Thomas’ Appointment Makes Her the First Female Program Director in WJR’s 101-Year History
Mike Wheeler Rises to Operations Manager for Cumulus Detroit/Ann Arbor
DETROIT, MI – July 20, 2023 – Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) announces that it has promoted Ann Thomas to Program Director for legendary Detroit News/Talk station WJR 760AM. The move establishes Thomas as the first female Program Director in the station’s 101-year history. She rises from her previous role as Assistant Program Director and Executive Producer for WJR.
Thomas has built a successful career of over 40 years in broadcasting – all at WJR. She started at WJR as an intern in 1982 and was then hired full-time as Producer of a WJR program called “The Other Side of the News.” She went on to become a WJR News Reporter and Anchor, winning several Associated Press, United Press International, and Detroit Press Club awards for Breaking News and Auto Negotiations. In 1999, Thomas was named Executive Producer of the “Paul W. Smith Show,” earning multiple “Best Morning Show” awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, including in 2022 and 2023. Thomas also produced the WJR-MSU tailgate shows for 15 years from 2006-2021. She has also hosted several WJR shows including “The Healthy Woman Show,” “Opportunity Detroit,” “The WJR Gardening Show,” and “Women Who Lead,” which Thomas launched 11 years ago to highlight Michigan women from all walks of life doing great things in the community.
In 2019, Thomas was inducted into the Michigan Business Women’s Hall of Fame and was the 2014 recipient of the Michigan Business and Professional Association’s Women and Leadership in the Workplace Award. She also received the prestigious “Diamond” award from the Association for Women in Communications and was honored by Toastmasters District 28 with its Communications & Leadership Award. She has helped WJR raise millions for a myriad of local charitable organizations.
Concurrent with Thomas’ appointment, Cumulus Media has also promoted Mike Wheeler, former WJR Program Director, to Operations Manager, Cumulus Detroit/Ann Arbor. In the newly created position, Wheeler will manage operations for Cumulus Media’s four Detroit stations and four Ann Arbor stations. A Detroit native, Wheeler’s deep broadcasting experience includes more than 20 years in regional roles with Clear Channel Communications/iHeart Media in Toledo, OH; St. Louis, MO; Atlanta, GA; and Hartford/New Haven, CT.
Steve Finateri, Regional Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Detroit/Ann Arbor, said: “Ann Thomas is the heart and soul of WJR and has been deserving of this move for a very long time. Her fingerprints are already all over this heritage, award-winning radio station, but we are all excited to see what the future holds with Ann in the driver’s seat!”
Finateri added: “In his new role as Operations Manager, Cumulus Detroit/Ann Arbor, Mike Wheeler will share a wealth of experience from his incredible career to help lever the resources we have in Detroit and enable WWWW-FM, WTKA-AM, WKQL-FM and WLBY-AM Ann Arbor to reach new heights.”
Ann Thomas commented: “I am deeply honored to be promoted to WJR Program Director. WJR is THE “Great Voice of the Great Lakes,” and I am looking forward to serving our audience in any way I can.”
Cumulus Media owns and operates four popular radio stations in Detroit, NASH Icon/HD2-93.1/WDRQ-HD2 FM (Country); 96.3 WDVD/WDVD-FM (Hot AC); New Country 93.1 FM/WDRQ-FM (Country); and WJR 760AM/WJR-AM (News/Talk). Cumulus Media owns and operates four popular radio stations in Ann Arbor, WLBY 1290 AM/WLBY-AM (News/Talk); Ann Arbor’s 107 One FM/WQKL-FM (Triple A); W4 Country 102.9 FM/WWWW-FM (Country); and The Ticket WTKA 1050 AM/WTKA-AM (Sports).
About Cumulus Media
Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) is an audio-first media company delivering premium content to over a quarter billion people every month — wherever and whenever they want it. Cumulus Media engages listeners with high-quality local programming through 404 owned-and-operated radio stations across 85 markets; delivers nationally-syndicated sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming from iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, CNN, the AP, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and many other world-class partners across more than 9,400 affiliated stations through Westwood One, the largest audio network in America; and inspires listeners through the Cumulus Podcast Network, its rapidly growing network of original podcasts that are smart, entertaining and thought-provoking. Cumulus Media provides advertisers with personal connections, local impact and national reach through broadcast and on-demand digital, mobile, social, and voice-activated platforms, as well as integrated digital marketing services, powerful influencers, full-service audio solutions, industry-leading research and insights, and live event experiences. Cumulus Media is the only audio media company to provide marketers with local and national advertising performance guarantees. For more information visit www.cumulusmedia.com.
Contact: Lisa Dollinger, Dollinger Strategic Communication for Cumulus Media, email@example.com and 512.633.4084.