Pat LaPlatney is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Raycom Media. He joined Raycom in August 2007.
This is LaPlatney's second tour with Raycom, having spent eight years with Raycom Sports, departing there as Senior Vice President of Programming and Distribution in 1997. While at Raycom Sports he had oversight responsibility for distribution, programming, the events group, and business development.
LaPlatney spent the early part of his career with Blair Television as an Account Executive and Sales Manager in the Atlanta office. He also worked for Metro Networks as SVP-Television and Digital Media where he built Metro’s news services division, and developed the first commercial traffic website. Metro Networks was acquired by Westwood One, and LaPlatney ultimately became Executive Vice President of Television and Digital Media for Westwood overseeing the Television Division, Digital Media, and Public Sector Services.
LaPlatney is on the Board of the National Association of Broadcasters, Bounce TV, and Raycom Media.
Pat is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Accounting. He and his wife, Karen, have four sons: Jack, Dan, Sam and Chris, and reside in Montgomery, Alabama.
In July of 2016 Susana Schuler was promoted to Executive Vice President, Content & Operations for Raycom Media. In that role Susana oversees News, Marketing, Digital Content, Programming and Research for the company. Schuler joined Raycom Media in February 2006 to oversee Raycom Media's news operations. Prior to coming aboard Schuler was VP/Corporate News Director for Nexstar Broadcasting Group in Irving, Texas for 9 years with oversight of that company's news operations across the country. Prior to joining Nexstar Schuler served in News Management roles in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas as well as anchor, reporter, producer and assignment manager roles in Texas and Pennsylvania.
Schuler is a Cum Laude graduate of Texas Christian University with a BS degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Business. She serves on the ABC Board of Governors as well as the Carole Kneeland Foundation and the Broadcast Advisory Board of the Associated Press. She currently serves as President of the Alabama Christian Academy President's Council. Schuler also volunteers for the American Cancer Society, Race for the Cure and the American Red Cross. Previously Schuler served on advisory boards for the University of North Texas, Ball State University and Eastern Illinois University. In 2010 the Radio Television Digital News Foundation honored Susana with the First Amendment Service Award for her work in championing First Amendment rights of journalists across the country. In 2002 Broadcasting & Cable Magazine named Schuler one of the Next Wave of Women in Communications to watch in the future. She is a first generation American born to Chilean parents. As a news woman she has the dubious distinction of giving birth to her younger daughter on September 11, 2001. Schuler, her husband Ray Willingham and younger daughter Monica live in Montgomery, Alabama. Their older daughter, son-in-law and grandson are part of the U.S. Army thanks to her son-in-law's enlistment in 2010.
Sandy Breland joined Raycom Media in July of 2008 as Vice President/General Manager of WAFB/WBXH in Baton Rouge. Breland relocated back to Louisiana after serving two years as Executive News Director of KTVK-TV, an award-winning independent in Phoenix, Arizona. Under Breland’s leadership, KTVK was honored with the national Service to America award.
Prior to her time in Phoenix, Breland served eleven years as Executive News Director of WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans. Breland has been honored with a Peabody, Dupont, and National Murrow, for her planning and execution of WWL’s coverage during Hurricane Katrina. WWL was the only local broadcaster to remain on the air throughout the storm, providing residents with life-saving information. Breland has also been honored with RTNDF’s First Amendment Award and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service.
Breland had an opportunity to return to her beloved hometown in December of 2013 when Raycom Media began managing WVUE-TV, the FOX affiliate in New Orleans, through a shared services agreement with Louisiana Media Company.
Breland serves on the LSU Manship Board of Visitors and is chairman of the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. Breland holds a BA in Journalism from Loyola University-New Orleans. She has also attended continuing education sessions at Columbia University’s Sulzberger Leadership Program, Missouri University’s Management Program for Broadcast Professional, and the Poynter Institute. Sandy and her husband Dave have two children.
While attending college in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, Don had an opportunity to go to work in a local advertising agency. This was his career goal so he took a position as an associate copywriter. While there, Don met media sales representatives from local radio and TV stations and talked to them about their jobs. Their passion for their work was enough to convince him to pursue a career in broadcasting.
Don went to work for WRBQ FM, Tampa's first FM rock station. After 4 years of selling ads, writing copy and creating radio promotions, Don left radio for the exciting new world of independent TV.
