittsburgh, Severino said the group has begun looking at possible program sharing between stations, including news.

“You’ll probably see some back and forth sharing first and foremost in the news area,” he said.

For example, Severino said he’s looking at utilizing the news staff of UPN’s Detroit outlet, WKBD to produce an 11 p.m. newscast for CBS-owned WWJ, which currently doesn’t run a news department. In other cases, CBS outlets could start producing earlier newscasts for their UPN sister stations, most of which don’t air news.

Severino said it will probably take six to nine months for the CBS and Paramount stations to complete their consolidation.

“In many markets, we’ll take the physical plant of the Paramount stations and relocate it in the CBS station,” he said.

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