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Friday, March 1, 2024

Power List 2023: Media & Communications

Tim Boyum
Michelle Butt
David Crabtree
Donald Curtis

Ric Elias
Jim Goodmon
Keith Holden
Paola Jaramillo

Afrique Kilimanjaro
Leigh Ann Klee
Ohavia Phillips
Albert ‘Trey’ Rabon

Whitney Shaw
Brian Stading*
Marie Torres
Ted Willliams 


BRIAN STADING

CEO | Lumos Fiber
High Point

The 30-year telecommunications industry executive joined Lumos Fiber last year to help lead expansion of its broadband fiber network, which serves about 200,000 residences and small and midsized businesses in North Carolina and Virginia.

Lumos  has said it will spend more than $100 million to expand service in the Spartanburg and Columbia metro areas in South Carolina. It has a goal of reaching about  1 million new homes with fiber broadband within the next five years.

Lumos was formed by the 2021 merger of High Point-based NorthState Telecommunications and Waynesboro, Virginia-based Lumos Networks. Its principal owner is the EQT investment and private-equity firm headquartered in Sweden.

Stading previously was chief operating officer of Ziply Fiber, a Kirkland, Washington-based company created when Frontier Communications spun off its local exchange carrier operations in several states.

He’s a 30-year industry veteran with degrees from Aurora University and
Northwestern University.

Favorite family tradition: Italian dinner on Christmas Eve

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Lake Norman

What do you listen to on your commute: Talk radio

Major inspiration: My dad. Because he is the most honest person I know.

Career highlight: I am living it now at Lumos

Favorite hobby after work: I truly enjoy playing golf.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Be confident and always willing to try new things.

Key industry change in next five years: Improved access for our communities to high-speed internet. People need it to handle the demands of evolving digital life. And our mission is to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet into as many homes as possible.


TIM BOYUM

anchor, ‘Capital Tonight’ host | Spectrum News 1 Raleigh

The Minnesota native and St. Cloud State University graduate is an anchor for Spectrum 1 News and hosts “Capital Tonight” for the dominant cable TV network. The Washington Post mentioned Boyum as one of the state’s best political reporters, reflecting his ability to attract top newsmakers on the show, which airs on weekdays.

Favorite family tradition: The many family vacations we take together. 

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Outer Banks. I got married there. 

What do you listen to on your commute: Comedy podcasts — “Smartless Conan Needs a Friend.”

Major inspiration: Everyday people — I find inspiration in taking political topics and traveling our state. 

Career highlight: Interviewing a sitting president.

Favorite hobby after work: Watching sports with my family. 

Best advice to industry newcomer: Listening is much more valuable than talking.

Key industry change in next five years: Continual migration to digital platforms and creating content specifically for those platforms.

MICHELLE BUTT

president, general manager | WXII-12, The Triad CW
Winston-Salem 

Butt was named president and general manager of WXII-TV in 2015 and assumed the same responsibilities at sister station WCWG/The Triad CW in 2018. WXII and WCWG are part of Hearst Communications, which had 2022 revenue of about $12 billion. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University. 

DAVID CRABTREE

CEO | UNC Public TV
Raleigh

Crabtree assumed his current role last year, replacing Lindsay Bierman. He’s responsible for strategic direction, the organization’s operation and overall leadership. He became one of the state’s best-known journalists while working as an anchor and reporter at Raleigh’s WRAL from 1994 to 2022. He was named to the N.C. Media Journalism Hall of Fame in April.

Favorite family tradition: Visiting the coast of North Carolina for holidays.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: All along the coastline.

What do you listen to on your commute: The Beatles’ Channel on Sirius XM.

Major inspiration: William Friday. He was a friend and mentor who encouraged me to reach beyond myself.

Career highlight: There are too many to narrow the list to one. 

Favorite hobbies after work: Listening to music, talking with friends, attending live performances of music and theater. 

Best advice to industry newcomer: Never let anyone steal your dreams. 

Key industry change in next five years: Difficulty staying true to the mission of one’s business. Preventing the loudest voice from dominating decision-making. 

DONALD CURTIS

chair, CEO | Curtis Media Group
Raleigh

He started selling radio ads at age 15 and had
his own show before he graduated from Bessemer City High School. His company now
owns more than 60 AM and FM signals across
North Carolina and ranks among the biggest independent U.S. radio operators. A major donor to UNC Chapel Hill, he still hosts his
own shows on his WPTF AM station in Raleigh

RIC ELIAS

CEO | Red Ventures
Indian Land, South Carolina

Elias has built one of the nation’s most valuable media companies, headquartered in a Charlotte suburb. He’s famous for surviving the “Miracle on the Hudson” Flight 1549 plane crash and for being a philanthropist, including helping raise money for Charlotte’s historically Black Johnson C. Smith University. Red Ventures has more than 3,500 employees. 