Don went to work in sales at independent station WTOG Ch. 44 in St. Petersburg. After 3 years he was named local sales manager. Having had enough of palm trees and warm winters, Don left for Denver, Colorado where he was local/regional sales manager for Tribune's KWGN TV. In 1985, Don left for Oklahoma City to become the general manager for a brand new independent station KAUT TV, owned by Heritage Media. In 1988, Don relocated to Richmond, Virginia to be the VP General Manager of Fox affiliate WRLH for Act 111 Broadcasting. When Act 111 sold to Sullivan Broadcasting Don stayed as an investor and President/ GM. When Sullivan Broadcasting was bought out in 1998, Don was hired by Jefferson Pilot as VP, General Manager of WWBT NBC 12 in Richmond. For 12 years Don was privileged to be the GM of the legacy NBC affiliate. Following the purchase of WWBT by Raycom Media in 2008, Don became a Raycom Regional Vice President in 2009 and was then named Group Vice President in March of 2011.
Don is still based in Richmond, Virginia and enjoys working with the outstanding Raycom and American Spirit Media TV stations in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Don has served on a number of community boards in Richmond and is a past President of the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.
Jeff Rosser was named Raycom Media's third Group Vice President in January, 1999 to oversee
several of Raycom Media's television stations. With the acquisition of additional stations since then, Jeff now oversees
ten Raycom television stations. He is credited with helping to achieve
numerous shared services agreements in Raycom markets,
most recently in Honolulu, West Palm Beach and Tucson.
Jeff's early background is in television news. He worked as a reporter, photographer, producer and bureau chief at stations in Salt Lake City and in Dallas. At the age of 27 he accepted his first News Director position with the ABC affiliate in Tulsa. In 1976, he hired Barbara Allen as a news anchor from a station in Ft. Myers, Florida. A year later, Jeff and Barbara were married.
In 1978, Jeff became a news producer, and then Assistant News Director at WNBC-TV in New York. Two years later he moved to Boston where he was the News Director for Westinghouse-owned WBZ. In 1983 he became the Vice President of News for WNEV also in Boston. During his eight years in Boston, Jeff accepted the Regional Emmy Award for Best Newscast in New England, four times, three of those times in consecutive years.
Jeff's first General Manager's job came in 1988 at Times Mirror owned WVTM-TV in Birmingham. Two years later, Times Mirror announced Jeff as the new General Manager at KDFW-TV in Jeff's home town, Dallas. Before coming to Raycom Media, Jeff also served as General Manager at stations in Providence, Ft. Smith/Fayetteville and Oklahoma City.
Jeff served a four year term on the ABC Affiliate Board of Governors, and was the Board's representative on the ABC Affiliate News Director's Advisory Committee. He also served a term on the National Association of Broadcasters Television Board of Directors and continues to serve on the FOX Affiliate Board of Governors. Jeff received his Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism from Brigham Young University.
Nick Simonette grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and began his career in broadcasting while he was still a student at the University of New Orleans in 1978. His first job was with the NBC affiliate in New Orleans, WDSU-TV. Since his tenure at WDSU-TV he has worked at several major market television stations, including Miami, Cincinnati, San Antonio, and Louisville. Nick came up through the ranks in the news department filling nearly every position in the newsroom. He held the position of news director at several stations in major markets for over 12 years. Nick began his news directing career at WAFB in Baton Rouge, LA. He worked at WAFB for 10 years then moved on to Louisville followed by San Antonio. He then returned to WAFB in 2002 to take the position of vice president/general manager.
Nick has served on several civic boards through the years, including the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters (as chairman), the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation (as chairman), the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce, the Baton Rouge General Foundation Board, the Baton Rouge Symphony Board, the St. Michael's Catholic School Foundation Board and the Habitat for Humanity's Board.
In April of 2008 Raycom Media purchased WBTV. Nick knew of the great legacy that WBTV enjoyed and when the opportunity to become Vice President/General Manager of WBTV came along, it was too good to pass up. Since coming to Charlotte, Nick has become a member of the Rotary Club and also serves on the Better Business Bureau Board of Directors, the American Red Cross Board of Directors and the Greater Enrichment Program Board of Directors.
