Forecast 2019 Speakers & Panelists
Ben Arnold is senior director of innovation and trends at the Consumer Technology Association, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies and that owns and produces the Consumer Electronics Show. Arnold joined CTA in May 2018 with a decade of experience as a consumer technology analyst. Serving as CTA’s lead spokesman on industry trends, Arnold regularly authors reports, delivers presentations, and engages member companies in briefings on a variety of topics pertaining to the technology market. His work has been cited by international media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Wired, and he has written for CNET, TWICE (This Week in Consumer Electronics), and Black Enterprise. In 2014, Ben was named to Dealerscope Magazine’s “40 under 40” list of industry standouts. Before joining CTA, Ben held analyst positions at the NPD Group, CTA, and USA Today/Gannett.
Caroline Beasley is CEO of Beasley Media, appointed in 2017 after earlier serving as interim CEO and before that EVP/CFO, treasurer, and secretary. She has served as a director of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. since she joined the company in 1983. She currently serves as joint chair of the NAB Board and is a past chairman of the NAB Radio Board. In addition, Beasley is a member of the boards of directors of BMI and the Broadcasters Foundation of America. In 2017, she was honored by Radio Ink magazine as Radio Executive of the Year; the same publication named her one of the “40 Most Powerful People in Radio” in 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017. Beasley received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and was the 2012 recipient of the Frances Preston Trailblazer Award from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.
Tom Buono is the founder of BIA Financial Network and CEO of BIA/Kelsey. Since founding BIA Financial Network in 1983, Buono has overseen its acquisitions and growth into a diversified strategic and financial consulting and information firm and has been involved in the creation and management of BIA Capital Strategies, LLC, a communications industry investment bank; BIA Digital Partners LP, a mezzanine investment fund; and, most recently, BIA/Kelsey, to offer data, research, and services that provide an expanded and comprehensive view of the local media and advertising sector. He is viewed as one of the leading authorities on communications industry business values, investments and strategies. Over the course of his career, Buono has been involved in the valuation of billions of dollars worth of communications properties, has spoken on panels for virtually all the major communications industry trade associations and has testified as a valuation expert in many communications disputes and before Congress.
Zena Burns is principal at Moxie Coalition, a strategy and marketing consultancy she launched in 2015 after leaving her position as SVP of programming partnerships for iHeartMedia. Having helped traditional media companies use digital to grow their businesses for 20-plus years, Burns was recruited by then-Clear Channel from a senior executive role in Time Inc.’s People Magazine Group to be the radio industry’s first digital program director in 2006. After successfully transforming the company’s New York City stations into fully realized digital brands, she was a key part of the team that created the iHeartRadio brand and app, and oversaw original editorial, video, and social content for iHeartRadio and its 850-plus radio stations and personalities. Today, Burns uses her diverse professional experience to help clients in the media, entertainment, technology, and non-profit sectors to grow their businesses.
Darren Davis is president of the iHeartMedia Networks Group. He oversees a number of businesses inside iHeartMedia, including iHeartRadio and all iHeartMedia Digital businesses, Premiere Networks, Total Traffic + Weather Network, NBC News Radio Network, iHeartMedia’s in-house commercial creative agency, and iHeartMedia’s in-house graphic design team. Davis began his career as an intern at iHeartMedia’s WASH-FM/Washington, DC 26 years ago. He grew into the program director role at WASH-FM when he was just 23 years old and has since worked as regional vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Detroit and Chicago. He has worked his way up through the company as SVP of programming, to his previous role as EVP/GM of national programming. Davis serves on the boards of the RAB, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, the NAB’s Digital Officers’ Committee, and the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Gregory A Davis Sr. is CEO and president of Davis Broadcasting Inc., which has 10 stations in Columbus and Atlanta, Georgia. Davis began his 44-year broadcasting career in television, where he spent 12 years in marketing and sales management. Television broadcasting took him from Flint, Michigan to Detroit, where he joined the ABC Television national sales team. He concluded his TV career in Cincinnati as GSM of Multimedia Broadcasting. Davis started Davis Broadcasting Inc. in June 1986 with Greg Davis serving as CEO and GM and his wife, Cheryl Davis, taking OM duties. They have worked side-by-side for 30 years with a mission for serving their community. Davis Broadcasting Inc. serves the community each year with annual events such as the Needy Children’s Christmas Party and the Family Day Music Festival.
