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Urban radio veteran exec, Deon Levingston exits SVP post at Emmis New York

(January 6, 2015) Widely-respected urban radio executive, Deon Levingston, has exited his position as SVP/Market Manager with Emmis Communications New York. Levingston oversaw operations of 40/Rhythmic WQHT (HOT 97), Urban AC WBLS, and Gospel WLIB, the three most listened-to stations by the city's African-American population. No announcement has been made regarding his replacement.

The departure of Levingston comes as Emmis announces it has laid off 32 people company-wide and has cut the salaries of all senior executives. The Indiana-based company owns 19 FM stations and four AM stations in New York, Los Angeles, St Louis and Austin, Texas.

"Radio industry growth has been disappointing in 2015," said Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis in a statement. "Our markets are down 2.4% through the first eleven months of 2015. This general decline, coupled with the competitive situation in Los Angeles, led us to take a series of steps yesterday, including staff reductions and pay cuts for senior executives, to restructure our expenses to better align them with the current operating environment. We remain confident that we have the best team in media and the solution, in NextRadio, to return the radio industry to growth."

Levingston's career in broadcasting spans more than two decades. Among his professional accomplishment was the turn-around of WBLS, twice under different owners returning the station to the position of number one urban radio station in the nation.


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