Nick’s philosophy is simple..."it is not enough to be right. You also have to be fair and it is our responsibility to make a positive impact on the communities that we serve". Nick has been married to his bride, Suzanne, for 31 years. They have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
Brad attended Stephen F. Austin State University, graduating in 1979 with a major in Radio/Television and a minor in Business. During college he was active in his fraternity, Theta Chi and served as president. During his junior year he began working nights and weekends as a camera operator at KTRE-TV in Lufkin, Texas. Prior to graduation from college he had worked his way up to director of newscasts at KTRE.
In December of 1979 he began his job as Producer/Director at WBTI-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio. In October of 1980 he was promoted to Station Manager at WBTI. In the spring of 1982 Brad went back to KTRE in Lufkin, Texas to serve as Station Manager. In February of 1984 he moved to Jackson, Mississippi to accept the position of Station Manager at WLBT-TV. While in Jackson, Brad was certified as an instructor for the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking and Human Relations course, which he taught for 10 years. In the fall of 1990, Brad accepted the position of President, Civic Communications, Texas and General Manger at KLTV in Tyler, Texas. He continued as general manager of KLTV through two successive ownership changes. Brad launched general manager commentaries on KLTV earning top honors by the Texas Associated of Press Broadcasters as the "Best in Texas" two years in a row. In January, 2008, Raycom Media, owners of KLTV promoted him to the newly created position, Regional VP. In August, 2009 Raycom appointed him Group Vice President-Television.
Brad has served on several public service organizations including The Great Texas Balloon Race, the United Way of Smith County and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. He is former chairman of The Great Texas Balloon Race, PATH (People Attempting to Help) and the Texas Association of Broadcasters.
Rebecca Bryan joined Raycom Media, Inc. in September, 1997 as Vice President/Corporate Counsel and has responsibility for all legal functions for Raycom and its subsidiaries. Prior to joining Raycom, Ms. Bryan served as Vice President/General Counsel for KinderCare Learning Centers, Inc. the country's largest childcare organization.
Bryan graduated from the University of Alabama where she received both her B.S. and J.D. Degrees. Immediately after law school, she served as a Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice James H. Faulkner and was in the private practice of law for four years.
Bryan is a member of the Alabama and American Bar Associations, the Alabama Corporate Counsel Association (past Board Member) and the International Association of Defense Attorneys/Corporate Division. She is also a member of the Communications Law Forum. She is married and has two children.
David Burke joined Raycom Media as the Director of MIS in September, 1997. David served as an officer in the United States Air Force and then held various IT related positions in private industry prior to joining the company. David's last position prior to Raycom Media was Director of Communications and Client Support for KinderCare Learning Centers, Inc., the country's largest childcare provider. David was promoted to VP, Technology on January 1, 2015.
David graduated from The Citadel in 1983 with a degree in Mathematics. David earned an M.B.A. from the University of West Florida in 1986. David serves as an executive committee member of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail of Alabama, and the Director of Technology for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. David has been engaged in a number of IT industry and professional associations over his career.
Joe is Senior VP/Digital Media and Strategy. He oversees the digital group, and leads efforts to create new revenue streams through startups, investments and acquisitions.
Joe has a deep digital media background, including EVP/GM of Weather Channel Interactive, with overall responsibility for the Web, mobile and interactive television platforms. In addition, he has been President of Vertical Acuity, a venture-backed content marketing platform that was sold to Outbrain, and SVP Ecommerce for CafePress Services.
Joe grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, and has a BA from Princeton and a JD/MBA from the University of Virginia. He is a board member of Crisp Media, the largest mobile rich media provider, and a former board member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Wayne Freedman joined Raycom Media as VP/Sales in 2010. In this role, Wayne's mission is to leverage the collective and considerable experience and success of all Raycom stations to generate greater local and national revenues, across all broadcast and digital platforms.
Prior to joining Raycom, Wayne was with Gannett Broadcasting for 17 years, where he served as VP Business Development from 2001-2010. His Gannett career began in 1983, when he joined WXIA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, as National Sales Manager. From 1983 to 2001, he also served as WXIA's Local Sales Manager and VP/General Sales Manager. Wayne began his career in 1977 as a member of the first-ever Sales Associate Training Program for Blair TV, and worked as an AE and Sales Manager for Blair in Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York from 1977-1983.