Major Garrett was named CBS News’ chief White House correspondent in November 2012. He reports for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms and also hosts The Takeout, a weekly podcast about politics, policy, and pop culture. While covering the White House for CBS News, Garrett reported extensively on presidential actions to confront ISIS, Ebola, nuclear negotiations with Iran, and U.S.-European efforts to confront Russia in the standoff over Ukraine. On domestic issues, Garrett reported on the administration’s handling of the health care website rollout, numerous policy failures at the Veterans Administration, and President Obama’s ongoing efforts in 2014 to address racial strife and criminal justice reform. Before joining CBS News, Garrett was a fixture during CBS News’ coverage of the 2012 campaign through a partnership with the National Journal, where he was chief White House correspondent. Before National Journal, Garrett was the chief White House correspondent for Fox News. Garrett is the author of three books: Common Cents, with former Rep. Tim Penny (D-Minn.); The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics, and The Enduring Revolution.
Mark Gray is CEO of Katz Media Group, the leading national expert in audio and television advertising solutions. Gray has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building a first-class media sales organization that delivers results for its broadcast partners and the nation’s top brands. As CEO, Gray oversees both Katz’s radio and television companies. His primary focus is to lead Katz’s team of industry experts to deliver innovative ideas for advertisers and agencies, driving revenue for Katz’s partners as well as developing Katz’s technology and digital offerings, including bringing Katz to the forefront of the programmatic buying arena. His tenure with Katz has included various management roles, including president of the Katz Radio division before being promoted to president of Katz Radio Group in 2006. Gray is a member of the board of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a member of the RAB’s Executive Committee, and sits on the board of trustees for the Alliance for Women in Media.
Randy D. Gravley is president and CEO of Tri-State Communications, Inc. Tri-State owns and operates radio stations in small markets north of Atlanta. Gravley got his start in radio as a part-time board operator while attending college. He then went on to purchase his first radio station at the age of 25. Gravley is currently serving his second term as chairman of the NAB Radio Board and as a NABPAC Trustee member. He is very passionate about the radio broadcasting industry and its future, saying, “We have a very good story to tell about radio.” Gravley was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2016.
Owen Grover is CEO of Pocket Casts, a leading podcast platform recognized by WIRED Magazine as “the podcast app every iPhone user needs” and by The Verge as “The best podcast app for Android.” Grover has spent the last 20 years at the crossroads of media, technology, and content. His extensive product development, marketing, and business development experience spans the worlds of broadcasting, digital music, live events, and beyond. A founding member of the iHeartRadio team, Grover also helped to establish iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises division, where he was instrumental in the success of the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards show. His areas of expertise include digital product and content strategy, strategic partnerships, and integrated marketing. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son, and is a passionate Radiolab listener.
Davis Hebert is a director and senior high yield analyst at Wells Fargo Securities covering the media, cable, and telecommunications sectors. Hebert joined the High Yield Research team in 2007 and is a member of the Institutional Investor All-America Fixed Income Research Team, most recently placing No. 1 in the Broadcasting & Publishing sector, No. 2 in Telecom Services, and No. 3 in Cable & Satellite in the 2018 survey. Before joining the group, Hebert spent time in leveraged finance on loan underwriting and portfolio management functions for the media and telecom sectors; he also has commercial banking experience. Hebert received a BSBA in finance from Appalachian State University and an MBA from Virginia Tech. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA North Carolina Society.
Buzz Knight is VP/programming for Beasley Broadcast Group. Before joining Beasley he served for 14 years as SVP of program development for Greater Media, where he was responsible for overseeing content and brand strategies for the company. Before joining Greater Media, the radio veteran worked as a program director at several stations, including CBS Radio’s WZLX/Boston, Saga Communications’ WNOR/Norfolk, and Great American’s WLVQ/Columbus. In addition, he was a member of the on air talent team at WNEW-FM. Knight currently serves on several audience-measurement advisory boards including the Nielsen Audio Advisory Council and the National Association of Broadcasting Committee on Local Audience Radio Measurement (COLRAM). He recently launched a new podcast series called Healthy Paranoia where he talks with innovators and thought leaders about the pace of change in technology.