JIM GOODMON

CEO | Capitol Broadcasting Co.
Raleigh

After attending Duke University and serving in the U.S. Navy, Goodmon learned the Capitol business from his grandfather, founder A.J. Fletcher. As CEO since 1979, he has shifted  day-to-day leadership to his sons, Jimmy and Michael. Capitol continues to diversify beyond broadcasting with real estate, private equity and Minor League Baseball investments.

KEITH HOLDEN

CEO | Focus Broadband
Shallotte

Holden became CEO of one of the state’s largest, member-owned communications services companies in 2018 and is presiding over continued expansion. Focus,  formerly Atlantic Telephone Membership Cooperative, expanded into Pender County last year and received a $24.6 million grant to extend services in Robeson County.

PAOLA JARAMILLO

co-founder, executive editor, Enlace Latino NC
Raleigh

The veteran journalist has worked for Spanish language media outlets across North Carolina. She co-founded the non-profit Enlace Latino five years ago to bring news in Spanish to rural North Carolina. Jaramillo is a native of Colombia and a graduate of Universidad Autonoma de Occidente in California. 

AFRIQUE KILIMANJARO

editor, publisher | Carolina Peacemaker
Greensboro

Kilimanjaro edits and manages the paper her father founded in 1967. It’s the longest-running weekly in Guilford County and one of the better-known African American papers in the state. Kilimanjaro graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro and earned a master’s in health care from Emory University.

LEIGH ANN KLEE

president | Pace Communications
Greensboro

Klee joined Pace Communications in 1997 after working for Ernst & Young and Walt Disney Co. She is in charge of finance, IT, legal, print production and human resources. Pace Communications is the largest woman-owned, independent, full-service marketing agency in North America. She is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. 

 

OHAVIA PHILLIPS

CEO | `The Oh Show’
Charlotte

The Walden University graduate has been a successful media personality and was named Best Local Celebrity and Best Activist by Queen City Nerve. Phillips hosts “The Oh Show,” and serves as an in-arena host with the Charlotte Hornets and Greensboro Swarm.

Favorite family tradition: We are starting one with a first family cruise.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: I am a fan of the Harvey B. Gantt Center, The Mint Museum, the Levine Museum of the New South. 

What do you listen to on your commute: Everything from Jay Z to Drake, reggae, calypso, Afrobeat, and Amapiano. 

Career highlight: Bringing on two teammates for my media company. My favorite part of it is being able to pay them in money and experiences.

Favorite hobby after work: Put on Lofi chill beats, drink tea, check in with loved ones and online shop.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Take the limits off. Recognize that the media is broad, and there are so many ways to thrive in your own uniqueness. Be fluid as you are building your business, collaborate intentionally, do it all to find what gels with your authenticity.  

Key industry change in next five years: More diversity on television from skin tones, to backgrounds, hair textures, and individuals breaking the status quo on how people in television and/or media should look. 

ALBERT ‘TREY’ RABON

North Carolina president | AT&T
Wake Forest

Rabon is a longtime employee of AT&T and its predecessors, including eight years leading the media giant’s public policy efforts in Raleigh. He was named to his current post in 2019. The Camden, South Carolina, native has bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the University of South Carolina.

WHITNEY SHAW

president, CEO | American City Business Journals
Charlotte

In 2009, the Wake Forest University graduate succeeded his late father, Ray, at the chain of 44 local business newspapers. ACBJ’s publications employ 1,400, including outposts in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. Shaw started Business North Carolina in 1981 before joining his father. He has a master’s from UNC Chapel Hill. 

MARIE TORRES

managing editor, TV News Spectrum Networks
Raleigh

The UNC Greensboro graduate is a veteran
TV producer who joined the cable TV network in 2016. She was named to her new post in January, and now directs news coverage for Spectrum’s North Carolina
operations. She previously worked in TV news jobs in eastern North Carolina and Virginia. 

TED WILLIAMS

general manager | Axios Local
Charlotte

Williams launched the Charlotte Agenda digital newsletter in 2015, then sold it to private-equity-based Axios for $5 million in 2020. The Washington & Lee University graduate helped lead Axios’ U.S. local news expansion. In March, he said he’ll leave the company to focus on his young children. Last year, Cox Media paid $525 million for Axios.  

Favorite N.C. place to visit: High Point. My in-laws live there. 

Career highlight: Axios acquired the Charlotte Agenda. The teams then used the model to quickly expand to 25 U.S. cities. 

Favorite hobby after work: Throwing the baseball with my son and doing pretend shows with my daughters. It’s a reminder of how much more rewarding strong relationships are than any type of business success.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Go build something. There’s never been a better time to start something new.

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