From 1991-2001, Wayne left broadcasting for the Atlanta-based 700-store national photo retail chain Wolf Camera, serving as Exec VP/Chief Marketing Officer. In this position, he oversaw Wolf Camera's in-house retail advertising operations, including media negotiation and creative execution in newspapers, radio, television, outdoor, and the Internet, in more than 50 media markets nationwide.
Wayne is a 1977 magna cum laude graduate of Northwestern University. He and his wife, Nancy, have three children. He currently serves on the Board of the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), is a 2002 graduate of Leadership Atlanta, and past commissioner of the East Marietta Basketball Association, as well as a number of other charitable and community activities.
Billy McDowell joined Raycom in February 2004 to oversee all research related activities for the Raycom owned television stations. Previously he spent over 14 years with NBC in the Television Stations Division working in WTVJ – Miami, WNBC – New York, and for the last 7 years as Vice President, Research of the stations division. His responsibilities included the 14 NBC Owned and Operated stations, the 15 Telemundo Owned and Operated stations and the NBC National Sales Organization. His past experience also includes sales, marketing and research roles at WTLV and WJKS in Jacksonville.
McDowell has served as Chairman of the Media Rating Council Board and spent six years on the Executive Board. He is an active member of the Council for Research Excellence and chairs the Local Measurement Committee. He is also on COLTAM (Committee on Local Television Audience Measurement) through the NAB and the Nielsen Policy Guidelines Committee where he has previously served as Chairman and co-Chairman respectively. He received a BA from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and a MS degree in Media Management from The Florida State University. He also completed extensive post-graduate work in marketing at Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale.
Ken Reiner joined Raycom Media in May 2013 as Corporate Director of Programming and was promoted to his current role in September 2014. He oversees original development, licensing rights, content strategy and program scheduling for the station group. Located in Burbank, CA, he also supervises the corporate programming team.
Ken was previously at Newport Television in Kansas City, MO for five years as Vice President of Programming, responsible for all aspects of content for the group. Prior to this role, he worked as the Director of Programming and as Regional Program Director at Tribune Broadcasting for eight years overseeing content development and programming acquisitions for WXMI-TV Fox 17, WGN-TV, and WGN America-Superstation, based in Chicago, IL. He has a combined 27+ years of content experience in broadcast and cable media. Ken is a current NATPE member and has previously served on the Fox Program Executive Counsel Board and Nielsen New Technology Subcommittee.
Reiner spent the early part of his career in Toledo, OH as Program Director and Director of Operations at WUPW-TV Fox 36. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a degree in Broadcast Communications/Journalism. He and his wife, Julie, have three children and reside in Los Angeles, California.
Prior to joining Raycom, Warren served as Chief Financial Officer at Barrington Broadcasting where he was responsible for raising $300 million of senior secured and senior subordinated debt, including presenting to ratings agencies, investment funds, and senior lenders. He was in charge of risk management, and negotiated network affiliation agreements and Retransmission Consent Agreements.
Prior to Barrington Broadcasting he was Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for Fisher Communications, Inc., a publicly traded company based in Seattle, WA that owned network affiliated television stations throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the ABC affiliates in Seattle and Portland. During his time at Fisher he successfully renegotiated Credit Agreements and negotiated acquisitions and divestitures. He also led presentations of the Company to ratings agencies.
He previously was the Chief Financial Officer for the Walt Disney family company, Retlaw Enterprises, Inc. that owned network affiliated television stations and he was also Chief Financial Officer for Act III Communications, Inc., a diversified privately held media company.
He is a CPA and earned his MBA from UCLA in 1988.
He continues to sit on the Board of a Disney family private foundation.
Susan Willower joined Raycom Media in December 2012 as Director, Human Resources and was promoted to Vice President, Human Resources in May 2014. Susan provides strategic HR leadership and partners with business leaders and various departments to provide seamless implementation of HR strategy and achieve business results.
Susan has extensive human resources experience in complex organizations of various sizes and industries. Prior to joining Raycom, Susan was Regional VP, Human Resources for Comcast in Huntsville, Alabama. Before that, she was VP of US Human Resources for an international mineral sands mining and processing company and has held various other human resource roles in manufacturing. Susan has a JD from Saint Louis University School of Law, an MBA from Syracuse University, and a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She received a Certificate in Employment Law from Saint Louis University School of Law and has lifetime SPHR certification from SHRM. Susan is a member of both the Florida and Missouri Bars.