Garret Komjathy is SVP/Media & Communications Division at U.S. Bank. He has 30 years of corporate banking experience including 20-plus years in media and communications new-deal origination, structuring, and relationship management. Before joining U.S. bank, he was responsible for managing the New Jersey Department of Banking as part of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. Before that, he served as managing director and originator in GE Capital’s Media, Entertainment & Communications Group in New York City. Komjathy has been a frequent panelist/speaker on SNL Kagan Broadcast Finance and Dickstein Shapiro Radio Show finance panels, among others. He has also been a regular speaker/panelist at the NAB BLT Program and Minority Lending Seminar. Before joining GE Capital, he was an originator in Bank of America’s (formerly FleetBoston Financial) Media, Communications & Entertainment Group in New York City; prior to that, he was a relationship manager in a number of different industry specialty groups within corporate banking for HSBC in Hong Kong and New York City.
Andrew (Drew) Marcus is a senior advisor to Guggenheim Partners in its Media/Technology Investment Banking Group. He has focused on media and technology during his entire career, which has included roles as an analyst, banker, portfolio manager, and venture capitalist. He also currently serves as a venture partner at Walden Venture Capital. Marcus was portfolio manager and managing partner of SLRC Media Opportunities Fund from 2009-2016; the fund focused on long-term investing in public equity and debt securities in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors. He was vice chairman of global banking at Deutsche Bank, focusing on media and telecommunications, from 2005-2008, and before that he was managing director, global head of media research and senior media analyst at Deutsche Bank and its predecessor, Alex Brown. Marcus has been involved in media and technology transactions valued at over $100 billion, including companies such as Beasley, CBS, Clear Channel, Gray TV, Sinclair, Urban One, and Univision. As an analyst, Marcus ranked as the number one broadcasting analyst in surveys conducted by Institutional Investor and The Wall Street Journal.
Shawn Neathery Marhefka, CFO of Ozark Radio Network, was born into a broadcast family and is a third-generation owner. She started her broadcast career at an early age; she recorded her first spot at age 3 and gave live weather forecasts at age 5! In the early 1990s, she and her husband, Tom, purchased KKDY-FM in her hometown of West Plains, Missouri. They moved to West Plains to manage that station and eventually the family’s Ozark Radio Network of six radio stations and Ozark Digital Marketing. Marhefka believes strongly in keeping alive the Ozark Radio Network’s 1947 founding mission of “Serving the Public.” She has served on the boards of various civic organizations and currently serves on the board of directors for the Ozarks Medical Center.
Marci Ryvicker is a media equity analyst, with specific focus on diversified entertainment, broadcast, outdoor, and cable/satellite. Ryvicker began her career as a certified public accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. She earned her MBA degree from Harvard Business School and holds a BS in economics with a concentration in accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ryvicker is a certified public accountant and a CFA charterholder. She is also a member of the CFA Institute, the New York Society of Security Analysts, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Chris Williams is chief product officer for iHeartMedia, overseeing all digital content programming, station curation, marketing, and product strategies for iHeartRadio. Williams previously served as senior vice president of iHeartRadio Programming and, before that, led the programming efforts for stations such as 102.7 WEBN, Project 9-6-1 (WKLS), and 99X (WNNX) in Atlanta. Williams most recently led the product initiative to launch iHeartRadio’s two new on-demand services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access, and celebrated iHeartRadio’s eclipsing 100 million registered users. He works closely with the national sales, marketing, and partnership team, the digital team, the product team, and the editorial and marketing teams to coordinate digital contesting and live streaming events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Music Awards, and iHeartRadio Album Release Parties. He also focuses on identifying new and strategic programming opportunities for the iHeartRadio Original stations, and playlists, podcast features and content as well as social marketing strategies.