Lawlor to lead television division of The E. W. Scripps Company

Thu, November 06, 2008 by Tim King

Brian Lawlor, a 20-year veteran of the broadcasting industry, has been tapped to lead The E.W. Scripps Company's television division, which includes 10 stations plus Internet and digital businesses in nine large U.S. markets.

Lawlor's election to senior vice president in charge of television is effective Jan. 1, 2009 upon the retirement of Bill Peterson.

Since January, Lawlor, 41, has been the corporate vice president of sales for the division. Six of the stations are affiliated with the ABC television network, three are NBC affiliates, and one is an independent. On a segment-profit basis, the television division will be the company's largest in 2008.  

"Unrivaled local news coverage - on air and across all digital platforms - will ensure the future success of the Scripps television businesses, and Brian already has demonstrated the leadership to deliver a product that both viewers and advertisers demand," said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and chief executive officer. "As a former sales leader and station general manager, Brian stands out as an executive with the right mix of experience and incurable curiosity required for continued success in a rapidly evolving business."

"Brian inherits a strong and aggressive group of stations thanks to Bill Peterson," said Boehne. "Since Bill took over the division in 2004, the portfolio of Scripps TV stations has outperformed its markets, and that's largely attributable to Bill's vision and innovation. He's a special caliber of executive that you encounter very, very rarely, and we wish him well in the next stage of his life."

Prior to leading sales, Lawlor served for four years as vice president and general manager of WPTV, the Scripps NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach. During Lawlor's tenure, he launched multiple news and weather Web sites, a 24-hour digital weather channel, and South Florida's first high-definition local newscasts.  He led the station through three hurricanes, including Hurricane Frances, when the station lost much of its roof and continued to broadcast through the storm without sharing its challenges with its viewers.

Fifteen years of Lawlor's two decades of industry experience have been with Scripps. Lawlor began with the company as a WPTV account executive in the early 1990s. In 1998 he was named local sales manager. In 2000, Lawlor moved to Ohio to be the general sales manager at WCPO, the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in Cincinnati.  Four years later, he returned to WPTV as vice president and general manager.

Lawlor holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and an MBA from the University of Miami. He is active in the television industry, sitting on the NBC Affiliates Board; and acting as the board liaison to the NBC promotion and NBC NewsChannel boards.

Lawlor and his wife, Tami, have three children. He is a marathon runner and Ironman tri-athlete.

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