Radio Ink Magazine

AT TOWNSQUARE, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TEAM

Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson is well aware of how important it is to motivate from the top down. He knows how powerful it is when employees in markets like Texarkana, Grand Junction, Rockford, and Owensboro hear from and see the CEO of a massive public company. That’s why he spends a lot of his time traveling to Townsquare’s small and medium-sized markets, sharing the Townsquare vision and telling employees how vital they are to the success of the company.

Wilson has been with Townsquare since its founding in 2010, when then-CEO Steven Price asked him to consider bringing his digital expertise over to radio. When he saw the connection radio’s on-air talent have with their local communities, he was hooked.

Before making the move to Townsquare, Wilson was president of AOL Media, where he had responsibility for AOL’s overall global content strategy. In his nine years at AOL, he served in a number of roles, including president of AOL’s programming and studios. Under Wilson’s leadership, AOL’s content sites grew to reach more than 75 million monthly unique visitors domestically and over 150 million worldwide.

Today, Townsquare is one of radio’s biggest digital success stories. Wilson’s digital strategy is working, and netting the company much-needed revenue as radio’s spot revenue continues to sputter along. Townsquare’s digital revenue is projected to be in the hundreds of millions over the next several years.

Wilson also has music in his blood, and that attracted him to radio. He started his career at Arista Records under the guidance of Clive Davis and Richard Sanders, serving as a product manager working with artists including Notorious B.I.G., Kenny G., Sarah McLachlan, and Spiritualized.

Wilson eventually landed a job as senior vice president for worldwide marketing at Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) in 1992, and was responsible for marketing across more than 50 countries for the world’s biggest artists, including Dave Matthews Band, Outkast, Foo Fighters, Whitney Houston, Annie Lennox, Santana, and numerous other major recording artists over his tenure at BMG.

When Wilson joined Townsquare in 2010, he was executive vice president and chief content and digital officer. He was appointed co-chief executive officer with Dhruv Prasad in October 2017, when Steven Price stepped aside as CEO and became executive chairman.

In January of 2019 Prasad left the company and Wilson was named its sole CEO.

Radio Ink: Tell us about your path to Townsquare.

Wilson: What brought me to Townsquare was my love of music. Growing up, I always listened to the radio — as my family would watch TV at night, I would be listening to the radio. I have always been passionate about it. I knew as a teenager that I wanted to be in music and entertainment. I aspired even at that young age to run an entertainment company.

I went to SUNY Stony Brook and got my BA in economics and a BS in business management. I went back and got my MBA in finance from Rutgers University. When I graduated with my MBA, I started as an assistant. I had many job offers at the corporate level, but I did not want a corporate job. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of the music industry.

Getting into the record labels at that time was really difficult, so you usually started in the mailroom or as an assistant back in the day. I worked diligently to get an interview at Arista Records. I started as Richard Sanders’ assistant in the early ’90s to learn the business. I worked with artists like Sarah McLachlan, Kenny G, and Notorious B.I.G. It was not really

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