Executive Turntable: Atlantic Names EVP Black Music Promotion, WFUV Hires Rita Houston Successor

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Kevin Holiday was elevated to executive vp of Black Music promotion at Atlantic Records. He was previously senior vp of urban promotion.

In the new role, Holiday will oversee Atlantic’s Black Music radio promotion strategy and campaigns and lead the label’s national and regional Black Music promo team. He’s based out of New York and reports to Mike Kyser, president of Black Music at Atlantic.

Holiday started his career at Elektra Records in 2000 and moved to Atlantic in 2004 when the labels merged. During his tenure, he has been instrumental in launching such breakthrough acts as Cardi B, Lizzo, Roddy Ricch and Silk Sonic.

“Kevin literally grew up at this company,” said Atlantic chairman & COO Julie Greenwald in a statement. “From day one, he’s been a passionate advocate for our artists, who love him and his relentless devotion to their music and their long-term careers. Kevin’s played a pivotal role in taking our prominence in Black Music to new heights, and I’m thrilled to be able to announce this richly deserved promotion for one of our own.”

“Kevin is one of the most accomplished and respected promo execs in the industry,” added Kyser. “He’s worked tirelessly to break countless records, and he’s earned the admiration of the entire Black radio community for his honesty and dedication. I know he’ll be an outstanding leader for our promo team, and we’re all looking forward to the great work he’ll be doing as we continue to develop our amazing artists.”

“This is extremely exciting for me,” said Holiday. “I love Atlantic Records, and my new role at the company excites me beyond words can express. Opportunities like this do not come around very often, and I’m exceedingly thankful to Julie, Craig, and Kyser and ready to tackle what lies ahead.”

WFUV 90.7 FM in New York named Rich McLaughlin the station’s program director, effective June 14. He succeeds the late Rita Houston, who died in Dec. 2020 after working at the station for 26 years as program director, music director and DJ.

McLaughlin joins the station from Amazon Music, where he oversees catalog programming worldwide.

McLaughlin launched his radio career at WFUV while attending Fordham University in the late 1990s, during which time Houston served as his mentor.

“WFUV’s rich history and culture is steeped in its training mission,” said McLaughlin in a statement. “The education I received from Rita is evidence of her mission accomplished. Rita taught me that success achieved at the expense of authenticity is failure in disguise. The path she paved allowed for missteps along the way, and always led me back to what’s real. Rita’s spirit, fearlessness, and love of music continues to inspire.”

McLaughlin added, “The opportunity to serve a station and university deeply embedded in my DNA is especially meaningful. FUV’s reputation for music discovery is well earned. The depth of industry partnerships with artists, labels, venues, and cultural organizations is extraordinary. The engaged community of music lovers who support its mission as listeners and donors is second to none. I’m grateful for the chance to guide WFUV’s next programming chapter, and I can’t wait to start contributing.”

“Rich is uniquely qualified for this role,” added Chuck Singleton, WFUV’s general manager, citing McLaughlin’s mix of terrestrial, digital and streaming radio experience. “His accomplishments speak directly to the transition WFUV and the wider industry is experiencing. Rich’s leadership will be a booster shot for our content development and programming outreach to diverse new audiences.”

After obtaining his undergraduate degree at Fordham, McLaughlin nabbed his first job at Sirius Satellite Radio, where he was part of the team that built the company’s original station platform. He programmed Sirius’ Alt Nation and Left of Center and helped launch stations including The Spectrum, Lithium and Faction.

McLaughlin later worked as senior vp of programming at iHeartMedia, where he oversaw programming strategy for the network’s digital station platform. He also led content strategy for iHeartRadio’s first-ever podcast platform, building partnerships with artists, managers, labels and broadcast networks including NBC, HBO and ESPN.

In 2016, McLaughlin joined Amazon as senior music curator. In that role, he led U.S. rock programming strategy across web, mobile and Alexa-enabled voice devices and platforms. He also designed and launched the original rock programming platform for Amazon Music Unlimited.

McLaughlin’s hire follows a four-month national search that drew over 60 applicants. It was completed with support from Ann Blinkhorn of Blinkhorn, LLC and Mike Henry at Paragon Media Strategies.

FUV host Paul Cavalconte will introduce McLaughlin to listeners on June 13 at 6 p.m. EDT, joining him as guest co-host of Cavalcade.

Chelsea Blythe was hired as senior vp, A&R at Def Jam Recordings.

In her new post, Blythe will oversee select artist projects while also discovering and signing new talent to the label. She will be based in Santa Monica and report directly to Def Jam interim CEO Jeff Harleston.

Blythe started in the A&R department at Interscope Records in 2012 before moving to Columbia Records in 2016, where she helped break acts including Polo G, The Kid LAROI and Baby Keem.

“I’m excited to welcome Chelsea to the Def Jam family,” said Harleston. “I’m confident her instincts and acumen will immediately be felt within the A&R team and the company as a whole.”

“I’m so excited to bring my passion for great talent to such a legendary label,” added Blythe. “I want to thank Jeff Harleston and DJ Mormile for this incredible opportunity, and I look forward to building something special with the entire Def Jam team as we begin this journey.”

Jeff Tobias was promoted to head of country music at ONErpm, a newly-created position.

Since joining the A&R team at ONErpm in 2018, Tobias has been a key force in the recent success of artists including Trey Lewis and Chevel Shepherd.

Tobias moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 2014 to work at CAA Nashville and, later, as a manager at ROAR.

“ONErpm has grown significantly since I’ve been with the company,” said Tobias in a statement. “With the additions to our country marketing team, expansion of specialists and services we now offer our artists, it’s an exciting time to be working with ONErpm, and I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role.”

DJ Louie Styles joined the artist and label relations team at video management, distribution and monetization platform Vydia. He was scouted by the company’s vp of label relations Mark Gorman.

Founded in 2013 by Roy Lamanna, Vydia has supported the careers of Lil Pump, Post Malone, Jon Z and Drake Bell and established partnerships with companies including Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, SoundCloud, YouTube, MTV and Facebook.


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